I do not mind writing book reviews. I think it is stimulating to verbalize emotions and impressions derived from reading a text, and it is often during the writing of the review that I discover things I had not noticed before.
This phenomenon is the basis for the well-known healing effect of writing; giving a name to sensations opens new doors to the mind and inspires other connections that will lead to a different interpretation of the facts narrated. Telling the story without falling into spoiling it is a sometimes frustrating exercise, but it’s very useful training in self-censorship, something that not everyone is capable of. I hate to see the effects of reviewers with little restraint who reveal the story till the end, transforming a review into a story of the story.
The good reviewer does not need the author’s wording to describe his impressions. Instead he will take care to report the sense of the plot remaining in his own style, using his normal language. Neophytes sometimes adopt the style of the reviewed author, reflecting the fact that reading influences the way we think and write.
However, to review a book is an activity that requires skill, patience, honesty, and a lot of time. That is why I have long since decided that my reviews will be limited to novels that I liked a lot or essays that, in my opinion, offer really new and interesting information.