I love being part of the Bookstagram community. It’s where bookish people like me like to discuss books. Usually, when I finish reading a book, I’ll post a short review to let my friends know what I think about the book I just read. However, I really don’t consider myself to be a full-time book reviewer. I don’t want to be the Leonard Maltin of books. I prefer to think of myself as a book lover that writes short book reviews.
I admit that I have never studied literary theory. It really isn’t my area of expertise. I’m not interested in writing an in-depth analysis of a book. I don’t want to go into great detail about a book’s plot, characters, or symbolism. I just want to give a brief description of the book as well as my opinion. I think basically, that’s all my friends want to know. Do I recommend it or do I think people shouldn’t bother reading it? I think that is what people want to find out anyway.
Some Bookstagrammers do a monthly wrap-up where they talk about all the books they read that month. I’m a slow reader. My wraps-up would consist of only one or two books whereas most people have a pile of 6 or 7 books. What annoys me is some of these people will just give a star rating for each book without explaining why. “I give To Kill a Mockingbird 4 out 5 stars. I give Moby Dick 2.8 stars.” To me, that’s just math. They don’t tell you what the difference is between a 4 or 5 star review. They don’t explain why they are giving the book that rating. I guess if you follow that Bookstagrammer often, you can figure out their thought process and what their star system means but that sounds like a lot of work.
I personally prefer to review each book separately, unless it’s a book series or a trilogy. I try to make my reviews short. I just want to give a brief description of the book and then if I recommend it or not. Another thing I feel strongly about is making sure there are no spoilers in my review, even if the book I’m discussing is one almost everyone has read. I think it’s just being respectful to the reader.
What I love about reviewing books is when I find one that I love and I want to inspire others to read it, especially if it’s not posted that often on Bookstagram, or a book not everyone is familiar with it. I loved talking about lesser-known books such as The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford, Chrome Yellow by Aldous Huxley, or A Lesson Before Dying by Earnest J Gaines. I’m not afraid of giving out a review of a book I didn’t like, but I am happy when I inspire someone to read a book that I loved. To me, that’s an important part of being a Bookstagrammer and why I love to write about a book that inspired me.
1 thought on “Bookstagrammer vs. Book Reviewer”
Thank you for this post, Don. I’m not a Bookstagram follower (although I’m going to check it out), but I’ve found in the social media literary community that “review” has different connotations for different people. I’m faithful about posting a short review on Amazon and Goodreads for books I’ve read. But so many readers-as-reviewers write in-depth analyses, I don’t feel the need to add to that, nor do I like writing that type of review. Keep on doing what you’re doing–for some of us, it’s exactly what we’re looking for.
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