Part 1

The almighty Goodreads. Where the reviews and ratings of each book you look into dictate whether you pick up the book or give it a solid pass. For the past few years, I have gained some experience on how I got about reading and reviewing a book.

I feel like I am a wise old Yoda of Goodreads. Not really, but I got some things to share.

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To get some context on how I started. It was 2019 and I just got back into reading after my 3 year reading slump. I was fascinated by Goodreads to track my read and unread books, looking up books and seeing what other people are reading. It felt almost like gossip in the reading community.

I fell in love, slightly addicted (still am) and started reviewing all my books right away. But after a year of reading, reviewing and rating books. I started to get burned out during the whole process. I started not enjoying what I was reading and didn’t feel that it was a fun hobby anymore.

I was caring too much about what people think, couldn’t put a book down if I hated it and so much more. I created my own misery and decided to do something about it. More like, giving myself grace and breathing room to do what is best for me.

Not saying that all these things will work for you, or you may even agree. Which is totally okay. But I wanted to share my truths and what helps me feel freer to read on my own terms and eventually that I was picking up books and reading them quicker and more naturally.

Pencil Drawing with yellow balloon dog at the end

It is okay to DNF books

I cannot explain the freedom I felt once I started DNFing books that were in my opinion poorly written or not that interesting of a plot. I noticed that instead of the book being finished in a week, it would take a month. It would suck my soul to the point that I wouldn’t read anything else until this one book was done.

Sometimes the biggest setback in reading is forcing yourself to finish a book that you have no absolute interest in. Causes reading misery or worse, a reading slump. 

When I first embraced this idea, I felt kinda bad. Or I wanted to know the ending, but I really don’t have the drive to get there. 

But everyone, when I tell you that DNF’ing is so freeing, it really is. You feel the renewed energy to pick up another book that you actually will enjoy more.

I think a lot of people feel the pressure that they have to finish the book that they started. Which isn’t true, it is a mindset that you can choose to continue or break. I think that if you are a person who struggles with finishing a book you are struggling with. Just do it, see how you feel. I personally feel that you will not regret it, you may even feel freer.

It is okay to give a low rating or not at all

So one thing I have noticed about BookTubers I follow is that a lot of them stopped giving star ratings. Why, you might ask? Many have said that their ratings were stressful and disrupting a lot of readers. 

Now, I still do ratings. But now, I am not always a 5 star rating gal anymore. When I first started my reading journey in 2019, I was giving everything, 5 stars. Terrible plot and character development…5 stars. But as I started reading more books and different style writings, I started finding what I liked and didn’t like in books. That said I noticed that my ratings had started hitting the average of 3-4 stars on books. 5 if I really loved it. 

For example, for low ratings, readers will either be outraged that their favorite book was rated so low by a BookTuber or they would absolutely refuse to read the book. Now, at first I was highly influenced by that as well. But then I realized….every reader has different perspectives and different tastes.

There was a particular BookTuber I love to follow. I love her reviews and what she picks up. But she did not, I mean, DID NOT like Book Lovers by Emily Henry. That showed me that even though I liked it, not everyone else will.

So I came to realize that it is okay not to rate a book based on what all my reading friends are rating. Be honest with yourself, if you don’t like it, rate it accordingly.

Or you can go a route on just clicking that you read the book, put it in your reading journal of your actual rating and move on.

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