Book Review Burnout and the Fallacy of Striving

I'm getting burned out on book reviews lately. I haven't written many in the past year or so and whenever I get the chance, I'm like - eh.

Lately I've been a lot more excited about reading blogs, or even just reading books on my Kindle but for my own enjoyment and not really for review. I had a professor in graduate school who said it was naive to think that people would study literature for the enjoyment of books, and then he would give a little dry laugh. He was a great professor, but I dare to be naive because even after graduating, I can't give up on the idea that books can and should be enjoyable. (and maybe literature professors should make some life changes if they don't think they are.)

But writing book reviews can make enjoying books tough. For one thing, I feel a sort of professional responsibility to do a thorough job, so I have to make sure I really analyze and pay attention to the book. But then half the time, I don't live up to that professional responsibility because there is not time, so I just write a review of the first few chapters and call it good. Sometimes the editor expects a good review from a popular book and it's hard to know when one of those times is coming. Overall, I just don't see the point in reviewing books for me right now.

So maybe I'll start reviewing blogs or just talking about what I've been reading rather than trying to do formal book reviews. I helped launch a "what we're reading" blog on Identity Theory which was meant to just be a reading journal of anything, any era, not the new books being put out by the publisher's PR machines but the books we were genuinely reading at that time. While I haven't written for them for years, and they seem to be letting it die on the vine, I still like the concept. I started this blog after I stopped writing for them so I would have somewhere to continue the idea, and in the midst of writing this blog, I started putting some kind of striving energy toward this thing and ruined it in my mind.

So I guess the answer to my book review burnout might be to get back to that idea of just talking about whatever I am reading instead of reading something for the purpose of talking about it. There's no money or glory in book reviews anyway. Why strive?

Thanks for listening. I feel better.

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