So, I read a lot of lit blogs. blogs by authors, blogs by publishers, blogs by people who love books, librarians talking about their books, you get the drift.
Many times, everyone else reads the same blogs, so a series of fascinating discussions starts to take place on each blog (See: Justine Larbalestier’s blog-spiral regarding the cover of her new book “Liar,” and its following discussions.)
My current favorite one is about reviewing books. Shannon Hale (author of The Princess Academy, among others) kicked it all off with a fascinating analysis of what differentiates book reviews (including blogs). John Green (author of Paper Towns and my personal hero) continues the discussion from his semi-unique perspective as an author and former book reviewer.
If you did happen to read those discussions, I would like to add that both Hale and Green make fantastic points. It was actually a conversation a coworker and I were having the other day about recommending books to people who aren’t really “book people.” We both agreed that it’s really hard for us to say “This book was perfect with no flaws” or “This book had absolutely no redeeming qualities.” There’s always a “But.”
When I review books, both in this blog and in person, my tendency is to champion the book. This goes back to 3 things: 1. the fact I usually have an incredible respect for the author 2. My personal preference may be different from yours and I don’t want my biases to make you not pick the book up 3. I want people to read – even if it’s a book I didn’t particularly care for.
Hale mentions in her post that discussions of the book are far more interesting that just saying whether you liked it or not. And I have to agree that it is true. But you have to be careful if you’re reviewing the book to not give away spoilers. Sure, you can place a million spoiler warnings in front of everything, but that defeats the purpose of the review. Plus, sometimes the redeeming qualities of the book are hidden beneath these spoiler warnings…it just gets tricky is what I’m trying to say.
it is a fascinating look at the topic though. I can tell you that reviewing books, for myself, is something i do because it’s fun. When you work at a bookstore, you make many recommendations, so reviewing just is part of the job (which is probably why I don’t think i read books any different if I know I’m going to review them). And usually, customers want to know whether you liked it or not. end of story. this blog was my chance to open that up a bit and explain the “buts” in my review with more detail.
this post ended up a lot longer than i had intended originally, but i thought it might interest some people!
have a good weekend everyone!