02 May 2015

My Book Reviewing Philosophy

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I read Kaja’s post a couple of weeks back on Un-Recommending Books and it got me thinking about how blogger reviews can influence people’s buying and reading choices. I certainly don’t consider myself an influential blogger, but I do realise the things I write about books may influence a few in what they read. It’s something I like when it comes to reviewing and talking about the books I’ve enjoyed, but it certainly isn’t something I think about when it comes to the books I dislike.

I’ve begun to try to avoid reviewing books I didn’t enjoy on my blog, it is a more recent decision that developed after I reviewed Make It Count on my blog and said some negative things about the book in my review and found people saying they might give it a miss. The realisation that I had influenced others and stopped them from reading a book was a shock to me. Never before had people stated they wouldn’t read a book from what I’d said, but then I do it all the time. I take recommendations very seriously and I care what other’s think about books, be it good or bad, to help me consider what to read.

It is a very serious thing to realise your opinions can influence others, and when I reached that realisation I decided it was best to be a bit more responsible with my reviews. I’m not talking about a Spiderman ’with great power comes great responsibility’ kind of deal, I don’t believe I have that much power, and it’s not that much of a responsibility, I just decided I’d rather not project too many of the negative things out in the world.  It’s not that I don’t think bad things about books, and I do feel the best kind of review does acknowledge the flaws, but as one of the quotes I featured in my Top Ten Tuesday states, it is often easier to speak about what we dislike than what we like. I would rather write about what I’ve enjoyed, regardless of how ineloquent I may be about it, than write a lot of negative things about a book. It’s not that I won’t feature them on my Bite Sized Books posts, but it’s more I will not write a dedicated review for books I disliked. I don’t want to discourage others from reading something without giving them the chance to read it first. Sure, they may stroll across another review somewhere else and be influenced by that, but I don’t want to be the person to do it.

If you ever met me you would think this unwillingness to say negative things laughable. I am an extremely negative person. I complain constantly and I am negative about everything. I am a hardcore pessimist. I joke that if I’m not complaining about something that’s when you know something is wrong. So, by not saying the bad things is a bit of a strange concept for me to adopt, but I can try and have a positive aspect about something at least. It’s like you get taught as a child… ‘f you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’, does that mean some books are going to get missed? Maybe, I think Bite-Sexed Books is my perfect feature for books that I don’t have as much to say about, be it good or bad, that is my spot for those books.

This may be a ridiculous idea to adopt on my blog, but I have seen similar approaches elsewhere and this is my official announcement of adopting this. I will no longer post dedicated negative reviews. I will use whatever bookish influence I have for good only. What do you think, is this a ridiculous and unnecessary venture? Or, do you have a similar view on reviews? I’d love to hear your thoughts on reviews, because I know everyone has their own opinion on tings like this.

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