Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do you review books you don't like?

In my quest to be a better reader and review more books, I (of course) immediately hit a snag. The book I just finished reading? I didn't like it...

And it wasn't an 'it was okay, just not the best' kind of dislike--I really, really didn't like it. The only reason I finished it was because I bought it, and thought I should finish. Like when you buy those store-brand ginger snaps, and you eat them in spite of their sucky-ness.

I decided not to review the book, since it could be just me. And as an author, I know how much those bad reviews can sting.

How about you, YA Sleutheri? Do you review books you don't like?

9 comments:

  1. If I absolutely cannot stand a book and the author is someone who is trying to build an audience, I try not to say anything. Perhaps I'm just not the audience.

    However, if it's a classic or a bestseller or an up-and-comer that's already drawing a lot of attention, then what I say is part of a larger conversation and I feel free to give my opinion, good or bad.

    But I never say I love a book when I don't. I just don't want to compromise my own integrity that way.

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  2. I've been able to be subtle about a book's failures if I'm reviewing the book for a job. But yeah, I couldn't honestly review this one saying it's good, and feel good about myself...

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  3. Fleur, I have often thought about this. I do review books I didn't like but then rarely do I not like a book. I always find a redeeming feature in all the books that I read. Frankly, I hate panning a book.

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  4. Me too, Prashant. I know how hard an author has to work to see that book to print...

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  5. Yup, I do, although usually unintentionally. I don't go on the lookout for bad books, but I do think giving (appropriately) negative reviews is a sign of impartiality for reviewers.

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  6. I am really tempted right now to give Ruth Rendell's new book a bad review. It was horrible. And certainly she can take it. But really what would the point be. The thing that irked me most was Stassio on the NYT praised it and she's the only I am upset with since I bought it.

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  7. Mine was a blockbuster author like that, Patti. The whole time I was reading, I wondered: who edited this thing?? How does that happen?

    I think you're right Loren: all glowing reviews makes you look like a phony...

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  8. That's a tough one because I really feel authors benefit from constructive criticism. I know I do. However, as an author myself I know that bad reviews can not only sting, but discourage others from buying the book. If it is strictly my own bias/taste as a reader that keeps me from enjoying a book, I probably wouldn't review it. If I know the author, I'll ask if they want my private comments and offer not to post the review. If none of the above are an issue and the book is just terrible - truly an abomination - or simply not ready for publication (as is sometimes the case with Indie books that have been hastily assembled), I will usually post an honest, hopefully helpful, and never snarky review.

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  9. This is true: we all want to get better as authors (I know I do :-). You bring up a good point talking about Indie books that are just not ready yet; that's a whole different ballgame...

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