That’s the summed-up version of this post — the TL;DR for anyone who literally cannot be bothered to care about an otherwise arduous post talking not about MY life, but how I’ve come to realize the typical book review blog posts (ain’t that a mouthful??) seldom interest me at all — and how I created a new format for my own.
A question that’s happened upon my inbox numerous times is what my book review rubric is, as if I’m a teacher handing out my grading rubric even to people who care less about cheating the system and more about actually learning what I’m teaching. If I were a hopeless romantic, you can bet your firstborn I’d have a rubric topped with a pretty, delicate bow. But I’m not a hopeless romantic, there is no rubric, and you’d be lucky if you received a present from me whose bow was not jacked-up.
There is no easy route to finding what works for you and what you like. You simply have to dive into the deep in and figure out what keeps your head above water so you avoid drowning. That’s also how I learn best, which I trace back to my great Papa Al, who taught me how to ride a bike by removing my training wheels, leaving a glass of water and a baggy of goldfish on the back porch, and telling me not to come inside until I stopped falling off. I had many scraped knees, and not because of pavement — because the terrain on which I was learning was on the old Wills Point farm, when the gravel driveways were fresh and Mimi’s house faced that of her parents’.
While a plugin would make my life slightly easier in the department related to book review meta data, it’s not on my to-get list currently because I realized, in Ben Wheeler, the ease of composing a book review like a typical blog post in a Google Docs draft. I dove right in, worrying not about the number of pages or where I got the book. I didn’t start with a blurb — just the meat, the actual book review. I realized no book cover was needed. I remembered the photo I took of The Host during a garage sale that I found more inviting and blog-worthy than the mere book cover.
I can either force myself to comply with community constructs and settle for my reviews looking like most everyone else’s, or I can do my own thing. I dabbled with this when sharing my own favorite mug in a book review post, though it felt uncomfortably out of context despite being very much in context.
The reviews I enjoy reading are those wherein the reviewers bring themselves to the table. Rather than being formulaic and summarizing the book while also listing the meta data, they talk about how the book influenced their lives. The more I read, the less interested I am in giving books a numerical rating on my blog, where I’m much more personal and detailed about the goings-on in my life. It’s a construct I don’t feel comfortable abiding by anymore, thus will not be.
I’ve recently picked up on reading e-books, and will eventually get an e-reader, but thankfully there’s a tutorial about how to do this so I’ll not have to use two different approaches for physical vs. digital books — er, well, it will take some time in the beginning, because I take most photos with my phone and edit them there, also, thanks to nifty photo editing apps A Color Story, Foodie, and VSCO.
Plugins aren’t completely sworn off, however. If there’s a way I can choose to have UBB appear at the end of my reviews rather than before them, I’ll invest in it later for the meta data SEO ish. If not, no sweating on my end (though to be real, I’m quite sweaty because I haven’t shaved my legs for a week because #cantbebothered and the Northern Hemisphere’s winter is 165 days away, not that I’m counting down or anything).
Have you ever had to rethink a particular aspect of how you blog to make it simpler or more enjoying? What formats of reviews do you most enjoy reading, or do you just follow genres or some other specific quality instead?