[Discussion] Let’s talk about the phrase “reads like fanfiction”

If you read book reviews, odds are you’ve come across a variation of “This reads like fanfiction” โ€” perhaps followed by “but not in a bad way” or “I still liked it though” or some other qualifier.

But what does “reads like fanfiction” actually mean?

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How I Rate & Review DNFs

The question of what to do with books that I do not finish (DNF) has been an ongoing one since I started writing mini-reviews of a few sentences in a notebook just for me. My process continues to change, but I thought I’d share how I currently go about it.

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How I Take Reading Notes

As you might know, I really like creating systems for things I do frequently and repeatedly, to make my life just a bit easier. Taking reading notes is one of them, as something I do with just about every book I read.

For over a year, I’ve been tweaking and testing this process until it became what it is today. While I wouldn’t say that I have it down to a science, I’ve created something that works quite well for me.

This is actually a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but at long last I’m sharing it with y’all in the hopes it might inspire someone else.

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Catching Up On My Review Backlog

[or, How I Write Reviews When I Barely Remember the Book]


I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t write a review as soon as possible after I finish reading, it’ll take me forever to get around to it. At which point I’ll have forgotten everything I wanted to cover in said review, as well as the plot, the tone, the main character’s name, et cetera. Oh, who am I kidding; I forget the main character’s name whileย I’m reading the book.

Yet I keep telling myself I’ll write the review eventually, start another book, let too many waking hours go by … and before I knew it, I had 24 pending reviews. (Though in my defense, the majority of them are left over from Asian Lit Bingo / Readathon since I was focused on filling as many squares as possible.)ย 

There’s nothing like a bit of deadline pressure to make me finally get stuff done, which is why I’m writing this post! ๐Ÿ˜… It’s partly accountability, and partly sharing some tricks I’ve used to jog my memory and get unstuck in case they might help y’all out too.

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[Discussion] To Annotate Or Not to Annotate?

Having grown up mostly reading library books, I never really developed a habit of marking up pages while I read; the most I might do was copy down a particularly nice quote. (I still have notebooks full of these passages, a testament to the hand cramps I suffered in pursuit of the #aesthetic and need to update my Tumblr bio weekly.)

I think the first time I had to annotate my reading โ€” because let’s face it, I don’t like change and will avoid it unless acted upon by an outside force โ€” was for “close reading” in high school. This may have been Cyrano de Bergerac or it may have been Shakespeare, I don’t remember anymore; the point is that once I adjusted, it would not be an exaggeration to say it totally changed the way I think about and approach reading.

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[Discussion | Bloggers in the Attic] Book Rating Systems

Bloggers in the Attic is back for round two!

This month we’re bringing you different takes on book-rating systems: whether they’re important and why/why not, how we do them, how well we think they work, things that should be improved, et cetera.

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