Review What You Want—Not What You Think People Want to Read

I recently started my own book blog and I haven’t done any reviews yet. I have no idea what I want to review, and I don’t know what books people would be interested in reading my reviews about. I don’t have any super new books to review so I’m afraid reviewing books from say ten years ago won’t be interesting.

Hi Sarah!

It’s really important that you review books that you are interested in. If that means you’re going to review books from ten years ago, then so be it!

In order for you to love your blog, it has to be about you and your interests. If you start reviewing books that you think OTHER people will like, you’ll slowly start to hate blogging and/or reading. You’ll get bored, tired, and/or burnt out. It will start to feel more like a job than a hobby. Make your blog all about you, rather than what you think other people will like. That’s how you will find like-minded people, and those are the best kinds of readers you’ll get! 😉

For example, I’ve actually started to get a little bored of reviewing some books. Not all books, but some books. Sometimes I just finish a book and have no desire to review it. At first this freaked me out! I have a book blog so I’m supposed to be reviewing books—right???


This is my blog and I can do whatever I want with it! If that means I’m going to be reviewing slightly less books and posting more discussions/tips, then that’s perfectly okay! This is what I want to do, even if most people claim that they mostly like to read book reviews.[Source] But this is the one way I’m going to continue to love my blog: by posting what I want to post and not what people want to read.

Trust me, you won’t drive people away by doing what you want. Instead, you’ll attract people who are interested in the same books you are, which is what most bloggers want anyway! 🙂

Have you ever reviewed a book that was published more than 5 years ago?

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  1. I have reviewed books from more than 5 years ago! I even made a feature for it lol. I came up with my Re-read & Review feature because I felt that I was in a slump and I wanted to re-read harry potter and all those other books from years ago but I had to read my ARC first and all that. So I came up with that feature. I re-read books that I haven’t reviewed yet, (or the reviews are like a few sentences long from when I started with writing reviews) and I review them. It’s my blog and if people don’t like it, then don’t read the post! 🙂 Now I read what I want, it’s the only way for me to avoid a reading slump. I read my ARC’s and R2R’s when I feel like it and jump from one genre to the next. 😛

    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted: Waiting on Wednesday #36: Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard
  2. You blog and reviews sure as hell should be about you.
    I just started reading the Dark/Carpathians series by Feehan, the first book was published in 2000 — but of course I reviewed it. Because I liked it, and I love the series as a whole.
    There are other books as well, and I’m very sure not up to date with all the releases — I gave up on that a while ago. It’s way to much pressure for someone who has other things to do for a living. I now try to be with the time by doing challenges, thus sharing with others over the year.

    Caro @ The Book Rogue recently posted: WoW #87 - Half Bad
  3. Somehow it feels like the “Bravo-type letters” 😉 I never heard that book blog means that you have only review books there. Why nobody told me earlier? Even considering a few months break, my first review was written in November, and I started the blog in February.

    Have I ever reviewed a book that was published more than 5 years earlier? I mainly review such books. The “5 years or less” is a minority. 😀

    I think that “Sarah” probably didn’t think up of what kind of blog she wants to have in the beginning. Those kind of questions (“What I want to write about?” etc.) are supposed to be asked before somebody starts the blog.

  4. When I first started my blog, I read and reviewed whatever I wanted. Then I got all caught up in the eARC game, and the whole “what’s coming out next, I need to read it” thing…I’m thinking this year I’m going to try to balance new releases and older books from my shelves, and reading more of what I want rather than trying to fit into a mold.

    I have reviewed a couple of older books, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower…but I’d say 90% or more have been new(ish) books.

    Bree recently posted: Currently: January 29
  5. I’ve never really factored in the publishing date when reviewing books, other than I don’t review classics, but that’s more because I think the classics I read are more suited to discussions than actual reviews. I review a lot of new stuff, but I have plenty of old mixed it. I can’t stay in one category or genre either. I read & review MOSTLY YA books, but I read a decent chunk of adult books too and I review those as well. I think, if anything, it’s helped my audience just because there’s variety. And I’ve found I get more comments on older books anyway–because most of the time more people have read them so they feel comfortable talking about the book.

  6. Yup, whenever I’m in the mood to shake things up I’ll read something old. Sometimes those are the best though right since they’ll make your blog stand out: no one else has reviewed that book in ages if ever! I know a lot more about books coming out this year than I do about books from ten years ago, so I’d love to discover a new-to-me book 🙂

    Anya recently posted: Way of Kings Read-Along {Week 5}
  7. I review older books! Not often, but I do! I like going back and reading some possibly forgotten titles, or checking out some beloved books from decades past! I have reviews currently scheduled for books published in 1995, 2008, and 2009!

    I totally agree that reviewing the books you like is the most important thing, whether the books are 10 years old or not even out yet.

  8. Yes, yes, yes. I don’t see the point in reviewing things I don’t want to review. I mean, I don’t even see the point in READING books I don’t want to read unless I have an obligation to for some reason. There’s no point in my doing it if I’m not going to like it and if it’s not a requirement. If that means I review something “old” then so be it. I have every intention of reviewing The Shining when I finish it even though it’s probably considered ancient these days and even though it’s not in my usual genre. I see my usual genre as a loose thing to follow. It’s there because it’s what I normally read. Doesn’t mean I won’t branch out EVER. Great post!

  9. I actually got into an argument with a friend over this exact same thing a few weeks ago. They didn’t know I had a review blog, found out, and then proceeded to gripe about everything from my layout, to my formatting (as if the UBB isn’t perfect or something) to my reviews themselves (they need to be more indepth and critical, spoilers be damned!) and then to the books I read. She promptly got a talking to, because I live my life my way. You can think I am a bitch, but bitches get shit done don’t they?

    She finally saw the light after about 10 minutes of me lecturing her on being a close minded booksnob and then arguing my point, but it shouldn’t have taken so long in my opinion. Your book blog is yours. You read and review what you want, when you want. Don’t freak out if you are just now reading a book that everyone else was reviewing in drones three years ago. It wasn’t the right time for you to read it then, it is now. Sometimes you don’t come across these gems until late. Guess what, other people miss things too! I love that people review older books too. I miss things and sometimes I forget about a book and a review makes me want to revisit it.

    Don’t try to review nothing but what is popular. I could never go and read JUST the New York Times best seller list. Mostly because about 80% of the books on it just don’t appeal to me. You should never read something you don’t want to. Unless it’s for school… then you don’t have a choice. You will have to read the Great Gatsby three times, no matter how much you hate the book. *sigh* Never should’ve read that in elementary school. I had to read it in middle school and twice in high school and I hated it.

    Great post, with good timing. Totally going to show it to my friend, because I rub noses in things like that. Haha.

  10. I totally agree! I feel like a lot of people feel obligated to write book reviews because they’re a book blog, but it’s definitely not true. Like I feel like a blog is really personal and so flexible, so you can do basically whatever you want and nobody should be able to judge you. It’s really unfortunate how some people do still judge, but it’s definitely your choice what you want to do. Fantastic post, Ashley! <33

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd
  11. Yes I do! To be honest, I never really pay much attention to what I HAD to review or books that I SHOULD have read. I mean, besides review copies, I just post reviews of whatever book I’ve recently finished and that’s usually just anything that I was interested in and read. I think it’s important to just do what you want to do with your blog & not worry too much about what others think. And from a subscriber’s perspective, the year which a book is published will never deter me from reading a review! Regardless of whether it’s published in 1991 or 2013, I still base my opinion on the story itself. So for me at least, I don’t think it’d be too big of a problem! 🙂

    Annie recently posted: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
  12. I’ve reviewed a book from 1965, and my new feature, which debuted today, is recap/reviews of 1980s teen series books. (Think Sweet Valley High, only I’m not doing that series because it’s been done.) I don’t expect it to be that popular because most YA bloggers weren’t even born when the books were being published, but I’m having fun with it. When I finish or get tired of (because they were LONG back then) one series, I’ll move on to another. In general, I do review newer books, because that’s what I tend to read, but I wouldn’t hesitate to review a book ten years old if I came across one I wanted to read.

  13. I reviewed THE YELLOW WALLPAPER on my blog and that was written in 1892. I read older books, but I generally don’t review them because reviewing EVERYTHING sucks the fun out of reading.

    I do enjoy reading reviews of older books. It’s great to read a review of the first book of a series, for example, when the latest book comes out. It lets me know if the series is worth starting.

  14. My blog has a total mix of new and old books. Whatever I feel like reading. I don’t think you need to review just new books because some older books need love and attention too. Plus you might have a better chance at introducing people to “new” books if they weren’t just published and marketed.

  15. I love reading new releases, but there’s tons of older books that catch my attention on Goodreads. I wasn’t really sure if i wanted to post reviews of books that were released years ago, but I figured that I’d just review those books for the fun of it. Besides, if I haven’t heard of the book until now, it’s pretty likely that someone will stumble upon my review and think, “Oh, wow! Why haven’t I heard of this book before? I want to go read it now!”

    D. @ The Nerdy Journalist recently posted: Countdown to Valentine’s Day: Battle of the Book Boyfriends
  16. I completely agree with Ashley! Great response 🙂 I read what I want to read and blogging can still feel like work if I over-commit myself. There’s no way I’d have enough fun to stick with it if I let other people’s likes dictate my reading choices. However, I don’t think you need to read a particular way to gain followers. I read pretty eclectically, so I personally follow blogs that include: someone who only reviews classics; someone who only reviews sci-fi and fantasy, usually new releases; a number of people who read non-fiction and literary fiction; someone who reads a lot more romance than I do. The list goes on! If I like someone’s review style and would consider reading a decent number of the books they read, I’ll follow. Getting to know people is far more important to me than finding new book recommendations. I’m a book blogger; my TBR pile doesn’t need any help 🙂

    Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted: Some Almost Awesome Fiction in Mini-Reviews
  17. When I started book blogging years ago I wanted to keep up with everybody & review all the latest books but I couldn’t. I didn’t have money to buy every new book that came out & I certainly wasn’t getting any arcs. But I learned that reviewing the latest doesn’t really matter. What matters is if you write a good review on the books you do read, people will be drawn to that. Who knows, you may even introduce someone to a book they overlooked years ago that they may love!

    Avanti recently posted: My Goals For February
    1. Honestly, I’m not sure whether I should be responding to Krys’ opinion on how she reviews books or not because I got the feeling that this forum is “girls only”. In any case, I agree with Krys because, you would want to look “YOU” and not like “OTHERS”. Have said that, I would not mind Krys leaving me a review on Amazon on my latest book titled “Beliefs As The Secret of Success” if that’s not too much of a trouble for her. Thanks.

      Kingsley C Njoku recently posted: Hello world!
  18. I mean, clearly I’m reading posts from years ago, so why not review books published years ago? 🙂 Proof that the internet is for posterity! (or something)

    I like seeing blog posts about older books, because while maybe many of the blogs I follow are all talking about the same (new) book, there’s an oldie but goodie or hidden gem I’m NEVER GOING TO KNOW ABOUT if someone don’t post about it years later!!

    I hope Sarah decided to blog her little heart out about them olda’ books.

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