Here’s one problem that’s really gotten under my grille since I started the wonderful business of speed-reading and posting my book-related thoughts online: the problem of what to do when you read a book you don’t like.
What’s to do? Though I (like most of you, I imagine) will choose to read books that I have a fairly strong certainty that I’ll actually like, the list of what I do read is broad. Thrillers, sci-fi, fantasy, women’s literature… the list goes on and on. It’s an inevitability that, just as you’re going to come across a book that sets your world on fire, you’ll come across one that you simply don’t feel that enthusiastic about. And when you’ve been specifically asked to read a book, that can sometimes lead to a whole knot of thorny issues.
Though I know some people don’t, as a rule, I tend to post these reviews. For me, the most important thing to do when writing a book review is to know when to be tactful about what comments you’re making- and to be honest if you don’t like what you’ve read. After all, you can’t post rave reviews about every single book, and I tend to feel that it makes me sound a little like an echo chamber if I do. As long as it’s done sensitively (with buckets of tact), then where’s the harm in it- especially if people are here to look for advice?
One final point to add to the debate. I recently saw a Twitter post from a fellow blogger that said something along the lines of ‘Reviews are for readers. Feedback is for authors. There’s a difference!’ It’s so true. People read reviews to get a good idea of whether they’d like to read the book that you’re recommending, and the best thing to do is give your real thoughts on what it was like to read- though their tastes may differ entirely to yours, the pointers you give might help convince them to read it, or not.
I’m a book blogger, and while it’s amazing that authors get to read my thoughts on their work (99% positive, I swear!) the reviews that I post are a medium for me to share my thoughts and spread the love to other readers. While pleasing authors is a massive plus, should it be the main reason I write these posts?
What are your thoughts? Do you prefer honesty or sensitivity? I know there’s a lot of debate online about this, so it would be really interesting to hear what you think.