Am I a Book Blogger?

When I first started The Relentless Reader I thought I knew what made a book blogger: book reviews. Lots of them.

But after a couple of years I noticed that I didn’t like to write book reviews. I found myself being repetitive and trying to force a new spin on a book that may have been reviewed dozens of times. I began to feel stale, unoriginal, uninspired.

On top of that I noticed that review posts received almost no love. Comments were few, shares were nearly nonexistent.  I felt as if I were speaking into a void. Reviews take effort, as you know. It seemed to be for naught.

So, if I didn’t like writing them and people didn’t bother reading them I was left with this question: Why bother?

Do I have to write formal reviews to call myself a book blogger? My last few reviews were few and far between. My very last was months ago. The world didn’t stop turning. My bookish peers haven’t excommunicated me. I still receive books in the mail.

I feel like a more effective book pusher when I’m talking with people instead of at them. That’s what works for me. It’s immeasurably more rewarding to talk about books on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or The Socratic Salon.

What will the future look like here on The Relentless Reader? I don’t know. Maybe one day I’ll go back to formal reviews. Maybe not. The beauty is that I get to define who I am. And I am a book blogger. 

I just want to talk about books. I sure hope you’ll indulge me.

54 thoughts on “Am I a Book Blogger?

  1. Great question. I've only been blogging for two year – so I am still focusing on reviews. Recently I started a monthly update – that seems to get more attention. I am not sure what direction I will be going in with my blog. It's good to know though that you still receive books to read and write about.

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  2. Yes you are a book blogger. And no you don't have to write book reviews. My two cents.For me, I will continue to write my thoughts on the latest books I read though the style of those 'thoughts' may be a review or a venting or something 'else'. I don't even look at my stats so I guess my blog is for me and I am happy that others stop by and say hello every so often. 😀

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  3. You are definitely a book blogger and I love your blog because of your love of books. But I totally understand what you mean. My book review posts get no love and its hard to think of new ways to review a book (especially one you didn't like or thought was okay), so I'm with you when it comes to questioning if you are a book blogger. I question myself about that same thing all the time lately. Definitely a food for thought.

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  4. There is no cut and dried definition of a book blogger, other than the topic of books and having blog. Formal reviews…not so much. I love posts that are about books, but not really a review. I don't write nearly enough of those. I think one must discuss books, the love of, the passion for, the pros, cons, irritation of etc to be a book blogger. It's all about the love of the written word. You share as you see fit xo

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  5. There is no right or wrong way to be a book blogger. And I understand your frustrations. A review takes a lot of work, and it's difficult to summon up the desire to do it when you don't anticipate that many people will read it. I struggle with this too. 🙂

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  6. You don't have to write reviews to be a book blogger. As long as you are talking about books, I feel you are a book blogger. There's no one way you have to do this, as Florinda always says. Do what feels right for you. Maybe discussion posts or book lists make more sense to you. Maybe the buddy review system is what you like as that's the way it is on The Socratic Salon. I think whatever way you want to talk about books is perfectly okay.

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  7. A book blog is a fluid thing that ebbs and flows. You find your groove, then 6 months later, life and priorities are different, so adjustments are made. Me, I'm a bit of a review machine because I'm OCD, but I enjoy dialogue posts so much more. No matter how it evolves, it's your own forum for whatever thoughts are important to you!

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  8. I hadn't even noticed that you hadn't posted a traditional book review in months! And, I checked my TBR list where I track who I found out about certain books from…and there were definitely some on there from you. You're still talking about books and recommending them to others, just in your own way…and that's great! I also love your weekly updates. And – my book reviews don't do as well as other posts either. I'm trying to still write posts about books, but get away from the traditional style book review…but, I'm not that creative and it's definitely hard!

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  9. Thanks, Nadia 😀 It can be hard to find clever new ways to talk about books. I know what you mean, there's not much love for reviews. Some people are just SO great at writing them that…well, I don't know. I don't even want to try and compete. It's not my strong suit, lol, to say the least!

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  10. I do enjoy a good review and some people are excellent at writing them. I wish they all received the attention they deserved. That's a great list of things to talk about and that's exactly what I'm after…not so much formal reviews as casual observances…the way two pals would talk about a book. That's the sort of conversation I like 😀

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  11. Co-signing this entire comment, Becca! Thank you! The way we dig deep on The Socratic Salon is the way I always wanted to talk about books in my real life. Since I don't have many bookish friends in real life that was just not going to happen, lol. I'm so glad we have Twitter and Facebook and TSS and all of the other ways we've found to yap about books. Yay, us!

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  12. Ha, see how good I am at shoving books down people's throats? LOL, they don't even know how I do it. It's magic 😉 Leah, at Books Speak Volumes, wrote a GREAT post about creative reviews. I should have dug that up and linked to it above. It's so good.

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  13. Must be in the air because I felt this the last few days after reading a great book. I just didn't feel like doing the same old. So I didn't do anything. 😉 Do whatever you like! I still gets tons of recs from you, so you're doing something right!

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  14. Perhaps part of it is that you see them as \”formal\” reviews? Does that affect the style with which you write? Have you ever tried to write a review as if you were selling it to one of your friends? So think of a real life friend you'd want to read the book, then write a piece on why you think they should read it. Does that make a difference?

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  15. I think that book blogs come in all sorts of genres, & that's something people haven't really officially figured out yet, because — well, we don't have an organization deciding these things. We just transform it ourselves as we go. I think amongst book blogs there are quiet journals, book review sites, discussion sites, and/or combinations of those. It sounds like you want yours to be a discussion site. Which is quite valid, I reckon. 🙂

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  16. I agree with this. I think there's a big difference between journal entries on books, and book reviews. The audience is the difference, and maybe the purpose of the post: book reviews are more for \”selling\” the book (I think), while journaled entries are more for self-reflection, or for emoting and enthusing among friends. I think it's a big difference and can change the way one feels about reflecting on books. I've read some blogs that offer thoughts periodically throughout the read, and they write them mostly to reflect on their own feelings/reactions as they go. You have to go with what's comfortable to you.

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  17. Interesting! I'm working on a similar post, but from a different angle. I love writing book reviews, although I see that those aren't the posts people comment on. Sometimes I try to write \”mini reviews\” but those really aren't as satisfying for me and don't seem to do justice to the book. I think blogging is about being true to what you want to write about.

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  18. I think book blogging is about spreading the word about books through our blogs. Whether you write a review or just say \”I'm reading this book now\” it's put the book on my radar. I still prefer to write reviews on my blog but I've noticed that over the last little while they've changed, they're not as long or as in depth. I give my own synopsis, I say what worked and didn't work and try to mention who I think would enjoy the book. I don't discuss the actual plot very much anymore. Our style should change over time.

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  19. Yes! Reviews do feel like you're talking at someone. Maybe that's why I've never really warmed to them. At first they were sort of a fun challenge (after years of writing only a few-sentence mini-review for each book I read) but discussions are much more fun.Of course, when I don't read the same books everyone else does, then I just feel stuck.

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  20. You are definitely a book blogger! Don't even suggest such a thing. So what if you don't write reviews anymore. I know exactly what you are reading and whether you enjoyed it or not. What more do you need?

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  21. Such a great post! I've always blogged about books on my blog but I've never actually written that many reviews. Occasionally the mood stirs me, but mostly I just want to talk about books. And yes! I think that's what makes us book bloggers. We love books and we love talking about them. Reviews are lovely but not a necessity.

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  22. Right?? I'd so much rather have a back and forth with someone. I think it's part of the reason why I love working at a bookstore. I can find out what a person likes, chat for a few minutes, before I recommend something. Again: I don't want to talk AT someone, but WITH them. Ah, that's true too. There's a little pressure to read, at least a few of, what others are reading to stay relevant. That's a whole 'nother topic, lol.

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  23. I have definitely asked myself this queestion as I have branched out into lifestyle and political posts (although they are generally book reviews). That said, most of my posts revolve around books in some way so I figure that still qualifies me.

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  24. It feels like every book blogger is kind of struggling with book reviews lately! I know I have been. Also, I totally didn't notice you hadn't written any haha. It's just so hard to think of coherent alternatives, though. I don't know. I might try writing what's technically a review, but doing it as casually as possible, like with inserted anecdotes and everything. JUST to see what happens. Noooo more clinical book reviews for me (hopefully). You're doing a great job!

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  25. See what I mean? I quit reviewing and heck, no one noticed, lol. 😉 I think that's because many of us are focused on our own content. BUT I also think it's because no one reads reviews, ha ha. I'm making a sweeping generalization there, of course. We'll all find what works for us, individually. Some people are so good at writing wonderful reviews…I'm just not one of them! 😉

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  26. Oh ya, I totally get this. And for a while I denounced the name and came back and now I just don't care. I think people still consider me a book blogger, but ultimately it doesn't matter. We all love books but we don't have to let the \”rules\” of book blogging define our blogs. I think a lot of people have moved away from formal reviews and forums like Socratic Salon and Book Riot and popping up because of this. We still want to talk about books…but I know I'm very unlikely to read a book review all the way through (just give me the bottom line dammit!) if I haven't already read a book. And because my book posts are my least popular posts, it's hard for me to muster up the energy to write them (well).Plus, I like the chatty stuff best. 🙂 That's what allows us to all get to know one another!

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