Am I not critical enough while reading books?

It’s funny how the way I read books has changed ever since I started reviewing what I read and, well, ever since I started book blogging just as well.

I think about what I read more.

Before, I used to read a book without thinking too much about it. I went through the book, read the words, enjoyed them or not and then… well, I moved on.

Now, I’m reading a book and I think about it a lot. I think about the world-building, the writing, the characters and their depth, the pacing, I think about it twice more than before, or even three times if it’s a review copy.

I think about the books more because I want to review them properly and do them justice, too.

Related blog post: Sharing my 4 points method to how I rate my books (ft. very approximative stats)

It has come to my attention that some book bloggers, when they become book bloggers, have noticed they become more and more critical with their reading. It seems to be the logical step to take. Book blogging = hearing about so many books = reading a little more than before sometimes = well, having more books to play the comparison game and, sometimes = becoming a little more critical.

Somehow in that equation, I seemed to have stopped at the moment where I become more critical. I know, deep down, I might be a little more critical than before. I know, because I’m reviewing books, I’m paying more attention to so many details that would have just flown past me, when I was just a reader, not a book reviewer. Yet, I also feel like I haven’t become more critical, somehow.

If you are a regular reader of my blog (I honestly can’t thank you enough and I love you, thank you for reading this), you might notice that I have a whole lot of reviews for 4 stars books, every now and then 3, 3,5, 4,5 stars and 5 stars. Well, to be fair, I’m using drops of rain and hurricane to stay on brand with my book ratings, but you get it. Ratings have a different intepretation for everyone, but for me, 3 is a fairly good rating. It means that I overall enjoyed it, despite having some issues with it.

Does this mean I know myself well and know what I will love really well, too???

Short answer is yes. Long answer is, it’s taken me a while but, after so many years of reading, I feel like I have mastered the fact of reaching out to books I’m almost certain I will love and, therefore, that results in me enjoying my books, rating them well and praising them and, yes. Maybe fear, every now and then, that people think I might be not critical enough, or not even critical enough to be a book blogger.

Related blog post: How to find and read only books you love

Some book bloggers are mastering the art of book reviewing and it always astonishes me, in a good way, how they are able to analyse everything in a story and write stunning reviews, perfectly encompassing every aspect of the book. Characters, world-building, pacing, plot holes and issues, everything is there. Sometimes, I feel like because I am not getting too into depth with it all, whether it’s in my book reviews or just when I am talking about books, that I’m not being critical enough. That I might be missing on a lot of things. That I’m just not doing enough somehow.

Then, my anxious little mind starts thinking that people might not trust me, because I review and praise books like, 99% of the time. Maybe they’re looking for some tea, some unpopular opinion and for some heavy, very critical post about books I couldn’t stand.

I’m not saying that will never happen, maybe someday it will, but as of now, despite my love to drink real tea a whole lot, I have no need, want or even enough books in my recently-read list to spill some tea on.

Then I remember that, it’s not because I’m a book blogger and book reviewer that I have to read everything like I’m having an assignment afterwards. It’s not high school and this is not required reading, at least not for me, even when it comes to ARCs I get lucky enough to get approved for. This is my hobby and, even if you might not find a whole lot of 2 or 1 star reviews on this blog, it’s okay, too. I’m book blogging and I’m reading books I like 99% of the time and maybe I don’t criticize enough, but maybe I’m a marshmallow and that’s just the way things are.

Other interesting discussions on critical reading you should check out:


Do you feel like you are a critical reader, or not? Do you feel like book bloggers have to be really critical in their reviews or not?

Do you pay attention to the reviewers and book bloggers you follow and whether or not they rate their reads generously or not? I’d love to hear from you, so let me know your thoughts in comments!

 

 

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

163 thoughts on “Am I not critical enough while reading books?

  1. What a great discussion post, and I don’t think that posting positive reviews negates credibility! I am always looking for honesty more than anything and ratings are totally subjective anyways. I have always been a very critical reader even before I started reviewing and book blogging, and that’s definitely carried over now. I love books and give them 4 stars all the time haha. Besides, there’s something to be said for you knowing your tastes enough to generally choose books you will like! I like your reviews a lot, don’t ever change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so, so much Kaleena, I’m so glad you enjoyed this post ❀
      I'm so happy to hear you found so many books to love, I think that's so great and the best thing about all of this reading-more-and-finding-out-about- so-many books-while-blogging thingπŸ˜‚.
      Thank you so, so much, you're way too sweet! ❀ ❀

      Like

  2. I don’t know if I’m super critical but I am… bad at 5-star reviews? Even a lot of my favourite books were ones that I had to remind myself that I was… allowed to give a 5-star review if something was a 5-star read for me? I don’t know where that came from, but it’s been a difficulty since probably not long after I started reviewing… I think I’m possibly bad at numerical ratings, combined with the feeling that I need to be at least a little critical in reviews… it’s a fine line and I’m still trying to figure out how to navigate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I completely get what you mean here! I sometimes feel like a book has to be incredible to earn a 5-stars rating, or at least I used to feel this way somehow, because if I rated books too high, it felt like… well, like I wasn’t that critical and that made me nervous, somehow haha. I hope that feeling will go away ❀ Really, now I go with my gut and if I can't feel anything that really bothered me, it can be a 5 stars πŸ˜€
      Thank you so much for your comment, Kelly! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A very honest and thought provoking post, Marie. I’ve always been a picky reader except for that brief time when I first joined blogging and would go by the hype. Since I’ve learned to pace myself. I think I’ve always been critical of the books I read but I don’t all book bloggers have to be so. Whether a blogger posts a positive or negative review, at the end of the day the enjoyment of the book varies by reader.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you! It all depends on the reader, we are all different kind of readers after all, and that’s okay, too πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, so happy you enjoyed this post ❀

      Like

  4. Love this post Marie! One of my biggest fears is that I’m not doing enough, which is why every morning one of my mantras is “I am enough.” And so you are you β€”Β I love what you do and you don’t need to change a thing! I appreciate a genuine and authentic marshmallow more than someone tearing apart books because that’s what book bloggers “do.” *insert gif of kris Jenner saying “you’re doing amazing sweetie”* lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is such a great mantra. I really should do that, too, haha πŸ™‚
      Thank you so, so much for your sweet comment, this means a lot!! ❀ I agree that we all should do our thing at the end of the day and be ourselves, that's the most important πŸ™‚
      Thank you ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such an intriguing take on things. I feel like most of the debate in the book blogging community is about whether or not being critical is a good thing, so it’s interesting to see you wonder if you’re not being critical enough. I personally have been having the same debate β€” I’m pretty new to book blogging, but I’ve been wondering whether or not it’s okay to make critical posts β€” and I’d say that there’s nothing wrong with β€œnot being critical enough.” The important thing is that you’re true to your opinion and what you want to post! I love most of what I read, even books that the blogging community in general seems to hate, so there’s only a few books that I could write genuinely critical reviews for. And that’s fine. Like you said, book blogging is a hobby, so you should feel free to write whatever you want, even if that means gushing about how great every book you read is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so, so much Alex, I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this post! It’s true that there are a lot of posts and a lot of “tea spilled”, let’s put it that way, on some books and… well, honestly if I am not really saying that I won’t, ever spill some tea myself on some terrible books, because I could, I just like spreading positivity and somehow, if I’m just gushing about all the books I read, it should be okay for me. I’m trying to be okay with it at least haha. Like you said, the most important thing is to stay true to ourselves πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much for your comment! πŸ™‚

      Like

      1. I totally agree. There’s nothing wrong with spilling the tea, and there’s nothing wrong with holding back and enjoying the tea along with an amazing book! Hopefully you worry about this less as you move forward β€” it was a great discussion post, though πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh I pretty much always feel like a fraud! I mean, last week I wrote a review that mostly consisted of talking about plumbing and beheading? But then I wrote one that seemed moderately okay and it was like… well, guess one is better than none? πŸ˜‚ In seriousness though I definitely don’t feel critical enough, but maybe that is okay? Like- sometimes I don’t even *want* some fabulous breakdown, I just want to know if the thing made you feel stuff and if you liked it, you know? At least that is what I am going to keep telling myself hah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way, thank you so much for that πŸ˜‚ I agree with you, I admire people who can write stunning reviews and analyse a whole lot, too, but in the end I really want to know if the book made you feel things, too, that’s how I want to pick up a book afterwards, because I want ALL THE EMOTIONS πŸ˜‚
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on the topic, Shannon! ❀ ❀

      Like

  7. I love this post, Marie ❀️

    I can really relate to this post, especially when you talked about reading for enjoyment and finding books that you love and mainly reading them. This is why I’m always so hesitant to read heavy Fantasy novels because I’m scared I end up hating it and I’m not really good with negative reviews.

    I think your reviews are excellent. They’re more personal and you still manage to talk about all the aspects including plot, world-building and characters. Seriously, I love your reviews because their not just facts they have a definite personality about them. I do however understand how you feel and I feel like that most of the times as well, like my reviews aren’t critical or enjoyable for other readers.

    I’m definitely focusing on reading for fun this year and I think the way I read and review is critical enough for me ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH I get that feeling, I’m always a little nervous to read books out of my comfort zone, because I’m just nervous I wouldn’t like them ahah, but… well, sometimes it’s worth a try and we can find some hidden gems, too! I always go to the books that have been recommended a whole lot to me haha πŸ™‚

      Oh thank you so, so, so much Michelle, this means so much that you enjoy my reviews, thank you! I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way about reviews, but your reviews are SO good, I love reading them always! ❀
      Thank you so much!! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are too kind ❀️
        It makes me SO happy to hear you read and enjoy my reviews, thank you so much!

        Definitely agree that there are hidden gems outside of your comfort zone. I use the same method as you, read something that has been recommend to you a whole lot. It just seems safer that way.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This is super interesting and so true! I think you know what you like and you’re not looking for things to criticise when reading, which is good. Reviewing books makes me WAY more critical. I give out 3-stars for books I honestly enjoy a lot because I’m looking for flaws, or reading critically makes me feel smart or something ridiculous? AAAAAAA basically. Definitely food for thought. But I really don’t think being uncritical is at all bad!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, that’s honestly so good to know, I question myself A LOT when it comes to reviewing and thinking about books critically. I like to question things, but I also enjoy most of the books I read and I don’t want to criticize them when I just love them? πŸ˜‚
      Thank you so much, Shar!! ❀

      Like

  9. Also, this is a small thing, but is there a way you could make your comments box above all the comments instead of below to save scrolling? I think this is mostly something very small

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for mentioning that, Shar! I looked it up, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem like something that’s possible for me to do with my current wordpress plan, I’d have to go higher or self-hosted to touch that kind of thing 😦

      Like

  10. This is a really nice discussion post and I totally get you! Most of the time, I think I’m not “critical” enough in my reviews. But sometimes, I point out a lot of things. I think this one depends on my mood when I’m writing a review? Lol. There are also times that I give a lot of 4 star reviews (or deciding between a 4 or 5).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Another interesting discussion post Marie!

    Do you feel like you are a critical reader, or not? Do you feel like book bloggers have to be really critical in their reviews or not?

    I feel like I’ve always been a fairly critical reader BUT I do think I have become even more critical since I started reviewing books. I think this might have to do with the fact that I’m reading a lot more books than I ever have before… I read over 100 books per year, so this gives me a pretty good idea of what I like and what I don’t. I think every reviewer has their own style and doesn’t necessarily have to be super critical in their reviews… Not every reading is reading with a fine toothed comb…

    Do you pay attention to the reviewers and book bloggers you follow and whether or not they rate their reads generously or not?

    I follow many bloggers that are very generous with their ratings. In my opinion, a rating is very personal and subjective. Some people give mostly 4 & 5 stars with a few 3 stars sprinkled in, while others have ratings all over the board. When I’m trying to decide to read a book or not, I tend to look to the bloggers with similar reading tastes as me. The bloggers that rate similar to me… This doesn’t mean I don’t still read those bloggers that are more generous with their ratings, just that they typically are not the deciding factor to me. I also think their review plays a big part. Just because they give the book a higher rating, I’m looking for what they liked and disliked about the book. This can tell me just as much as a rating can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you Amanda, I’m so happy you enjoyed this post! ❀
      I agree with you that a review tells me a lot more than just a simple rating, because that's where the blogger really goes into detail and that's what I appreciate the most about it, too πŸ™‚
      I feel generous in my ratings a little bit haha, but I guess that also means that I'm enjoying my reads, so… in a way, that's good? ahah πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much for your comment! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I firmly believe in only reading books you like. I’ve been reading for some 45 years, and I’ve figured out what kinds of books I’m likely to like. If I am wrong, I put it down and grab the next one. So yes, 4 stars is my most common rating. I DO think I’ve had some “rating inflation” since I started blogging, but that’s because when I just logged books on Goodreads for myself, a 3 star book was a good book that i enjoyed reading. But now I see that people look at it more as an average or “C” rating, so my ratings have crept up to be more fair to the books and their authors. I don’t want my 3 star rating bringing a book down when I actually quite enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh the 3-stars rating is complicated, too – I feel like it’s a good rating, it means that I enjoyed it, at least for me, yet sometimes it feels like it’s bringing a book down, too… Ratings are so complicated at times haha πŸ™‚
      It’s good to read books you love and that you figured out your reading taste so much, that’s amazing!! πŸ˜€
      Thank you for your comment! ❀

      Like

  13. I love this discussion, Marie! I’m super late commenting (lol) but I wanted to say I think about this quite often because I give most of the books I read 4 or 5 stars. It takes A LOT for me to give a book two stars, and I think I’ve only ever one-starred one book (and it was a nonfiction book on evolution I had to read for ap bio). What I take this to mean for me personally is that I’ve learned what I like to read, and have a really good sense of what I’ll enjoy and what I don’t think will blow me away. I’m pretty selective about adding books to my tbr because I’d rather be reading what I think will be a five-star read than a three-star read. I don’t think this means I’m not a critical reviewer, I just read books that I love more often than I read books that I feel are only average.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh what you’re not late at all, Cailin! Thank you so much for your comment, I’m so, so happy you could relate to this πŸ™‚
      I feel the same way – well, I know I’m a little more flexible when adding books to my goodreads TBR, but when I decide to really get a book and read it, I’m also very selective with it all and that results in good ratings. In a way, I guess that’s good because it means we’re good at picking out books we love πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Aaahh Marie, thank you so much for linking my post! I’m sure you know my thoughts on this whole am I critical discussion from that post, but I definitely struggle with feeling like I’m critical enough, especially with my ratings being a lot higher! I feel you though — I personally think I’ve become a more critical reader through blogging and reviewing. But like you I haven’t really become any more critical, I’ve just stayed the same. And I think that’s okay, since I’d rather be more positive than critical! But it does make me anxious that people won’t trust me as well, and also just in general when I’m discussing books with book blogger friends and they seem more critical than me haha. But you’re perfect just the way you are, Marie!! And I know many people trust you and your reviews without you having to change how critical you are ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, May, and of course! Your post was fantastic ❀
      I'm glad that I'm not the only one feeling that way, I try not to stress out too much about it, but sometimes I can't help but feel a tiny bit anxious. Thank you! This means so much that you think that, thank you!! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

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