MH@H Book Reviews

Why I Like to Review Books

book sitting on a chair
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Do I actually know anything about how one is “supposed” to review books?  Absolutely not.  But I like doing them anyway, and here’s why.

I used to read a lot.  I always enjoyed non-fiction, but probably the majority of what I used to read was fiction.  Depression definitely makes reading harder.  Concentration is a challenge, and committing to a whole book can feel like a lot.  A lot of things don’t generate any interest in me, and fiction is pretty hard to get into.

Choosing to review books for the blog has been a good way to push myself to do more reading, and limiting it to mental health-related books boosts the likelihood that a book will be able to capture my attention.  When I know I’m intending to review a book, I’m much more likely to persist rather than give up a book that isn’t really grabbing me.  Sometimes that just gets annoying, but mostly it’s a good thing.

Since my memory isn’t that great, I take a lot of notes as I’m reading a book that I intend to review.  The notes might consist of quotes, ideas, or opinions.  Taking notes helps me to better absorb the book’s message, and putting those notes together into a coherent review helps deepen that understanding.  Overall I think I usually get more out of a book I’m reading to review than one I’m not.

The books I choose

I especially like to review books written by fellow bloggers.  I’ve gotten so much support from across the blogging community, and I like to have the chance to support other bloggers in what they’re doing.  It’s also a great way to get to know some of my fellow bloggers better by learning more about their experiences or creative inspiration.  

By now I’ve read several books written by bloggers about their experiences with trauma. Each time, I feel truly privileged as I read them.  Privileged to be allowed into the dark places that all too often are kept hidden.  Privileged to bear witness to their journeys towards healing.  Privileged that they have been willing to share their vulnerability with me as a reader.

Where I get books

There are several different ways I get the books that I review.  Mass market books I borrow from the public library, either as a paper copy or an ebook.  Books by bloggers I generally get on Amazon as a Kindle ebook, although occasionally I’ll be given a free copy.  Recently I’ve started using NetGalley, which allows you to request reviewer copies from publishers of books listed on the site.  

I have a Kobo ereader that’s not compatible with Kindle books, so those I read on my laptop using the Kindle reading app.  My Kobo is getting pretty old and I’ll probably buy a Kindle fairly soon.  In many ways I prefer reading paper books, but ebooks are just so much easier.

I realize that a lot of the people who read my reviews won’t end up reading the book themselves, but I want them to still be able to benefit from the books, so I choose to work in more about the content/message than I think might typically appear in a review.  If I’ve gotten something meaningful from the book, whether it’s an idea that works for me or doesn’t work, I want to be able to share it with people.

Outside of the blogosphere, do you do much reading?  If so, how do you approach it, and what’s the most important thing you get out of it?

You can find a list of my book reviews here.

A Beginner's Guide to Self-Publishing from Mental Health @ Home

A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing is a mini e-book containing all the knowledge and tricks that I’ve picked up from self-publishing two books. It’s available from the MH@H Download Centre.

33 thoughts on “Why I Like to Review Books”

  1. I truly appreciate you always reading and reviewing my books!! You’re the best!! I also appreciate you reading my blog, which has more of the trauma (in my case) than my books.

    I’m a paperback girl myself, but if a book needs to be bought digitally for some reason, I get it for Kindle and just read it here at the computer with the free Kindle app.

    I don’t know if there’s a way you’re “supposed” to review a book!! 😮 Interesting question!! I don’t do too many reviews because I have the exact same commitment issues you do with getting through a book. I hope to do one for this self-help book, though. I’m on page 92!! 🙂

    But yeah, you’ve got to keep reading so you can tell us about the books you read!! 🙂 I love reading your reviews!!

  2. Thanks for explaining all of that. I enjoy reading and admire your book reviews and doing so inspires in me the desire to write reviews of my own. I haven’t actually done this yet, but the above peek behind the scenes at your own review process has nicely addressed some of the inhibiting doubts I have. Bravo! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻☺️

  3. I love your book reviews!! It’s super awesome reading them because I personally like to read what kind of books you have read! 🙂 I love reading and even though I really don’t have the time for it like I used to before, it’s nice reading book reviews (if that makes any sense, haha!). Anyways, please keep writing more book reviews!!!

  4. I definitely read more since adding book reviews to my blog. If I didn’t have a monthly preview of content, I wouldn’t get through the books at a steady pace. It’s a good thing. Great post. I have the $40-50 kindle and it’s really buggy (new). If you’re gonna get a kindle, I recommend one of the higher end ones.

  5. I also love reviewing books, particularly from indie authors, which would include many of the ones you review too I would assume! If you ever want to read and review any of my published books, hit me up!

  6. I really enjoy your approach to reviews. I usually shy away from reading book reviews because they never entice me to actually read the book. Yours, however, pique my curiosity. I am terrible about reading outside of blog posts. I have always been more of a skimmer which I think can be attributed to my lack of ability to focus.

  7. I LOVE reading! I don’t have an e-reader, the closest I get is having some books in PDF format that I read on my laptop. I like the feel of real books, and also, a lot of the non-fiction that I read has large illustrations or a need to flip backwards and forwards to refer back to stuff which I find difficult in e-books. I too take notes when it’s a topic where I want to retain the information. With novels my tastes are fairly eclectic, but I really enjoy ones that have a well researched background. I’ve just finished one called Plum Rains where the main and side stories full of fascinating insights into Japanese robotics, native Taiwanese culture and debt bondage of Philippine workers (plus some other stuff that I won’t reveal as it would be a spoiler).

  8. i like this explanation 🙂
    i used to read all the time, then stopped after finishing my studies … i didn’t want to see another text book, ever! … but have decided to get back to reading next year as part of my longterm ‘self care’ plan 😉 i’m looking forward to it & will use some of your note taking tips!! 🙂

  9. I have done some book reviews on my blog, but not every book I read, I review, because if I did, it would feel a chore for me. I have read more books than I have reviewed.

    Although I have read mental health related books a fair bit, I am taking a back seat from those and reading some fiction. I have mentioned at times titles of these books and whether I have liked them sometimes in just a general post, like my chit chat ones. But that’s all. I have enjoyed having a change.

    I do, like you, have to make notes if I plan to do a book review because of bad memory, or for something important. My memory still feels bad at times.

  10. I love reading your reviews and am even seriously thinking of buying you coffee so you can review one or two of mine lol. I am addicted to reading and just do it from any source. I used to review a lot of books too but am getting onto other stuffs and that’s sort of slowing down. I don’t think there is or should be any particular way/format to review a book ; well if there is one then we just give a damn right? hahahaha

  11. As an author, reviews are always appreciated. 😊
    Also an author, I write good reviews, always 4 or 5 stars if I have read a memoir.
    Some may not agree with that, but I take into consideration the persons commitment to writing their story, the vulnerability of publishing it for others to critique, and knowing that good reviews help people find the books. In general, I have tremendous respect for authors who risk putting their work out there, so thats why I like to review books. 😊

  12. I am about to start reviewing self help books consistently for the year of 2019! It’s encouraging to hear that other people enjoy reviewing books, in the same way that I suspect I might also.

  13. I love your book reviews 💕 I love reading and I’m glad I’m back to reading this year and will continue in 2019 ✨ Reading is amazing. It calms me down and makes me so happy. I also love paperbooks.

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