June 14, 2012

Book review policies

A very strange tweet caught my attention this morning.  "Later today I'll be doing an honest review of such-and-such book on my blog. Tune in to see what I think."  More or less. I'm paraphrasing. 

I read it, made a face, and wondered: Why would you ever write a dishonest review of a book on your blog?

I'm guessing, in this case, that the writer plans to give a negative opinion about the book. I feel like sometimes negativity gets more "honesty" weight. Like, maybe, if a writer is positive in a review, they could just be "being nice."

That made me feel like I should say a quick word about my reviews on this blog, all of which are always my honest opinion.

Here goes.

I don't do super-negative reviews on this blog. I don't write them, I don't like them. Who am I to tear another writer to shreds? They put a lot of hard work into their books; I don't need to disparage them here.

So what do I do if I read something and don't love it?

I...don't review it. I'd rather fill this blog with my recommendations for what TO read and/or watch than to write snarky comments about books I don't like.

So much of this reading/writing/blogging business is purely subjective. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean it's not good. And I read and watch a LOT more than what gets written about on this blog, because I only write about something if it excites me.

So if you feel like my reviews are all pretty positive and glowy, well, that's probably because they are. But just remember: for every book I review, there are probably four or five that I don't.

Please know: I am nothing on this blog if not honest.


Anonymous said...

Lovely. Especially: "Just because I don't like something doesn't mean it's not good." I feel exactly the same way about music. There's enough space in this world for everyone's creations. And they are all precious and worthwhile.

I really appreciate your perspective on this!

Leah said...

Thanks so much for commenting - I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way! :)

Lily said...

Hm. I think there's a difference between a negative (or should we say, a non-glowy) review and one that tears a writer to shreds. And I think well-written, non-glowy reviews have their place.

You said "just because I don't like something doesn't mean it's not good." The flip side of that is: not everything is for everyone. If you can nicely, fairly explain why you think a book didn't grab YOU, particularly, that can be useful information to other people who are considering picking up the book. A reader makes a significant time commitment when she picks up a book (and usually spends a bit of money, too). Reviews should help match books and readers, I think.

I 100% understand not reviewing books you didn't absolutely love here on your blog, but--out of curiosity--would you ever post a less positive review on Amazon or the like? If you thought it would be helpful?

Leah said...

So...I don't mind pointing out areas I feel need work or don't necessarily work for me. I'm more concerned with the overall nasties.

So sure, if I felt like I had something constructive, I'd consider it. I'm not all rainbows and sunshine all the time.

But I'd rather support writers, not tear them down or discourage people from buying their books.

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