I used to write a TON of long books reviews. By that, I mean, I wrote at least one a week, every week, for about five years. I don’t do that anymore. Actually, I probably write more reviews now than I did then.
How? I write a bite-sized review of every book I read, every month. That’s the big idea behind my “what I read in…” series that I run, where I share a thought on the books I’ve been reading, and it’s a lot of fun. Here’s what I see as the benefits to me as a book reviewer:
It drives me to understand the book well. This probably seems like a given, but it’s worth mentioning. When I read, I’m looking to get a good sense of the big ideas of a book. I want to know it well enough that I can communicate it back simply.
It encourages me to share something of substance efficiently. I want to communicate something about the book and why it matters. I just want to do it in a sentence or two, instead of 1000 words.
It challenges me to discern what requires longer-form review. Some books just need more words than 50. They need 500 or 1000 to adequately express the key takeaways. So when I’m reading, I’m doing so with the idea that there might be a big idea worth exploring in greater detail (like this).
Writing a book review isn’t about the length of your post. It’s about the value you’re communicating. Writing smaller, bite-sized reviews has been really helpful in this area. Maybe it will be for you, too.