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How To Review A Book You Didn't Like

New Haircut KYM

BE COMPLETELY HONEST. Yes, it feels good to let everyone in the world know how you wasted your time reading this drivel. Too darn bad if that the author spent years writing the book and has received rave reviews from Kirkus and the New York Times. You know better than people who do this for a living. Be snarky, have fun, tell it like you see it.

PROBLEM WITH BEING COMPLETELY HONEST:

#1:  the longer you've been writing, the more writers you'll know personally, and the more people you will deeply offend, who will then, in turn, write crappy reviews for your books.

#2: Rants about boring books filled with backstory, or those where nothing happens except characters standing around talking, expose your shallow tendencies. People will find out you like to read mostly for entertainment instead of for discovering valuable, lifelong messages that you will incorporate into your life. If you want one of those messages, go read a Trader Joe's package or a Dove chocolate wrapper.

PROBLEM WITH NOT BEING COMPLETELY HONEST:

#1: People will think you have terrible taste in books OR....
#2:  The author will think you liked their book and ask you to buy books 2-5 in the series.

GOOD THING ABOUT NOT BEING COMPLETELY HONEST:

#1: You will keep your friends.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON'T LIKE THE BOOK BUT IT'S YOUR FRIEND?

Keep it on your "Want To Read" list for a veeerrrry looonnng time.

REVIEW THIS POST: Has this helped you decide how to write that review? Feel free to write your opinions below. Be honest if you didn't find it useful OR try out your skills at deception. Either way, thanks for stopping by!

http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/articles/arts/books/2013/02/SBR/ILLOS/1302_SBR_GIVEMEEVERYTHING_I.jpg.CROP.rectangle5-sectioncover.jpg

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
KathrynSparks
Feb. 13th, 2013 11:36 pm (UTC)
Book Reviews
Great post Kym! I found myself nodding along with a lot of your points! I personally don't mind leaving a comment or a review about a book I read as long as it's not an attack on the author. It never would be my intention to hurt their feelings or offend them in any manner. Sometimes I read the reviews already posted to see if anyone else mirrors my thoughts. I do agree it's a fine line to walk when it's someone you know. Loved your comment about keeping it on your reading list! :)
kymbrunner
Feb. 13th, 2013 11:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Book Reviews
I love reading the Goodreads reviews that gave it the same rating! I often find that we found the same things distasteful. It always confuses me when I give something a 2 (which, according to Goodreads means "it was okay"), and so many people gave it 5 stars. I guess it's just nature's way of saying "to each his own."
onegrapeshy
Feb. 14th, 2013 12:08 am (UTC)
"People will find out you like to read mostly for entertainment instead of for discovering valuable, lifelong messages that you will incorporate into your life."

Dammit! My secret is out!
kymbrunner
Feb. 14th, 2013 12:41 am (UTC)
LOL - mine too!
(Anonymous)
Feb. 16th, 2013 12:28 am (UTC)
Yes!
I completely agree with all of this.

Being a writer, I understand how painful it is to receive hurtful feedback. Also being a reviewer, I know the temptation to go all out when writing a rant review. But I hate to think that my completely negative review will be hurting the author's feelings.

What some reviewers forget is that there are writers behind these books they disliked. People who put years and hard work into their craft.

I believe that if we don't like a book, we should approach the review like we'd want someone to write a review for our books. Be honest, but be considerate. I know, reviewers don't owe the author anything, but it's a courtesy because honestly, who knows where you'll be as a reviewer a year from now? Also, whereas a book may be completely a "waste of time" for you, it might not be for other readers. A reviewer should touch on the positives and negatives of a book, not just rant on and on about the faults.

I loved reading this post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

kymbrunner
Feb. 16th, 2013 01:05 am (UTC)
Re: Yes!
Yes, there's a difference between pointing out what didn't work for you as a reader, and trashing the book completely. It's the difference between constructive criticism and an insult.

I think people (okay, me included) sometimes have a tendency to bash the bigger name authors if we didn't like their book because we figure they probably aren't reading our reviews anyway. But indeed, if they did, they might take our comments into consideration when writing their next book. I know I would. If 500 people said one of my characters was too whiny or unsympathetic, I'd be more cognizant of it the next time I developed a secondary character.

Thanks for stopping by!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )