Thursday, September 27, 2012

All Finished and Favorable?

I closed a book in the middle for good today. I stopped at about Chapter 5 with no intention of ever finishing the book.

Which led me to introspection. A while ago, I read a blogger (I wish I remember who) writing that she never posts negative reviews, because she just doesn't read books she doesn't like. I thought - huh? How do you know before you read it if you're going to like it? Isn't that kind of the point of blogging - to let readers know which books you liked and which you didn't? Then I read on, and she said she just won't finish a book if she sees she's not liking it. So I reflected: Is that a good policy?

When I started blogging, I was committed to reviewing every book I read, and so I pushed through a couple of books that I knew I didn't like early on. But I was trapped in the part of my personality that wants everyone to like me and hates having anyone upset at me. So when I posted my first negative review, and the author commented on it, I sort of backpedaled and qualified the negativity. And after I read that blogger's comment, I felt doubly guilty for posting that review. But no, I meant it! I thought the book was not well written! But since then, I've posted several lukewarm or negative reviews, and I feel comfortable with that.

What I'm thinking is this: As a blogger, my job is to provide my readers with the means to make decisions about which books to pick up. If I dislike a book and therefore don't review it - well, how will my readers know that I didn't like it? (This is all assuming that my readers are discerning consumers who know how to tell when my opinion matches theirs, and when my opinion is based on factors that wouldn't affect their reading of the book.) With this particular book that I didn't even finish, no, I'm not going to mention it, because there really is no point in that much of a negative review. With that first negative review - I should have stopped reading the book when the language first started irking me  - which, oddly enough, was exactly the same problem with today's book that I didn't finish!

Basically, I feel that as a blogger, I have a responsibility to my readers. And in fact, as I started reading reviews from reputable places like Kirkus Reviews and Publisher's Weekly, I see that reviewers don't shy away from letting their readers know when they think a book is drivel - and they use that strong language sometimes! I try to be somewhat more polite than that.

The thing is, I think I respect authors too much - I feel crappy about giving bad reviews because I know how hard the authors must have worked. But when it comes down to it, bloggers serve a purpose, and if I don't fulfill that purpose, I may as well stop blogging.

What say you?

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