I’ve been an avid reader since I was a child growing up in Brussels, Belgium. Back then, I mostly read in French (Disney books, Belgian comics, etc.) but these days I tend to read in English—although my French book collection is constantly growing and in need of some lovin’ attention too.
I love to review books, and gladly do so after finishing a read. Since I tend to pick up another book pretty quickly after, I take notes and try to review as soon as possible, before my new read has a chance to impact my previous impressions.
Browsing through sites like Amazon.com or, even better, Goodreads.com, has revealed some interesting views / opinions on book reading and reviewing. As such, I’ve formed my own thoughts on the matter:
1. Since I made the decision to read the book and therefore to devote my precious time to it, I’m reading it all the way through. It’s only happened twice I think that I put a book aside, but I likely won’t go back to doing so. I despise that feeling of not knowing ‘what happened’ but mostly of not finishing something I committed myself to.
2. Because I’ve read it through. I’m most definitely reviewing it–good or bad! Not only is it an exercise in writing, it’s also a great way to tap into different ‘sides’ of yourself by exploring your views and maybe even getting all analytical & stuff if that’s your thing (haha). 🙂
3. I’ve been quite surprised by the many things I’ve read of people expressing their ‘shock that someone would write a negative review of something…’. UM HELLO, this is life! Life is not only filled with rosy, happy, ‘positive’ things all the time, and that reaction alone seems a red flag to me. I completely understand that people can be sensitive, and that some reviews are indeed written viciously and may be downright mean and uncalled for. That’s not the approach I’ll ever care to take, but I definitely make a point to state my honest opinion and impressions on whatever I read. I’m NOT going to NOT write my review just because the author may not be able to stomach that I gave it a low rating! If that was the case, then I don’t see how anyone would ever go creating (or doing!) anything in life, because you simply can’t please everyone! It should also teach you to develop a kind of healthy thick skin, at least in part because I like to think that we all do things for our own reasons, regardless of whether others can understand their purpose. At least that’s definitely what I do. It’s nothing personal for me, and it shouldn’t be construed that way (and again, I realize that sadly some *shall we say immature?* people actually do this). My view on this issue is that I sacrificed my time too for this read, and I have the right to voice my opinion on it–on the story itself, not the author–regardless of who likes it or not.
^UM yes, and also, no. Proof of an awesome, hilariously ‘terrible’ book review on (what else) ’50 Shades of Grey’ by Katrina Passick Lumsden HERE.
4. Connected to #3: The ones who are being hateful, vindictive, etc., will end up making that clear through their own actions and/or word usage, and the like. That’s why I actually think it can be ‘good’ to just leave it because it’s often more indicative of the reviewer than the person being attacked. Whoever has bad intentions is sending that out into the universe and is impacting their own good karma, so what does that have to do with you?! 🙂
5. People are different and have different tastes! As such we shouldn’t expect everyone to agree on everything, which obviously includes their views of books. Isn’t that part of the fun of life and experiences: to compare and contrast? Who knows; you may even learn from someone else’s unusual interpretation. 😉
6. Surprisingly, it can also happen that you enjoyed a book, and yet still find yourself agreeing with the negative views others have of it. This happened when I read “The Night Circus” and although I liked it, I totally understood where Lucy was coming from with her 2-star review (which can be seen HERE). Cheers for being able to see things from multiple angles!
7. Say a reader wasn’t ‘into’ a book. The shocker (or not!!!) is that it might not even have anything to do with the author’s writing (as the book could, in fact, be very well written). The thing is, the reader might not have been in a ‘corresponding’ state of mind when they picked up the book, leading to a lesser experience than desired. Hey it happens: it’s called life. 🙂
So there we have it. In the meantime: