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© Til We Read Again- Bobbie Seacrist. Powered by Blogger.
Saturday, December 11, 2010

Writing Bad Book Reviews


Author: Zohar – Man of la Book

As book bloggers we like to think we bring value to the table.  We like to read and write about our experience, all of us hoping that someone would take our opinions into consideration.  We always love to gash about the newest book we absolutely adored and felt as if we were part of the story.

But there are always those books which scare the neighbors breaking the sound barrier when we throw them against the wall.

How do you handle that? 
The old wisdom is that if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all.
But is that true? 
Don’t bad reviews have some value?

If we don’t write bad reviews are we actually doing a disservice to our followers?
I, for one, think we do.  After all, you took the time to read a bad book.

When not publishing a bad review, not just of a book but of anything, we actually give a hand to the marketing / hype machine which is trying to separate people from their hard earned money.  If a book is not good, and you know it’s bad, by not saying so you are actually performing a disservice.

Giving a bad review also doesn’t mean the reviewer has to trash the book – it’s a book that is simply not to one’s tasted, someone else might think it was a life changing book, for example I couldn’t finish “Eat, Pray, Love” .  I tried to write a thoughtful, well reasoned review of why I didn’t like the book – as well as point out some of the good qualities of the memoir (“well written”).

Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist Richard Ford said that it takes just as much effort to write a bad book as it does a good book.  That is indeed a disheartening statement, after all no one sets out to write a bad book (or make a bad movie, etc.).   I feel that it’s important to discern what was so bad about a book, after all the writer can still write good books.  Was the plot bad? Was the book badly written? Was the prose annoying, the narrative disjointed?  Was the expectation too high (for example, if the book is considered a “classic”)?

The bad review shouldn’t be a hatchet job, even though some take pleasure in doing so.  An author took weeks, months, years to write a book which you didn’t like – we must keep that in mind.  The review, good or bad, should be able to discuss the strongest and weakest points of the book in order to merit some credence.

On a last note, bad reviews are necessarily a bad thing.
Obviously whoever reviewed the book felt passionately about it and people will talk.  The author can also understand how people will read their work, maybe they didn’t convey the message properly.  As all of us who write emails on a regular basis know, it is mighty difficult to convey tone thru writing.
That kind of honesty, in my opinion, is priceless.

Finally, thank you for Bobbie for allowing me the honor of guest blogging in her domain.

Zohar – Man of la Book


Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Saw the tweet on this and wanted to stop by -- I agree wholeheartedly -- reviewing a book should be open and honest without needing to rip apart the author or the book in a hurtful way. Great post!



About Me

A Book lover that works for artists during the day and reads by night. I love to do book reviews and am always looking for new books to read!
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I am willing to do guest posts and ARC reviews. Please email me if you would like to discuss. Til We Read Again:)


Bobbie's to-read book montage

My Name is Mary Sutter
Grace Under Pressure
A Hopeful Heart
Two Guys Read Jane Austen
The Opposite of Me
Jane Austen Ruined My Life
Small Island
In Search of the Kite Runner
The Time Traveler's Wife
Dark Places
Spooky Little Girl
The Wrong Mother: A Novel
The Liars' Club
Swallow the Ocean: A Memoir
Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter
The Glass Castle
The Years Before Anne: The Early Career of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Author of "Anne of Green Gables"
Before Green Gables
Every Secret Thing
In a Strange City

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