Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why I Don't Review Books...

You would think with all the reading I do, that I would muse more about the books I read. But I just can't bring myself to actually review a book. I'll post the books I read on Goodreads and I'll give it stars. Once in a blue moon, I'll actually mention something about the book in the "review" section. Sometimes I mention something that I liked from a book I read here on the blog. That's about it.

There are two reasons why I don't review books.

1. Authors are people, too.

My mom always told me that if I can't say something nice, then I shouldn't say anything at all. I think that goes for books and their writers as well. As a writer and as a mother, I know how much writing is like gestation, birth, and raising children. Both are beautiful and excruciating experiences. A book, no matter how good or bad it is, is someone's child. So I try to treat books with as much care as I can. I might tell a friend or colleague or a student my personal opinion on a book, but I can't bring myself to review that book here on my blog or on Goodreads. I don't want an author to do a Google search of their name, stumble upon my blog with a review of their book, and then become distraught and never write again because of my opinion. My opinion just doesn't matter that much. Everyone should make their own opinions about what they read.

2. What if I'm wrong?

I also often wonder if I'm the only one who feels a certain way about a certain book, and I worry about what people might think about me if I LOVE a book they hated or vice versa. Honestly, I'd just rather have people judge me on what kind of person I am and not on my review of a book.

I like to read, and I'm going to continue reading for as long as my eyesight will allow me to do so(please, 80 more years or so!), but I probably won't be reviewing much of what I read in the near future. Unless, of course, I become a famous author and writers send me their ARCs to get a blurb on the back of their book. I might change my tune then...if I like the book.


Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Ditto. I've only ever reviewed one book, and that's because I loved it THAT much. I'll never do a bad review. I could totally be wrong. And I know that I could potentially dissuade someone from buying a book that they might have loved. I also recognize that as bloggers, our voices can seem really, really loud. As much as we might not want it to, our opinion matters to some people, maybe more than it should.

Like you, I also do Goodreads and star books, but I haven't reviewed any on there. I might someday, but you can guarantee it'll only be for books I love.

Great post!

Jeremy Robb said...

Hmm.. I think I would have to disagree. A review is the only way a writer is able to get a clear understanding of how their writing is being seen. In fact, a review from the public instead of a literary critic is more honest I would think, because they are real. This is how the public views the book, and how it is being accepted.

If you are wrong in the assumptions you make in the book, wouldn't that indicate the intentions of the writer were not clearly delivered? Hence it's an opportunity for the writer to improve on their approach, or make a decision on how they want to appeal.

That being said, it's important to understand that all criticism should be constructive.

KarenG said...

I agree with the nice part. Especially with unknown or debut authors. But if I read a book all the way through I can ALWAYS find something to praise about it. btw I sent you a friend request on Goodreads.

rbs said...

I list a mini-thought about the books I read on my Link2Literacy blog. Nothing too critical because taste in books varies like taste in men or women - who knows what a person/reader is looking for. BUT I also warn readers that there may be a little too much lust or language in a novel and if that offends them, consider staying away.

I recently copied and pasted my list on my new writing blog. Right after doing so, I saw a challenge to list influential books from WIFYR bloggers Ann Dee Ellis reviewed my list and deemed it "an interesting list." Not sure why, but I wonder.

Love your posts, Ms. Andria.

K.M. Weiland said...

I never realized how easy it is for authors to read random reviews on the Internet until I started reading reviews of my own books. It's always a happy-dance moment when I get to read someone's unexpected praise of my work. But, honestly, I appreciate the less-than-positive reviews as well. Readers have a right to their opinions, and they have a right to state their opinions. As an author, I realize that art, by its very nature, is hugely subjective. No matter how wonderful of a book I may write, not everyone is going to love it. And that's okay by me. It's just part of the game!