I've been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember -- I'll read just about any well written book, and a large number of not so well written books too. For a somewhat shorter time, I've been a critical reader. Partly it's that every aspiring writer is told to go out and read critically, but more than that at a certain point comparisons become inevitable.
Which is better, Harry Potter or Narnia? How do I predict which library shelves hold the most enjoyable books? What should I recommend to other people? Some kind of standard becomes necessary. Besides, it's fun to talk about books - nearly as much fun as it is to read them.
At some point, I discovered the fun of writing book reviews. At first I tried to list main characters and important themes; to make a literary analysis of the book. The trouble with that approach is twofold. For one thing, I'm rather unqualified to make literary analyses and quite aware of it. For another, I could write a review as long as the book itself, which rather defeats the purpose of a review.
Then, while I was exploring different kinds of nonfiction writing, I stumbled across a better way of writing reviews. A book review is a true story about an adventure I went on - the adventure of reading a good book, an awful book, or even a mediocre book. Sharing my adventure is not about what I know and don't know and it doesn't have to be exhaustive. It's even more fun to write than the formal things I learned to write at school.
My 26th of January resolution is to write more book reviews. As a kind of motivation, I'll post them too, on deviantART and at the Reading as Discipline blog. Words are fun. Words about words are even more fun!