On her blog, author Shannon Hale asked book readers and reviewers to self-evaluate. I thought I'd take her up on that here and now. My answers are bolded; the questions were taken directly from her website.
1. Do you find that the anticipation of reviewing the book has changed your reading experience?
Actually, yes, because now I keep better records of what I am reading and am actually more open to trying a variety of books. I definitely think that reviewing has changed my reading experience for the positive.
2. Are you rating the book even as you read? Or do you wait until the end to sum it all up?
If a book is particularly good or particularly bad then I might rate as I read, but usually I don't even know how I feel about a book, really know, until I sit down to think through and write my review or discuss it with one of my book groups.
3. Does knowing you'll be reviewing it (or rating it) publicly affect which books you pick up in the first place?
Only in the way that I'm now trying new and different things, and sometimes finding that I can't finish them, but at least I'm trying. Also, because I'm getting Advance Copies of books I have a tendency to try and read those where I may not have.
4. Does the process of writing the review itself change how you felt about the book?
Yes! Almost always. If I didn't like a book I try hard to think about things other people would about it and question why I didn't. Reviewing forces me to think much more about everything to do with the story/book I just read. And in a cheesy way allows me to more fully digest what I've been reading. I'm much less likely to make snap judgments now.
5. What is your motivation to assign a rating to a book and declare it to the world?
Actually I didn't start doing the rating until I started writing my reviews on Goodreads. I have issues with their system because I want to be able to do 1/2 stars. Also, I should mention that I often surprise myself with the ratings I give. Why am I so hard on books, even the ones I like? I also hadn't really thought about the ratings past the "well it is better than a three so I guess I'll give it a four" thing. I guess I should really evaluate the necessity for me to post those stars on this blog.
6. If you review a book but don't rate, why not? What do you feel is your role as reviewer?
Well, the first part of this I already answered in #5. I have rated, but mostly because it is an available option and I will consider carefully that system in the future. I view my role as reviewer on this blag as part readers' adviser (who else might like this book?) part critic (but why did I like/dislike it? what are the problems? is the writing good even if the author couldn't plot their way out of a paper bag?) and part storyteller (what does this book say to me and have to do with my life, how does my reading fit in with my experiences? if I can't relate to this book can someone else?)
Well, this ends my answering of Shannon Hale's questions. I have a book of hers, Book of a Thousand Days, to begin listening to on my way to and from work so look for my "rating" of that in the coming weeks.
Speaking of blogging, the newsletter I used to edit is now a blog. It is always so meta when I blog about blogging.
Also, does anyone have a favorite list of Twilight Read-alikes? Because, even though I did make one and I do have several standard recommendations I pull out for both adult and YA fiction, I have met the occasional patron who's already read everything I suggest. Wily patrons and their voracious reading!