A peak into my brain: How I review the books I read.

How I review.png

Hello guys !

A while ago, I got a few comments on one of my posts asking how I review my books because I mentioned that I take a lot of notes and as much as I could direct them to this post, I wrote it almost two years ago and the way I approach books has changed drastically. So that post doesn’t stand anymore and quite frankly, going back and reading it, I thought “WHO IS THAT?” not because it was necessarily bad but because it’s not me anymore and I can almost read a certain naivety to the post.

I’ve been delaying this post for the past couple of months because when I got those questions my reviewing ways were shifting YET AGAIN. Not in any significant way, mind you, but I was testing new methods and wanted to make sure they were better than what I did before, before talking about them.

Without any further useless ramblings, here’s what goes on behind the scenes.

First of all, while I’m reading, I take notes, a ridiculous amount that range from the senseless screaming to the paragraph long critique about one sentence in the book. It can be ridiculous. And I used to have a notebook for that which wasn’t practical at all. First of all, I liked to make it pretty, and that was time consuming. Second, I mostly read on my phone so I always have to bring out the notebook whenever I have a thought and that is annoying and I am sometime lazy about it and tell myself I’ll do it later, that I’ll remember but I don’t.

So, I threw away that notebook. Metaphorically. It’s too pretty to go to trash. And I know write my notes on my phone right when I have a thought, I just need to switch apps and I am set. I use Evernote which automatically syncs itself with my laptop and it’s made my life so much easier because when I need to write my review I just split my screen into two section, the left side with the WordPress page where I’m going to write and the left for the notes, so I can look at the and write at the same time.

I know some people don’t take notes, which honestly isn’t a bad thing. If I could remember my thoughts without notes I’d go without them too but I can’t haha. So if you’re like me and don’t know where to start with note-taking, it just takes a couple times to get used to it then it comes naturally. What I used to do is whenever a sentence stood out to me, I’d stop and think at the why, when I have an answer, I write it down. It might seem time consuming but it’s literally a matter of seconds. Is it writing? Then what are the first adjectives that come to mind when you think about it? Is it an event? Then what was special about it? How did it make you feel? and so on and so forth.

Another thing I do is that I mark quotes. When I’m reading on my Kobo app, I highlight them and when I’m reading a physical book, I use tabs to mark them. I don’t have a color code, since it’s mainly quotes I like and that spoke to me. That being said, if a sentence or paragraph piques my interest for critical reasons (re: problematic content) I dedicate one colour to it, which changes from book to book.

I don’t review the book right after I finish reading it.

That’s just not how my brain works. I know that if I do that I’ll be either too harsh or too leniant (most of the time, the latter). So, I just start my next read and wait a few days before reviewing this one.

As I said to review, I split my screen into two etc… And just ramble away. Oh, but before I do, I try to look for ownvoices reviews to see if they had any concerns/problems related to any representation and make sure to mention it in the right section. The way I section is almost the same as it used to be, albeit I realize that I am now a lot more critical than I used to be, I also include representation as well when it need mentioning. So, the section are as follows:

  • Introduction: My general thoughts after reading the book and how they compare to the before.
  • Writing.
  • Plot: Actual story, pacing, how it’s handled etc…
  • Woldbuilding: If there’s any to speak of.
  • Characters: I detail my thoughts of the main characters and mention side characters that stood out to me. 
  • Conclusion: Which is basically just me screaming at people to read the book or run away from it. Or meh. Meh is important.

When I’m done writing down my thoughts unfiltered I go back and edit whatever needs to be edited (typos, sentences that don’t sound right, etc…) and when that’s done, I make the graphics for which I 1/need to choose a catch phrase which I mostly fail at and 2/need to choose a quote to use in the post. Then I format put the last touches, and schedule it.

That’s basically how it goes every single time. I hope it was helpful to some of you ❤

That’s it until next time.

What steps do you follow to review the books you read?

Are any of them similar to what I do?

Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.



10 thoughts on “A peak into my brain: How I review the books I read.

  1. Great post! I bought myself a pretty notebook but found that I wasn’t using it as intended. I know some people will feel that my entire library should be confiscated when I say this but… I dog ear. I have ADD so when I’m on a reading roll, it’s dangerous for me to stop to write notes. I also don’t generally like doing so. Sometimes I will write down a thought if it’s something such as a scene that brings something else to mind of if I see a subtle theme woven in but for quotes and things I’ll just need a quick reminder of, I dog ear. In my defense, I don’t fold over half the page. Just a teeny corner. So teeny, in fact, I sometimes have difficulty finding the pages when I’m through with the book.


  2. I really enjoyed reading this, thanks for the post, Fadwa! 🙂
    I’m quite the opposite of you: I usually write my review right after I finish the book, otherwise I’ll either forget what I want to say or I’ll get lazy and just won’t do it. I might have to try your note-taking method sometime, it seems pretty useful. ^^


  3. My Sunday Commentary actually covered this same topic, funny! My reviews are character driven. Did the characters grow over the length of the story? Was there a conflict, what kind of emotions did the characters make me feel? Did they relate to each other? Was there chemistry? I am definitely not as organized as you! I am always interested in hearing how other reviewers write! Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: To Sum-up: November 2017 | Word Wonders
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