Can a Book Review Be Called a Review if it Isn’t Critical?
Writer and blogger Nina Badzin (check out her blog if you haven’t already…every post is like talking with a friend over cup of coffee–she’s the shtick, ba da bum) brought up a good point in her comment on one of my latest blog posts. She said that as new writers it is hard to be honest in reviews, in which I totally agree. Our personal knowledge of the author and/or the writing process will skew (screw?) us every time. But I will tell you, I have read books that I didn’t connect with by authors I have been acquainted with and I have had to let those float away without saying a word. I don’t want to hurt any feelings but just because I didn’t enjoy it doesn’t mean someone else won’t. To express my true feelings would not only hurt our friendship but also ruin another reader’s chance at making their own opinion.
When I do enjoy a book by someone I know, it is almost impossible to be unbiased. I wrote a post about this a while back but Nina’s comment made me stop and think about reviews vs. recommendations again. If a friend sends me a galley, I am going to do what I can to help. Whether it be an interview, a book recommendation, a giveaway, or guest post, I try to help do my part as a friend. But reading books by people I know is bittersweet. I crack their books with my fingers crossed. God, how I wish I loved all of them. One thing you can hold as true, that if it appears on my blog, I endorse it.
A good book review requires critical analysis, so by definition, that disqualifies my reviews as really “reviews”. Karma’s a bitch and I want to be a published author someday. I’m not stupid. If I don’t like the book, then my silence can speak for itself. If I was getting paid to write reviews, then that would be completely different. I would be obligated to be critical and provide the bad with the good. But do I want to really go down that road?
So what do I do? Unless I’m writing reviews for money (which I don’t see happening any time soon), I guess I should label my posts as book recommendations. I had bounced back and forth in the past between using review vs. recommendation in some of my posts and used “review” more as of late. I guess it made me feel more high-falootin’ or something.
My point here is you can take them for what they are worth considering the source. I’m just a friend letting you know what book I think you should read next instead of 50 Shades of Grey. *smirk*
What are your thoughts?
- Do you believe all reviews should be critical, providing the bad with the good?
- Does “book review” vs. “book recommendation” mean different things to you?
- What do you like to read in a book review? Less summary, more opinion? Less opinion, more persuasion?
- What do you think when you read reviews that give the bad with the good? “What an asshat!” or ”Glad I read this before I wasted my time (and money) on this one.”?