This is the second in a series of occasional posts about the process of writing reviews. Last time, I talked about writing really positive reviews and what issues come up when reviewing books that turned me into a babbling fangirl. This, naturally, leads to a discussion of the opposite side of the coin; reviewing books that, for all intents and purposes, made my eyes bleed.
Writing negative reviews is kind of a pink elephant in the room for a lot of people. I think as reviewers we all know that there are going to be books out there that we read and do not enjoy, but we're kind of stuck as to how to communicate that to other people. I completely admit, if a book is really hand-to-God awful, chances are I don't finish it. Depending on where I am in the book when I decide that it sucks on toast, I sometimes do push myself to finish it for the purposes of writing a review. I don't review books I haven't finished as I don't feel like it's cool to comment on something if I haven't at least finished it.
With that said, if I really disliked a book, I don't pull any punches. I share what I feel about the book in question and I don't apologize for my position. Everyone is different and everyone has their own opinions; if you don't like mine, that is totally within your rights. I don't go out of my way to be mean in my reviews but every once in awhile, something gets far enough under my skin to really incite some rioting on my part.
There are people out there who won't review books if they feel they have to write a negative review. That is certainly their prerogative and they can run their blogs/review outlets any way they want to, but personally I feel like that is doing a disservice to your blog audience and to you personally. If you invested time and/or money into acquiring and reading a book (I know most of the books I review are still books I bought at some point,) you are qualified to post whatever kind of review you deem appropriate. Bear in mind, the time you spent reading a book that wasn't, shall we say, up to par, is time that you could not spend reading a book that you did enjoy. Opportunity cost is very real.
The point of my story is this: be honest in your reviews. Be brutally honest if need be, if the situation calls for that. You don't have to be rude to individuals or call a specific person out on the carpet to get your point across that a book is terrible. You also don't have to sugar coat things; at the end of the day, I believe people value authenticity, and if your feelings are authentic they will shine through in your writing.
Welcome to WBiT!
Hi everyone! This blog is updated occasionally as the need to talk about awesome books strikes me. Check back to see if there's anything new- or use the subscription options and never miss a post! See you around in 2013!