Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Writing Book Reviews

An interesting thread opened on one of my online writing groups this morning. People were giving their opinions and advice on how best to write book reviews when the book in question is either nothing special or a real stinker.

Everybody who writes reviews, myself included, loves to read a compelling book and then have the opportunity to tell others why we think it's a worthwhile read. But as often as not we are asked to review a book that is poorly written, boring, or simply rambles on with no clear direction. Many of the writers chiming in today said they have no issues with writing a scathing review. Some reviewers take the time to contact the author and let them decide whether they want a bad review or nothing at all. (Surprisingly, to me anyway, many writers prefer a bad review rather than no review.)

For me, it's a bit of a toss up. I will not write a review that completely dishes a book. If I found enough positives that I can give a balanced review, pointing out as many positives as negatives, then I will write the review, regardless of what the author wants. But if there were no positives, and I've read several books that fell into that category, then I will simply not write a review.

It's more of a personal thing. I don't like writing negative reviews. Also, I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a bad review, and I have no wish to cause a writer that anguish.

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