Monday, May 24, 2010

To review or not to review

I seldom do book reviews. Let me tell you why. Even though I LOVE to read and am picky about the books I spend time with, I can't bring myself to come out and tell the world how awful a book is.

I would love to be able to be honest about the books that I think are either too boring, too slow, uninteresting or just plain a waste of time, but I know how hard it is to write a book, let alone get it published. Who am I to rip someone apart?

I certainly don't want people to do that to me, although I know some will. I don't think there really is a way to prepare yourself for that first bad review. I'm sure I'll cry and drown my sorrow in a depressing movie and a box of chocolates.

So, I just can't make myself be someone who does that, especially when so many of the books I read now are written by authors and friends I actually know and love.

If I REALLY like a book, I have no problem giving it a shout out either on my blog or on facebook but I will not be the one to rake it over the coals. What is your take on this? Do you find it easy to be brutally honest? Are you gentle when giving a review? Or are you like me? A big, fat, empathetic chicken!


KarenG said...

Rarely is a book all bad. Therefore if I go to the trouble to finish I can find something good about it. And the good is what I focus on in the review. Even if I really despise the book I'll say "Not my genre but if you like YA high school romance, you will probably really like this book." However if it's a nationally recognized book that's garnering all kinds of attention, and I read it and go "What the...?" then I have no problem slamming it. But for debut authors, local authors, friends? No, I am as positive as I can possibly be. If I can't, then I just won't say anything.

Chantele said...

I like being honest, but I NEVER try to hurt an author's feelings. If I absolutely hate a book, I still tell things I liked about it. Authors spend so much time writing and pouring their souls into their books, that I can't be mean.:)

RaShelle said...

Hi, me again. =D I think it was Maureen Johnson who, well this is what she said - "I know this because I was a reviewer for a Big, Fancy Publication, and let me tell you something—I cranked those reviews out hard and fast, often at three in the morning, because they paid me fifty dollars each and ALL I did was write negative reviews. Why? Because you get to crack better jokes and sound smug and smart. This, as it turns out, it a very common behavior, so it’s not just me. There is nothing quite as fun as writing an evil, snarky critique." see full blog post:
When I first started my blog, that was my intention, to give reviews. As a writer, I decided I didn't want to dish out what I'd have a hard time taking. =D

Sarah M Eden said...

That is precisely my approach. If I LOVE a book, I'll shout about it. But, as a rule, I don't do book reviews. There are plenty of people who do and no author needs me adding to their over-consumption of chocolate.
Solidarity, sister!

Theresa Milstein said...

I feel the same. I don't want to mention a book unless I love it. One day I hope to be published, and seeing bad reviews will make me sad. I expect them because that's how it works, but I don't want to do it to others.

Old Kitty said...

Oh I always try to be very positive. I try to always think how that person might feel - I'd prefer to leave "proper" critiquing to the more qualified like a writing tutor (it's what they do!) or a published author or one of those critiquing services.

Take care

Aubrie said...

I agree with you. I only do positive reviews of the books I like. There's already enough negativity out there and I don't want to contribute to it!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

This is *hard* especially when you network and might know the person. If I can't give it a positive review (and it dosn't have to be perfect), I don't say anything. I try not to let people even know I was reading it.

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