the stages of rating & reviewing books // feat. overthinking + HOW THE HECK DO I WORD ??

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

i am a major over-thinker.

as i've mentioned many times before, i am an intj on the myers briggs personality test (or an infj on days when i'm feeling particularly nice*), which means hellooooo there MAJOR PERFECTIONISM / OVERTHINKING COMPLEX. obviously, this translates into my blog whether i'm working on improving minor details in my design (hours at the computer trying to figure out what the heck is going on with the coding) or making header images (hours at the computer moving floral elements around (see: above image**). but even more than this, i see my perfectionism pop out and mock me when i try to write book reviews.  let's take a look of the rare and endangered madeline in her native habitat of overthinking every single tiny little detail, shall we?  

*HAHAHAH otherwise known as never. i am nearly always a heartless vulcan.
** to be quite frank with you, i'm not entirely happy with how the font placement mingles with the floral elements. 

stage one: the initial rating.

this is the stage of rating that i am most confident, which is saying something. i still manage to overthink my initial rating, despite the fact that i simply need to choose a number 1 through 5.

i always try to rate books just after i finish them to go ahead and get my thoughts down before i move right along to another book and forget what the heck this one was about in the first place, but my struggle here is, what if i don't know how i feel about this book immediately?? this leads me to:

optional intermediate stage two: reading others' reviews.

another thing i try to do: rate/review a book myself before reading others' reviews. the key word right there is "try." when i don't know how i feel about a book (see: struggle in previous stage), it is occasionally helpful for me to read other people's thoughts in order to figure out which opinions i agree with and which i don't (if that makes any sense at all?). it makes it clearer to me what my thoughts are on a book when i read others' coherent thoughts.

stage three: writing the review. 

i do my best to write book reviews pretty soon after i finish reading... buuuuttt that doesn't always happen. writing book reviews requires a good deal of concentration and time, neither of which i always have.

stage three and one-fourth: coherent thoughts? haven't heard of those.

also affectionately known as, HOW THE HECK DO I WORD. 

but really: if i really loved the book, how do i explain why i loved it without the entire review feeling oversold and being "AMAZING AMAZING AMaziNG." if i felt negatively about the book, how do i pinpoint exactly what i disliked? worst of all, how do i explain what makes a book average and "meh"?? these are questions more important than the meaning of life, i tell you !!

don't even get me started on the editing portion of writing a book review. it takes forever to put together thoughts that actually make sense.

stage three and a half: how do i recap ??

this is especially a problem when i'm reviewing sequels. how do i give enough information about the concept of the book and the general idea without being spoiler-y and giving away too much? summarization is not one of my strengths, i'll tell you that much.

stage three and three-fourths: FORMATTING! ISSUES! EVERYWHERE!

for some reason, blogger loves to mess up my book review posts more than any of my other posts. it. takes. forever. to get them looking the way i want them to. *sighs sharply*

stage four: questioning my rating.

wow. look at the majesty of the overthinking madeline in her element. so graceful.

now that i have written my full book review, i've examined my thoughts more closely than ever, and obviously, i'm questioning whether i chose my rating correctly. "did i really love this book as much as i thought i did, tho?? the negatives look a lot more prominent now that they're written down" "this book is actually looking a lot more likable now that i've written my review ?? should i change my rating?" 

the struggle is real, frens.


i think you get my drift by now.

well, that's about it. i may have exaggerated a teensy little bit on some of these (but not really actually). to any of my book blogger frens out there: do you relate to any of this and struggle with book reviews?? (please say you do..)  do you have anything else to add to this list?  any suggestions to help me improve at my book review game? let me know in the comments!

xo, madeline


  1. I agree! I'm always so indecisive about rating and reviewing books, and sometimes when I liked the book, I read other reviews and realize that they're right, and then change my rating/review.

  2. There's such an art to reviewing...tbh, I usually avoid it altogether. I always try to give it a star rating and at least post my initial thoughts right after it's read, but I will rarely write more than a paragraph these days. I try to instead post pretty consistent updates while I'm reading.

    And yeah, formatting on blogger is...difficult, to say the least. I just switched to Wordpress earlier this year. It still has its kinks, but I think it's more user-friendly.

    1. yeah, i relate to that. for most books, i just make a bullet point list of likes/dislikes, but SOMETIMES (once in a blue moon) i'll feel like writing a whole 800 pages about a book.

      ugh formatting on blogger can be so annoying!

  3. I'm not an avid book reviewer, but I always have weighty topics on books that I've read! So recently I started a reading journal so when people ask for recommendations and reviews, I can consult the book.

    So far, SAME. I RELATE.

    - andrea at a surge of thunder

    1. yay! glad to see that you're back! (i missed reading your posts) ooh i like the idea of a reading journal! i might need to start doing that in my bullet journal!

  4. Gosh, how damn relatable this is!


    I used to do initial ratings but after LOTS OF EXPERIENCE INCLUDING FREAK OUTS AND MELT DOWNS, I write my review then rate it afterwards. Saves you the trouble.

    I try and look at reviews AFTER I write my own because it affects my opinions so much and can completely change my inital thoughts of the books.


    1. ahh thanks :)) that was what i was going for!

      i should really try that-- it would save me a lot of time and trouble! samee i try to look at reviews and ratings from friends afterwards so it doesn't sway my opinion, but sometimes i have no idea how i feel about a book!

  6. OH MY GOD CURRENTLY BINGING YOUR BLOG BECAUSE I HAVEN'T CHECKED OUT MY BLOGGER FOLLOWING LIST IN SO LONG *cries* love the new design! and girl, i so agree. it is SO hard to decide what rating the book is going to be! ESPECIALLY when you give it a half star and you can't decide to round up or down. D:

    may @ forever and everly

    1. haha same, girl. thank you!

      *shOUTS at goodreads* PLEASE GIVE US HALF STARS. (then we don't have to round up or down HOW CONVENIENT)


getting kind words and comments on my posts is like waking up early in the morning and realizing that I have a few more hours to sleep in. getting comments from you guys is the best, and it always makes my day :)