Thursday, November 20, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Honesty

Suggested by JM:

I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.

Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?

I have always been the type of person that avoids confrontation and worries about hurting people's feelings and it's no different with reviewing books. Just because I'm a wuss, that doesn't mean that I would ever lie or say I loved a book that I did not. I just try and choose the kindest words to say what I mean. 

Like many of you, if a book is really horrid I just won't finish it, luckily that's not usually the case. So that means if I do finish a book there was something I liked about it and that's what I will try and focus on in the review. If things bug me about a book I will also talk about them, but try and say it in the most respectful way. I've recently added a rating to my reviews to kind of help put them on a scale a bit more. I obviously felt more connected to a book that was a 5 than a book that was a 4 but that doesn't always mean there was something specifically wrong with the 4. Books that are 3 I still liked but had some problems with and so on and so forth. 

I don't have a disclaimer (or even any sort of note saying i accept review copies- even though i do sometimes) but with all these stories recently of people having troubles with authors I'm getting sort of paranoid. The bright side of all of this is I think these types of situations are bringing the blogging community together and can only make use stronger.

What's your take on this question?


  1. I like your policy of being honest but also striving to be kind, respectful, and focused on the positive. Hopefully, if you support your opinion with evidence from the text in your review, then the author will have a better chance of understanding where you are coming from and will be less likely to take offense to the things you say.

  2. I think we review similarly - I try to find something positive and say negative things gently.

  3. With honesty comes the responsibility of politeness.

    I write poetry. I like critiques but a few are so rude and they don't even state reasons of trashing it. Well, that used to hurt me initially. Now I take a more clinial view. I try to see my poetry in different light and I improve upon it.

    Read my BTT post!

  4. I agree with you very much. I'm an optimist and often see things from the positive side (compared to other people around me) and so I do review in a more positive way as well.
    But you are right, there are sometimes parts or things in a book that I like less (everyone has different tastes) when that's the case I try to bring that in a polite way. A writer did do his/her best job and it's kind of his/her child so it is important to him/her. Who am I to judge after all?
    Interesting topic!

  5. Anonymous10:11 PM

    I love your attitude! Really wish more of us would take after you example.

  6. Charley- Yeah I hope that is true. Some things just don't work for everyone so it's nice to explain exactly what you didn't like so other people can sort of gage if it would bother them as well!

    S. Krishna- I agree, there is no reason we can't be nice about it all!

    gautami tripathy- I agree. I went to school for art so we had crits all the time, people would say the craziest things sometimes. It's was good though because it gave you something to think about, much better than hearing it was perfect!

    cessie- I definitely agree with you!

    J. Kaye- Aww you are too kind!


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