Saturday, October 20, 2012

rethinking reviewing

I came to a realization this week. This is something I've known for a long time, but I ignored it. However, this week—when I had three book reviews due on Monday, one on Thursday, one on Friday, and one on Saturday—made one fact abundantly clear: I need to review fewer books.

When I began reviewing books on my blog (four years ago now!), I only reviewed for Thomas Nelson, and I averaged about one review a month. Then I began joining the book review blogger teams for other Christian publishers. And then, in February 2011, I hit the book blogger's jackpot when I became a Litfuse blogger. Litfuse is a publicity group, and they tour the best—seriously, the absolute best—in Christian fiction. (They also have non-fiction book tours, but I rarely sign up for those.) And when there's a wealth of excellent books, I have trouble saying no to any of them. (I've been trying—I even made "learn to say no" one of my goals for 2012—but I haven't been incredibly successful.) This year alone, I've discovered five or six new authors whose writing styles I really enjoy.

But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. I feel like reviewing is beginning to take over my life. The last time I read a book purely for fun—no review strings attached—was after my gallbladder surgery in May. (And then I went ahead and reviewed it anyway because apparently I have a mental condition.) I have a full shelf of books I've purchased in the last 18 months that I really want to read but haven't had time for yet. I have a Kindle brimming with free books that I've never opened. I still haven't finished Loving or read Coming Home, the book that wraps up Karen Kingsbury's Baxter family saga. 
This is my "to be reviewed" shelf.
This is my "I so want to read you, but I can't because I have too many review books" shelf.
Probably the most important reason to review fewer books is that my spiritual life is suffering. In my spare time, either I'm reading like a mad woman or I'm vegging out in exhaustion. I can't remember the last time I picked up my Bible when it wasn't related to church or one of my Bible studies. 

So I've decided that, for the next six months to begin with, I will only request books from authors whose previous books I've loved. These are authors whose books I would purchase if I wasn't a reviewer—authors like Susan May Warren, Becky Wade, Sarah Sundin, and Tricia Goyer. This will cut back on my reviews drastically and should give me time for other things. Things like ...
  • Spending time with God.
  • Getting healthier. I'm working out and trying to eat better, but I know that the stress and lack of sleep due to reading and reviewing so many books is also wearing on my health.
  • Finally reading some of the other books on my "to be read" shelf.
  • Cleaning my house.
  • Continuing my Cinematic Survey project.
  • Blogging about things other than books.
  • Getting farther than episode four on Friday Night Lights.
  • Focusing on relationships.
For a while, my reviewing pace won't slow too much because, as you saw above, I already have a bunch of books to review. However, I don't think any week will be quite as crazy as this one has been!
I know this won't be easy. I'll be very tempted to "cheat" now and again. But it will be healthy—for my body, mind, and soul.


  1. ps, i love you because i don't have to try to type two groups of barely visible letters to comment on your blog!

    1. Yeah, I HATE that captcha stuff. I think they're getting harder to read! Besides, Blogger does a good job of weeding out the spam comments, and I get all comments sent to my email, so if something sneaks through, I can delete it right away.

  2. Wow, I thought it seemed like you were doing a lot more reviews! I had to cut back a lot because I was getting overwhelmed. I would rather read books that I know I am going to enjoy too! :) And let me know how it goes with Friday Night Lights! I am on season 5 and am going to be very sad when it ends!! :)


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