As one who writers a regular book review column I hear versions of that expression more often than I’d like. On March 30th I posted a link to a site where an author rants in anger over a bad review. As a writer I understand why these things happen. The words we put on paper are more than symbols on the page. They represent our creative thought. They are the outward expression of an inner need to be heard. They are the means by which we earn our livelihood. We love them as we love our children. Even when they are far from perfect and in need of correction we want them treated with dignity and respect, and any discipline required should be ours to administer. I get that and I concur. Most of the time.
It is never my intention to write a negative review. I love books. I love writers. Before turning to the opening page of a new book I polish my reading glasses, making sure to remove even the tiniest finger mark or smudge, then I brew a large cup of tea or hot chocolate and curl up in my favorite chair. The one with perfect lighting no matter what the time of day. If you could see me you’d notice the smile that appears as I wiggle my rear in happy anticipation. You may even remark on the similarity between me and a cat wearing a thick, cream mustache.
Most of the time I close the book with a sigh of satisfaction. When I go to my office to write the review I have stars in my eyes. Rating stars that is. * = Good; ** = Very Good; *** = Recommended; **** = Reviewer‘s Choice
You can see from the above designations that my intentions are good. The title of my column is By the Book. The way I see it, my job is to encourage people to read and most of the time it works out just that way. In the three years I’ve been reviewing books I’ve written only a handful of negative reviews. The most controversial of them being my review of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I stated that it’s a poorly written book that sends a bad message to young women about relationships. If you’d like to read the entire review let me know and I’ll post it on the blog.
Despite the fact that fans around the world love it and in spite of the movie deals, etc. I stand by my original assessment. I know the author doesn’t give a whit what I think. She’s a huge a success in her field. However, we both know that the best books are not necessarily the biggest sellers. Proof of that is the book It’s a Shore Thing by best-selling author Snooki , star of the Jersey Shore TV series. My review of this book is usually concise. Here it is: OMG! WTF!
Another book I panned was a relationship book written by a minister who refers to his wife as Good Thing. Talk about sexist, misogynistic crap. This book is very bad. (It’s the Woman God Gave Me by Shon Hynemon)
The last one I’ll mentoin here has no business being in print. Every sentence is so full of commas it’s almost impossible to read making it a prime example of why self published books get no respect. I urge this author to find an editor and do it fast. (The Lycan Journal by Chad Long)
In cases like these it’s my job to warn people away. And I do it knowing that again I’ll hear the words, I Hate Book Reviews. I continue to write my column because I know that for every bad book I come across there are thousands more waiting to be enjoyed in my comfy chair with the perfect lighting as I smile in anticipation of the joy another writer will feel when seeing four stars awarded to his or her book. So while some may hate them the truth is, I Love Book Reviews.
- Call for Book Reviewers and Bloggers (Announcements) (popmatters.com)
- Book reviews & reviewers: deciding which reviews to trust (teleread.com)
- Self-Pub Author Tells Readers To “F*** Off!” (or, How NOT to Respond to Reviews) (blogworld.com)
- On Reviewing Authors’ Books (selfpubauthors.wordpress.com)