Earlier this week, Kay over at My Random Acts of Reading, asked whether or not we review all of the books we read and how we go about reviewing them.
This opens up a huge can of mental worms for me. I constantly struggle with how to go about reviews, style, notes, format. Ack! The pathway is as chaotic as a maze, with lots of dead ends because I'm constantly backtracking and finding a new way to do something.
My first year of becoming formally aware of what I was reading was three years ago. Prior to that, I had always read a-plenty, but never kept track of what I read. 2007-08 I kept my first list. The following year, 2008-09, I started Reading Thru the Night. Why'd I start it? I needed a place to write about books so I could remember them! I absolutely despise knowing I read a book but not being able to recall even the tiniest detail outside of the general: hated it or loved it. Of course I still have that soupy memory issue but now I can look back on a post for triggers.
Blogging has changed how I read the books, but I wanted to take it one step further. I haven't taken notes while reading since my college literature years, and I desperately missed them. After reading a couple of blogger's posts (with visuals) of their written journal, I became envious! I wanted to do that! I wanted something that gorgeous on my shelves that I could flip through over the years. (I love you 'net, but I love the simplicity of the written word. It's . . . romantic!) And now I'm struggling with this. I love the aftermath of journalling while reading, but I'm not very disciplined. Plus, this past month I'm experiencing something new in my reading habits. Due to timing, interest, and Life, I am currently in the middle of five books. I'm not too comfortable with this and don't want it to be habit forming, but it's where I'm at now. So this is where my OCD steps in. How can I write about all of these books that I'm reading without losing the organization of my book journal. I can't. And now, my book journal has kinda been defeated because I've only taken notes on one book!
Did you know I'm this neurotic?
Now I haven't even started on how I review books. I'm anal enough to want a specific format (which is my first five lines: title, author, pub date, pages, genre, and challenges) but creative enough that my presentation of the book constantly changes. Especially my voice. Sometimes I'm in a chillin' kinda mood and I kick it back like I would hanging with friends. Other reviews I feel more academic and might curb the slang. Does this change my content? I don't know. I can tell you that over all, I enjoy reading conversational tones in book reviews more than anything else. If you make me feel as though I'm actually a part of your world, how you view the book and how it relates to your life, I will forever be a reader. Even if we don't share the same interest in books.
Also, I've really tried to review all of the books that I have read. With maybe the ones that are rereads. I tend to read anywhere 3 to 5 books before I sit down at the computer and type of my reviews. It's more of a time management thing (but you can see why I'm drawn to a paper journal as well because of this!) I definitely think for some books it hurts the review. You know, the books that I'm either on the fence or could care less. (My Secret Year, which will be posted soon is an example of this). However, if I absolutely adored the book (ahem, have you read the Girl with Glass Feet yet?) it doesn't really matter how long I wait because I'm going to love revisiting it.
This is a pretty rambling Sunday Salon.
Do you keep notes while reading? If so, where do you write the notes, in a journal or on post its? How do you review your books? Does it effect your review if you wait a few days before writing it?
* above picture props