Monday, January 7, 2008

As A Reviewer...

...you take risks. It is very easy to become the most popular person on the planet, and just as easy to become the most despised...all on how you review a book.

In the last few weeks, I've received two emails about reviews I posted many months ago. Both took me to task on my not so positive review. I went back and re-read both reviews in question.

Now, I'm very careful to do two things when I write: 1) I never attack the author or his/her faith in Christ; and 2) I never attack the reader who might absolutely adore a book I myself do not care for or enjoy.

I try very hard to do this because it isn't about PEOPLE, it's about books. And if I don't care for a particular book, that doesn't mean it's terrible--it simply means that I don't care for it. The nice thing about that is, I'm just me. Not a whole host of people...but just me.

So, if I review a book and you disagree with me, that's fine. I'll probably disagree with you a time or two as well. We're all entitled to our opinion, and isn't that great??

But do NOT make it personal with me if you disagree. I am also entitled to MY opinion, and this is MY review blog, where I post MY reviews as I see them. I will do my best to ALWAYS say "don't just take my word for it; read other reviews" and if I know of one, I'll link to it.

Remember this, dear readers: they are just books. They are pieces of writing of different calibers and different genres by different people at different stages and from different walks of life. And I'm not going to like every single book I read, for different reasons and I must be honest in my reviews, or I must stop reviewing.

If I see a note of caution is warranted, I'll put one, but I'll always tell you why, and feel free to ignore it. Feel free to tell others I'm in error. But attack me, and I'll ask you not to read here anymore.

I love all of my authors, whether I love their books or not. Rarely do I find a real, true stinker of a read. Usually, even if I don't enjoy a particular book, I'll still go back to the author's well for more, just in case I find a gem of a read. We all deserve another chance, even with books.

So, feel free to email me. Feel free to disagree with me. But do NOT tell me I'm stupid, ignorant, need to read it again, or a poor excuse for a believer if that's what I'm going to say about that ______________. That's not right, and I will never do it to you, to the best of my ability.

I will tell you what I think, do my best to back it up, and then let you decide. And I will do it all in love and in humble opinion and honesty. Or I won't do it at all.

Happy Reading,

Deena

9 comments:

windycindy said...

I most definitely agree with you. People can give their opinions without being ugly about it! Cindi

Barbara H. said...

Deena, I think you do a wonderful job. Your readers should understand no one is going to like everything about every book they read. If every review was glowing and flattering, they wouldn't ring true.

There is a quote from a blog post about writing quality book reviews (http://swbtsbloggers.wordpress.com/2007/08/20/jim-hamilton-on-writing-quality-book-reviews-an-interview/) that has helped me a lot:

"Sometimes people in our culture are so fixated on being nice that they won’t tell the truth. If a book is bad, we should find a way to lovingly, appropriately say so in a godly way. If we refuse to tell the truth, we’re not honoring the Lord and the people reading the review won’t be well served."

Barbara H. @ Stray Thoughts

Brittanie said...

AMEN! I love you and your reviews. Please do not stop :)

samantha.1020 said...

How sad that you even had to post about something like that...anyone reading someone else's blog(yours for example) should be respectful enough to respect your opinion because that is what it is!! Keep on reviewing!!! :)

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings said...

Well said Deena!!

I know what you are going through. I received a "note" from an author though about my review... which was not rude, etc... just gave my review... he didn't like it.. but didn't come straight to me.. went to the person that he went through for me to review the book. That even made her mad (not at me) but at him.

Did I let it get me down? Nope. I am a book reviewer... I give MY reviews, MY opinions. Not everyone is going to agree.

So you hang in there and keep on writing those wonderfully, honest reviews!

Laura

Kim said...

A-men, Deena!

This will be my first full year of reviews, and there are some I don't like. That's what reviewers do, is it not? We give our opinions about what we read!

You do a terrific job, and I admire this post a great deal!

Kim

ForstRose said...

Deena,

I agree with you we do take a risk reviewing books. But if we can't be honest in what we think of what we read what service are we providing our readers. If they are reading us they are likely looking for a good read and the regulars are just that because they trust our reviews. Thank you Deena for what you do. As a fellow reader and reviewer I appreciate what you do because I am also looking for more good books to read and your reviews also help me to rearrange the TBR piles ocassionally when I'm not sure which book to grab next.

I also agree with Samantha that we should be respectful of those whose work we are reading and their opinions. No one has exactly the same tastes as another person because God intentionally made us unique.

And Barbara yes there is usually a way to lovingly share the truth, or in the case of reviews - our opinion, and still be respectful of those who diagree as well as the author whose work we are reviewing.

Geralyn Beauchamp said...

Good job Deena! As a reader, and one with little time to read, I have to be selective now a days and am now "reviewer" dependent! As a reviewer, there are books I've reviewed I didn't care for, not becuase the book was bad, but it just wasn't my thing. As a writer, reviews are the bridge that get our books into the hands of readers. I just read part of a review for my own book pointing out things that I didn't even catch while writing it! Good eye, reviewer! Now I can fix something I totally missed while writing the book! Even the editor missed it! At any rate, thank you for allllll you do Deena and the rest of you that review! You all do a great job and are much appreciated!

Karen said...

Very well said, and so very true!