R is for Reviews

I really enjoyed Stacia Kane’s blog post entitled “Reviews are for Readers.”

I agree. I personally don’t write reviews, positive or negative, because I want writers to do what I want them to or because I imagine I have any right to take a red pen to someone’s published work. I write reviews because I want to share what I thought with other readers.

In a review, I can only speak to my reading experience and give suggestions based on that. I cannot guarantee that a book I love will be loved by everyone. I can only hope that it will since whatever book I love is usually what everyone I know gets for Christmas. I also think it’s awesome when people feel differently about the same book. Even if I don’t like something, I don’t think that means everyone else should dislike it too.

Of course, being careful when reviewing can be hard when books are lame or disappointing. Very hard in some cases since I’ve read a lot of annoying books in recent months. But if a book makes me angry, I try to focus my ire on the book, specifically on the fictional characters, plot elements, and the world, not on the author’s moral fiber.

Keeping that in mind, I make a point of going over posts for things I might regret or things that are not really fair of me to expect from a book. If I do mention the author it is in regards to their writing style or choices they made in terms of the book I’m reviewing. And that’s really all I feel that I can do. I can’t judge an author on anything else but what a book gives me.

Of course, after reading Stacia Kane’s post, I find myself worrying that I will hurt an author’s feelings without even intending to. I don’t think I have yet though. I hope I haven’t anyway.

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About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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2 Responses to R is for Reviews

  1. Stacia Kane says:

    Hi, hope you don’t mind me following your link-back and commenting. FWIW, I don’t think you should worry about hurting an author’s feelings. Like I said, reviews are for readers. And to be perfectly honest, any review that isn’t positive may well hurt our feelings, you know? It may not *upset* us or anything, but no matter what there’s going to be kind of a “oh…okay, well, darn…” kind of feeling, if you know what I mean? It’s disappointing, that’s what I’m trying to say. And some people get hurt when they’re disappointed. Criticism of anything you do can hurt. Even when it’s just about the book, even when you don’t mean it to (and I believe most readers/reviewers don’t). Writers are just like any other person; we have sensitive spots, we have off days where something that normally wouldn’t bother us does bother us, we have our little weaknesses and vanities, all of that stuff. That’s just being human, really.

    But that’s not your problem, and you don’t need to censor yourself because of that. You’re writing reviews for other readers, and you have every right to do that. You can’t control how we might feel about your opinion. So don’t worry about it. 🙂

    • That’s totally fine. Hello!

      Very true. There’s so much emotional stuff going on with books and reading and writing on both sides. Besides, writing is deeply personal no matter what. I tend to read more than I write, but writing even on an amateur level it’s hard to share writing so I really admire anyone who puts themselves out there and deal with even worse flack than the occasional lukewarm observation of a friend.

      And yeah it’s probably impossible to even avoid causing hurt regardless of best intentions. I can’t know how even a small word of criticism or what-have-you might affect anyone else. Still, if I can avoid being a complete tool on the internet, I think I’ll be happy enough.

      Thank you for your comment! 🙂

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