I am by no means a book review expert, but I have written a decent amount (be it on here or Goodreads). So I decided I wanted to write a mini series* about how to write and better your own reviews (You don’t actually have to listen to me; I don’t really know what I’m talking about).
For the first part of the series, I am talking about how to take notes while you are reading the book, and what to include. If you are anything like me, you tend to forget all the important details of the book and only remember whether you liked or didn’t like it. The review is about why you did/n’t like it though, so it’s important to have a reason. Otherwise you will be repeating yourself over and over.
*By mini series, I mean really mini. Probably only one more post to follow this one.
To make things easier, I broke down my notes into a few steps. Grab a notebook and follow along!
Turn to that fresh, brand new page and begin by writing down the title and author of the book. As silly (and obvious) as this seems, you don’t want to forget what book the notes are actually for.
Now the fun part. Write your predictions for the book based on the cover, the synopsis, other reviews you read/heard, etc. Be sure to include whether you think you will like the book or not, too! I like to have my initial thoughts before I start reading to see how my views have changed when I’m done. This is also a great thing to talk about in a review.
The next part requires a little bit of work, but it will guarantee a successful review later on. While I read, I tend to come up with sentences to use for a review later, but when I sit down to actually write the review, I completely forget what it is I wanted to talk about. So the notebook is there when I have fragments of sentences to include.
I also keep a list of page numbers and quotes that I really enjoy. It can be about characters, the setting, plot twists, the author’s descriptions, etc. Basically anything that seems interesting and catches my attention. And, the more information you jot down, the better.
For example, I am currently reading Illuminae. The blood splatters on page 158 really intrigued me, and I appreciated how thought out the design of the page was. It is something I might want to include in a blog post later.
As soon as you read the last word of the book, grab your notebook, your phone, a napkin- anything near you-and write down your thoughts. The way the book leaves you feeling is important, and you don’t want to forget it. Let it all out, even if it doesn’t make too much sense.
Mine usually ends up being all caps and tons of “ASAHKSLDHAJFK.” Even though it looks like a mess, I can use this to bring out my initial emotions and put them into coherent thoughts. It just gives me a final idea of what I was feeling when reading the book.
This process is just the beginning of book reviewing. The next post in this series will be about actually writing the review- what to include and how to start.
I hope you found this helpful, and will use some version of this method to keep track of your reviews. Feel free to change it up to fit you.