Thursday, January 7, 2016

To Review Or Not To Review...


I don't often write editorial posts, but today I feel the need. Yesterday I received notification that a book I requested for review was approved and I swiftly clicked to add that book to my reading device. Normally, as soon as I download a book but before I begin to read it, I always add it to my Goodreads "currently reading" shelf. As a rule, I use Goodreads to track my reading. I use it for my personal reading challenge and I post the reviews for the books I have enjoyed. After adding said book, I just happened to peruse the reviews already posted, which actually surprised me since this title just went up two days ago. Of course there are people who read as fast as I do, so I really shouldn't be surprised. I was actually more amazed at the length and appearance of this review filled with gifs and scathing criticism for the book.


I shook my head for a moment and then did the one thing I shouldn't have done, I clicked on the reviewer's name to see more of her reviews. Big mistake, Kimmie. The more reviews I read, the more angry I became, because the diatribe from this reviewer leaves me wondering why it is so important for this person or any reviewer to not only dissect the book with their own skewed emotions, but also make a spectacle with annoying gifs that take away from the matter at hand. Maybe it's because I am a forty-seven year old woman who has a lot of life experience, if not reading experience, but I do think that reviews of this sort detract from the true essence of the books. 
Each author puts their heart and soul into each word written on a page, or at least I hope they do. What is the point of tearing that author's work apart? For enjoyment? For popularity? I will never claim to be a professional reviewer. When I do review what I read, I do try to find the good in the work as a whole. Yes, there have been times that I have read book I did not enjoy, but what I didn't enjoy, maybe someone else loved. Opinions are a dime a dozen, which is why I really only write the reviews for me. If you happen to read and enjoy the review, great... If you disagree with the review, that's fine. We all have different taste, but that aside, I do think it's a responsibility to yes, be honest, but to be honorable as well. When I read reviews from respected publications, I never see the attacks that are spouted in some of the online reviews I have read on Goodreads in particular. This site is a double edged sword which leaves me wondering if these particular reviewers feel the need for attention and a following to agree with all they say. In addition, why do most of these reviewers feel the need to be anonymous? Why not put your name behind what you review? 
Trust me, there have been times when I have read a book and come away with either a bad taste in my mouth, or shaking my head in denial at what I just read. I don't however feel the need to write an essay about it. If the author was expecting a review, I email them privately and apologize for not posting a review for their book, but it wasn't my cup of tea. I try to say a few words why it wasn't for me and leave it at that. I am no saint, I just understand the effort that goes into the book and appreciate the author's attempt to make the reader see their vision. Sometimes it falls short, and that's okay. Not every single book is a masterpiece to us, but it is a part of the person who wrote it and I, because of whatever personal reason,never feel the need to disparage that part of them.
I have spoken to many reviewers who enjoy reading these scathing reviews because it makes them go out and grab that book to see what the fuss is about and formulate their own opinions. Now with particular book that spurned this whole issue, I have devoured the words on the page and enjoyed every bit. Yes, when it comes time to review, I will say that. 
In closing, I actually challenge any of these reviewers to try their hand at writing and then ask someone's opinion of it. If any of you  ever wonder, yes, I actually have been writing since my teens, but no one will probably ever read a word of it because I write for me and because I don't think that what I have written will be anywhere as eloquent or as awesome as some of my favorite authors. And so I leave the storytelling to them. Clearly these are all my opionions and I am sure there will be debate. I still am left wondering why we all just can't see the good.

~Kimberly~
Feel free to question or comment. Thanks for reading. 


10 comments:

  1. Very well put Kim. I agree that we don't all like the same books or even same genre, but we don't have to beat up on an author because we didn't like what they wrote. Everyone has different taste and interpret things differently, so we may read the same thing but have different opinions.

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    1. Thanks Cindy.... It's been building for a while :)

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  2. It's easy to be a hater when no one can see your face. Really enjoyed this.

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  3. I never leave less than a 3 star review. If I don't like the book, as you say I may tell the author personally, if I had been asked to review the book, if not, I just don't leave a review. I agree completely with what you said. There is no need to bash someones hard work. Not every book is for everyone. What I love, you might hate, but I always look for what WAS good in the book. I will mention what I didn't like, but in a polite and respectable way, and always stating it is MY opinion only. And I hate anonymous reviews! I am an author and I still put my name on my reviews. If I'm gonna say it, I'm gonna own up to saying it! I was a reviewer for Sizzling Hot reviews for 2 years before I became a author and I never bashed an author. Reviewers who do that are pariah in my opinion, out for nothing but negative recognition. I am a voracious reader and couldn't make it through the day without the works of my fellow authors. Kudos to you all!

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    1. Tamara, thanks for commenting! I totally agree

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  4. I've only ever left one negative review and that was because the author didn't disclose the type of book it was. I read anything from sweet to smut but this book contained vile acts against a woman which should have been disclosed in the book blurb. Even though my review was negative I did mention that I enjoyed works by this writer under a different pen name.

    After that experience I made a personal decision to not leave any review if I don't like a book. Instead I contact the author and let them know why. Reading tastes are so subjective - much like watching a movie. Sometimes the mood I'm in will greatly influence my reaction to a book and if it's negative, that is not necessarily the fault of the author.

    Great post, Kim!

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  5. I feel the same as you, Kim. And, although I am not stellar at writing reviews, I do it just to let people know that it's a book I enjoyed and they might as well. *Hugs*

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  6. Great blog Kim, I can never understand in ripping apart a book. I read a review were the reviewer gave the book a lower rating because she did not like the heroines name...come to find out that was the author's grandmother name.

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  7. Kim,

    May I post this on my blog?

    Jenni

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