Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Why I Like Reviewing Books

Some of you who actually read my blog may have noticed that I often write book reviews. I've paid attention to it as well, partly because it annoys me how often I do write them compared with other blog posts. I've wanted to write more frequently on things other than book reviews, and is something I'm currently challenging myself to improve this year. However, I do want to spend a few minutes (or in this case, use up this one post) to explain why I review books.

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I love to read. When I was younger, I used to love reading The Black Stallion series. I would read them on the way to school with friends (we walked about a mile to elementary school), and on the way home. At some point, though, I stopped reading. As I entered college and graduate school, especially, I developed a sort of aversion to reading (imagine that). But a year or so after completing graduate school, I started reading again and fell back in love. There's so much learning to gain from reading, and I especially love discovering the author behind the writing as I read more of his/her material.

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Variety. I belong to a couple of review programs: ChristianAudio.com's reviewers program and Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging For Books program. Through these mediums, I'm exposed to new authors, different topics, and a variety of writing styles that I wouldn't otherwise select or even know about. I tend to be a creature of habit and stick to what I know/like (I've ordered the same Starbucks drink since I was 17), so this gets me out of my comfort zone. I've come across some books that I haven't enjoyed as much, but this helps balance my palette - usually in a good way. I've also found authors and titles that have become favorites in a very short time.

Refining. Writing reviews actually helps me think more critically about and internalize what I've read. I usually have to read something once to get a grasp on the big picture of it, then read it again to jump into some more of the details and application. So writing reviews forces me to take more time and energy reflecting on both of these aspects, which enables me to internalize the material more effectively. I'm sure others out there are very different from me, but I know that I'm a "get your hands dirty" sort of learner and this is what works well for me.

Finally, a very small reason (like 1%) why I review books is to be helpful to others. Whenever I'm reading reviews of books, which I almost always do before reading or purchasing a book, I find that many of them are very poorly written or constructed. I don't mean to imply that I'm better at it, because I do want to improve and become a good writer. I strive to write reviews that others find interesting, easy to read, and helpful in determining if they want to read a particular title.


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