Read.Blog.Discuss: Reading as a Reviewer vs. as a Reader


Today I’ll be participating in a new linkup hosted by Samantha @ Bookish Serendipity. This month’s topic is Reading as a Reviewer vs. As a Reader. 

Reading as a Reviewer

When I first started this blog, I was really into writing book reviews and I posted quite a few of them, passionately weaving words about the books I love most. That subsided after a while, but this year I’m taking the plunge into the world of book reviewing and it’s my goal to review books consistently.  I usually read books as a reviewer because I never know when I might want to review a book and I usually wait to judge whether I should review the book until after I’ve finished it. However, when I know for sure that I will be reviewing a book, I’ve found myself writing the review in my head as I go along. I always pay attention to the details when I read a book, but I’ve found that when reading as a reviewer, I tend to think more objectively and rationally. I make mental notes of what I want to put into the review and might even jot them down.

Reading as a Reader

As I said above, even when I’m reading purely for fun, I still pay attention to the details in the book because the whole process of reading is all about thinking while one reads. However, when I read for fun, I find that a lot of my thoughts about the book are mostly subjective and very CAPS-LOCKY if you know what I mean. I might think “I WANT TO WRITE A BOOK LIKE THIS!” or “MAN, I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!” or “MY
FAVORITE CHARACTER OF EVER RIGHT THERE!” I don’t write a book review in my head as I go, but interestingly enough, I may still take the time to mark a page in the book with a post-it note if something really strikes me.

Ultimately, My Reader and Reviewer Sides Have Mixed

Now that I’ve been reviewing books more frequently both my reader side and my reviewer side have become meshed together. Both sides influence the other and enhance my reading in different ways, and I love that.

How about you? How does your reading change depending on whether you read as a reviewer or just a reader? And to throw in a bonus question, how does it change if you read as a writer?



29 thoughts on “Read.Blog.Discuss: Reading as a Reviewer vs. as a Reader

  1. Wow, I really haven’t put much thought into that. I review every book I read though, and like you said, I pay attention to all the nitty bitty details too, and highlight stuff if it’s an eBook, like quotes or something, but in the end, I think like you said, it’s just my reader self and reviewer self mixing together.


  2. I’ve separated mine, after a while. I used to write reviews, but I don’t really like them as much and so I don’t have a reviewing side to read anymore. I just get to enjoy everything I read on my own!


  3. Oh, I hadn’t heard of this link up before. I’m definitely going to join in this month, though, it looks great. I think I’ll save most of my thoughts on the topic for my post — but for me, I don’t think it changes much if I’m reading as a reader or a reviewer. Jotting down ideas / thoughts is a great idea, by the way. Sometimes I list page numbers where a particular line / scene / paragraph stands out at me (either positively or negatively) but that is pretty much it.

    Fantastic post. 🙂


  4. I usually review every book I read, but it just depends. I jot down things on sticky notes as I go along, but even when I know for sure I’m going to review a book I read, I think in fangirlish and all-caps, too! 😉 But I still think about the review as I go along, too, like: “OMG I LOVE THIS BOOK… OMG THAT’S AN AWESOME CHARACTER… mm.. probably four stars… eh. Didn’t like that part… ooh, nice quote… OMG!” So both sides still come out, but when I sit down to write a review, it’s much less fangirlish than in my head. 🙂


    1. I wish I could review every book I read, but that would be so many reviews, and eventually the books pile up so reviewing all of them gets a little bit bothersome. However, I have found that since becoming a blogger I have reviewed more of the books I read. Those are exactly like my thoughts when I read a book! It’s like I’m writing the book review in my head as I read.


  5. When I read as a writer, I find myself trying to figure out how they make their characters likable. Perhaps this research is useful, but it does kind of pull me out of the story. Maybe when I find books I absolutely love, I’ll delve into them more deeply in a re-read, so I can try to unlock the secret the author uses!


    1. How writers manage to make their characters so likable is a mystery to me, but that’s one of the things I pay attention to when I read a book as well. I know how important characters are to a story, so trying to analyze how writers go about writing about the character really helps. I love re-reading books and it’s great because you end up unlocking new secrets with every re-read.


  6. I never reviewed books until I started blogging last year. But now, I review every book I read. I noticed that I read a lot slower these days, because I’m constantly analyzing every word I read.

    And as a writer, my reading habits haven’t changed much, except that I try to learn a bit from whatever book that I’m reading.

    Great post!


    1. I never used to write book reviews consistently before I started blogging, but like you, I began to write more book reviews when I began blogging, and now I enjoy it.

      I do that too. In my mind, reading the types of books you want to write is the best way to learn how to write (besides writing, of course!).


  7. I never really thought of reading this way but you’re absolutely right! I don’t really have a reader/reviewer side anymore. but I used to. Everything’s merged [like you said] since then. Whenever I read for fun, I still do the same caps lock thing as when I review. I’ve never been a serious and eloquent reviewer at least in my opinion and that’s totally fine with me!


    1. Exactly! My reading side and my reviewing side are now one and the same whereas before they used to be completely separate. I think a lot of it is because I don’t have to be formal on my blog and I can decide how I want to write my reviews, whether they be eloquent or I’M JUST GOING TO TALK IN CAPS LOCK THE WHOLE TIME BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IT.


  8. Mmm, exactly! Whenever I read books, reviewingish thoughts just merge and mingle together- like you said! Even when I try to read books just for pure enjoyment, it’s as if there’s a little feeling that’s critiquing the whole thing.

    Great post!


  9. This is such an interesting post! Very thought-provoking.

    I used to review books, and found that I always read those with the reviews in mind, as opposed to when I was just reading for fun. In the last couple of years, I’ve found myself reading as a writer more often. Mostly, when I finish a book, I tend to think of the writing-related things I’ve learned from them. Especially when there’s something that completely astounds me and leaves me thinking: “I wish I could write like that!”


  10. This is really intriguing! I haven’t really thought about this much, but reflecting on my reading habits now, I can definitely say I read more critically and aware for blogging than just reading. To explain, I have to pay much closer attention when reading for review because I know I’m going to have to carefully evaluate every aspect of the story. For plain reading, like you, my thoughts are more CAPS-LOCKY. Thanks for sharing, great post Ana!

    Claire @ Cover to Cover


  11. You know, I’ve been thinking about this questions for a while now, and I don’t know. I think my reader vs reviewer sides have also mixed. Even when I’m reading a book just for fun I find myself inspecting and criticizing as if I was reviewing it (granted, I review almost ALL the books I read, review books or not).


  12. What a brilliant post idea. I think my ideas have mixed as well, mainly because I study English Lit at university and analysing books is kinda how I naturally read now. I guess if I was reading as a writer, I would look at how the author pulled me into the story and kept my attention, the twists of the story, what was great about the characters and so on. But I’d notice those things anyway as a reader or reviewer because they’re important for looking at the story as a whole. Great post!


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