Why You Will Never Read a Negative Review on My Blog...

Friday September 4, 2009

I'm actually fairly new to book blogging community but I've had my own epiphany of sorts...

I'm sure that there are going to be people who despise me for this but I've come to a conclusion...I can not bring myself to write a negative review. I've been reading a book the last few days that I've had to make an EFFORT to read because it's just not my cup of tea and on top of that I have a few "issues" with it. But for the life of me, I can't make myself write a bad review. Now I bet you are thinking that I don't want to make the author or publicist who sent me the book mad...no that's not it, but I've really put some thought into this and I have two reasons...

1. I have a motto, maybe someone said this before me but until I hear otherwise you heard it here :o)

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then books are in the mind of the reader

Seriously, if I've learned anything as a librarian its that, like anything else in life one persons love is another persons complete dislike. I've tried to read books that others have raved about and been like "Eh, I don't like it." But that's the beauty of books...there are just so many to choose from!

2. I'm a librarian, a middle school librarian, I spend my whole day trying to get kids to read books by making them sound awesome and way better than any TV show, movie or video game. Talking bad about book just goes against everything in me! Now don't get me wrong, I've read a few bad books in my day and I'll tell my fellow librarians to skip purchasing them but I happen to know that a lot of teens and young adults read this blog and it seriously terrifies me to bad mouth a book around anyone 21 and younger! A conversation I never hope to have starts with: "Mrs. Wishard, why should I read this book, you said it sucked."

Important: I totally respect bloggers who will tell you about a book they don't like!

I think that it is important to talk about books and discussing books that you did or did not like can lead to interesting discussions...I've just decided that this is not what MY blog will be about. So...I've decided that I will only post reviews on my blog about books that I think are pretty good books all the way up to books that I totally loved. Trust me, you'll know if I love a book because I will tell you...I tend to be a gusher :o)

On the same note, and this will be rare because to be honest books are a lot like pizza in my opinion...I rarely find any that are really THAT bad...if I absolutely did not like a book that I read for review or just for myself...I simply won't post anything about it. Sound fair? I hope so because having this blog has been so much fun and I love being part of such an awesome community!

Have an opinion about this post??? Comment away!!! Just don't call me any bad names or tell me you hate me...I'm actually pretty sensitive, please don't make me cry :o)

31 comments:

La Coccinelle said...

Fair enough. I could never do that, though. I'm far too picky, and if I only reviewed books that I liked, my blog wouldn't have many reviews on it at all! I've found that there are so many positive reviews out there, often on books that don't really deserve them (and I'm not talking about subjective stuff here, like whether you like the plot or the characters... I'm talking about books that shouldn't even have been published because they're full of typos and horrendous grammar mistakes). So I guess I hope that my negative reviews can provide a little balance. (Of course, if I like a book, I'm not going to give it a negative review. Positive reviews have their place as well!)

Jill of The O.W.L Blog said...

I could've written this post!! I've struggled with this since I started my blog. I'm a 7th grade english teacher so I know exactly what you mean about spending all my time making my students think reading is the best thing out there. It feel counterproductive to give a book a bad review. I want students to come to my blog to find books to read, so for that reason I'm only going to review books that I like and if I don't like them BUT I think a middle schooler will, I'll review it with that in mind.

Thanks for making me feel I'm not the only one thinking this way!

Jill of The O.W.L Blog said...

To add there are very few books I completely hate. And even ones I didn't love I can see what type of student I have that MAY love it, and I want them to read it. I try to focus on that instead.

Book Butterfly (Kim) said...

I feel the same as yourself and wanted to give you a hug when I read this! :)

elnice said...

Good for you, I agree, after reading your reasoning. I love your motto, I may borrow that.

sharonluvscats said...

I hate you! you evil person you. lol just kidding. ;)

Hmm interesting topic. I honestly have a harder time trusting the reviews of bloggers who only post good reviews, but I think in your case since you have made your intentions known, it is not an issue.

You might want to create a review policy post stating this so, people don't ever try to throw it in your face.

Personally I prefer to write both types or reviews. If I don't like a book I'm going to tell everyone why. I don't post reviews for every book I read so, my blog has a nice mix of both.

Anyhoo I like your blog and I will continue to read it either way! xD

HODGEPODGESPV said...

i like your comments! i tend to go for books i think i might like....cus why read something i know i won't like. i recently finish 2 books that i so wanted to read but didn't impress me...but i did finish them so i felt honor bound to review them. i did try to cushion my comments with the fact that i thought my dad would have liked them. i feel if i don't finish a book i have to no duty to review it. so far there has been only one. the language was so off color without reason or necessity that i could not even get passed the 3 page. so that is my criteria. i would not think it fair to read all the way through a book and say i hated it...there has to be a bit of something there or i would not have kept reading. if i read a negative review, i will follow up with other's reviews to see where there is consistence. i think one of the things people need to learn is to read more than one opinion before making a decision to read or not read a book.

Taschima Cullen said...

That is really your call. I write bad reviews, not so often because I have the gift of picking books I will like (I dont know how, call it a 7th sense) but from time to time books come in disguise (like Sticky Fingers *shudders*) and I just have to let people know how I feel. I blog about the bad and the good, not everything is the color of pink.

Saying that I would never put an F on a book, if it got published its for something, and maybe I dont like it but someone else might love it.

natalierenae said...

Good for you! I can totally see where you're coming from. It can often be difficult to post bad reviews, and I hate doing it, but then again, it's happened several times that a book received all good reviews and I wasted money on it. This made me really wish later that someone had written a poor review and steered me away from it. Like you said though, reading is extremely subjective, and what one person might hate, another might love. Good post!

Mindful Musings Book Blog

justanotherbookaddict said...

It is hard to tell the blogging world that you disliked a book. I love that someone else says 'just not my cup of tea'! Some people don't like books that others love. I like it because if someone sees that you don't like it, then they might not pick the book up because you said that. (I'm guilty of that sometimes=(
~Lindsay
JABA

Literary Feline said...

I cringe anytime someone comments on one of my reviews that they won't be reading a book based on my complaints about the book. I can only hope that the reader has already read lots of reviews of the book and that mine was maybe the tipping point. I don't want to be the sole person to turn them off a book. Because, as you indicated, we all have different tastes. Just because I might not have cared as much for the book, doesn't mean someone else won't love it.

I do like reading negative reviews now and then--especially of books that I am on the fence about or that have received so much praise that I'm starting to feel a little leery. Writing negative reviews isn't for everyone though. It's hard for me. More often than not my "negative" reviews aren't perceived as such because I'm all for pointing out the good too (if I finished the book, I must have liked it on some level).

I think you have to do what works best for you, Darcy. Be true to yourself.

Jessica Kennedy said...

I understand why you've chosen not to give bad reviews.

Since I'm not in the position you are I'm not against voicing my 100% honest opinion on a book. I'd say that 95% of the books I read are really good but I find a book every once and again that's not up to par. So I explain as best as I can why.

I recently reviewed Blue Moon by Alyson Noel. A book I hated. I treated the review the same as I do every book but I explained in more depth of why it just didn't work for me. :(

I'd rather be looked at as an honest reviewer than to spare someone the negative review of a book that just wasn't that great. I'm glad I don't have that many bad reviews to post! :)

thebookaddict said...

I never give a bad review either. I just honestly believe that books, like people, all have their good points. It may be a book I didn't like as a whole, but I can find parts to which I have positive reactions. I also never not read a book (or not see a movie, for that matter) based on a bad review. Like you said, but in my own words, one person's gem is another's cubic zirconia (LOL)!

Great post! You touched on a subject that I'm sure a lot of us as book reviewers think about quite frequently.

Wrighty said...

I think we all have to find our own style of reviewing and there are many different ways to do that. As long as we are being honest and not being cruel than there is room for all of it.

You give very legitimate reasons for your choices and it doesn't mean you are giving every book a glowing review, you are still pointing out what worked and didn't work for you just in a positive way. I don't like to say bad things about someones hard work either. I will definitely give my opinion but I would rather say that it wasn't my cup of tea than say that I hated it.

I appreciate all the different styles and I don't make a judgment on a book based on any one review. I don't think many people do. We all have different opinions but we all love to read and enjoy promoting it too. Great topic!

Juju from Tales of Whimsy said...

I like the middle ground. If I read a book that's really bad (I only review books I finish) I write a review. I try to be honest but gentle (in case the author were to read my review).

April said...

I thought I commented on this, as I was just reading all the comments from Sharon's blog but I guess not.

I think because you are a librarian and not an anonymous librarian your role as a book reviewer is different from the role of Johnny No-Name reviewer. Your role is to get children excited about reading, but that's pretty hard to do when you bash books, so yes that clearly makes sense. Whereas Johnny No-Name's role pertains to informing a purchasing decision.

I do believe there is such a thing as wrong book at the wrong time in one's life. I mean, you see so many people who hated reading a certain book for school, but then read it as an adult and love it.

I mean, as long as you aren't intentionally saying oh yes I thought this book was bloody brilliant, when really it was terrible, then I think positive reviews are fine. JUST DON'T LIE to your loving readers :-D LOL

Library Lounge Lizard said...

Thank you everyone for your insightful and honest comments!

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

For the same first reason you wrote, I don't like writing bad reviews either. But I will still speak honestly of the books I read, trying to use a lot of "I" (I didn't like, I thought that, I felt like, etc). Also, I always try to find good points or to explain why it wasn't for me. This way, if someone has different tastes than mind, they would know that a book I didn't like could be for them!

I totally respect your decision though, and you taking the time to explain why means a lot. For me, it means that the books you recommend are the books you really liked. As long as you are truthful in that, I think it is your choice to review or not the bad books :)

Suzanne said...

This is an interesting subject! I agree with you whole heartily too! I really don't like writing bad reviews, because the book in question just may not be my cup of tea.. And usually there is always some redeeming factor. I never lie about a book, but probably will opt not to review it if it's just that bad.Or will comment that the book just wasn't "my cup of tea". And I will really let my readers know if I just LOVE a book! And honesty is always the best policy!

Thanks for opening up a great debate!

Jessica Verday said...

You're already on my Favorite People List because of your Nacho Libre icon, but this just confirms how awesome you are.

I've been seeing a LOT of bloggers giving bad reviews lately for books(mine included) that just cross the line from "Hey, this didn't work for me - here's why" to "This is garbage. I don't think so and so should ever write another word. Ever." (I'm paraphrasing, but you get the point.)

I think its very easy for people to forget that just because a book doesn't work for YOU doesn't mean that the author didn't spend hours upon hours putting their heart and soul into it. Books aren't dashed off overnight. They involve lots and lots of people - not just the author. So mean, nasty commenters and reviewers? You're hurting more than just one person.

Thanks for staying classy!

The Brain Lair (KB) said...

I haven't been seriously blogging that long but this is my 4th yr as a middle school librarian. I've taught most of the students that the reason there are so many books is because we are different poeple and we sometimes like different things. My orientation book talk to 6th graders include how to talk about a book you don't like in case someone else might want to try it. I also encourage all students to argue with me!! If I have to say something "bad" about a book - I try to say why it didn't work for me or what specifically I didn't like. I try to keep in mind that I'm trying to help out students and teachers and what is the best way to serve them.

I love your blog and applaud your decision to stay true to yourself! It's so hard to do sometimes in this community!

The Brain Lair (KB) said...

I haven't been seriously blogging that long but this is my 4th yr as a middle school librarian. I've taught most of the students that the reason there are so many books is because we are different poeple and we sometimes like different things. My orientation book talk to 6th graders include how to talk about a book you don't like in case someone else might want to try it. I also encourage all students to argue with me!! If I have to say something "bad" about a book - I try to say why it didn't work for me or what specifically I didn't like. I try to keep in mind that I'm trying to help out students and teachers and what is the best way to serve them.

I love your blog and applaud your decision to stay true to yourself! It's so hard to do sometimes in this community!

iwriteinbooks said...

I don't dislike many books but I do like to discuss some of the negative points of the books I DO like. If I am able to pin point the negative, it helps me to discard it and refocus on the positive. Aside from a select fer, I've enjoyed almost everything I've read for my blog but I think it's true to MY blogging style that if I have a select issue with a book, I'll discuss it.

The Book Girl said...

I think the Book Addict explained how I feel pretty well :-). I agree with you 100% in not giving bad reviews. I refuse to think of my opinion as that which someone should judge a book on. Just because I don't like a book doesn't mean someone else won't. If there is something I really don't like I'll mention it, but play up the good parts a little more. It always makes me sad when I read a review that just says how much they hated the book. No book deserves that...

Jamie said...

I just found your blog this morning on My Overstuffed Bookshelf's blog list and I thought I'd drop by. I totally agree with you on not writing bad reviews. I've actually got a couple up from when I first started but I haven't written any since. Just because I didn't like the book doesn't mean someone else might not like it. Have an AWESOME day!

I am so following your blog now too!

Rachel said...

I actually really respect you for making a decision like that, and it does make sense to me! Of course, I'm just snarky so I like to criticize a book I didn't like, but it is really refreshing to read about the parts of a book someone else enjoyed!
You have a lovely blog!

DarkWyrm reads... said...

No bad names here, and I definitely don't hate you.

Book reviewers sometimes walk a delicate tightrope. Those who don't like to post negative reviews frequently take your stance - if they don't like it then they simply don't talk about it. The Golden rule of don't say anything at all if you can't say something nice is still Golden.

With that being said, I myself will post a negative review when/if I feel it is justified but I explain in my reviews why I like (or don't like) a book, hoping my comments will allow readers to judge for themselves if they may be interested in something even if I am not.

"One person's trash is another person's treasure."

Miss Remmers said...

I really respect this. As a high school about to be English Teacher - I totally see where you are coming from. But, I just couldn't do that. If a book isn't good - I just can't force myself to read it. But I really respect this policy. I'm new to your blog, but I'm definitely following and I hope to find out more about how exactly you do this. Good luck!

Shawn said...

I don't think reviewing is necessarily about giving a good or bad review. Of course, I have books I love that I rave about, but even the books that I have to force myself through have redeeming qualities. Only once has there been a book so terrible that I couldn't find any redeeming qualities. I've found that even if I don't enjoy the book, as long as I'm honest in my review it turns out alright. I've also found that on a few of my less than completely positive reviews, my comments have actually spurred readers to want to read the book. Just because I don't enjoy it doesn't mean they won't. Point being (yes, it's a rambly day for me!) as long as I dissect the book and give the positive as well as negative points, I don't consider it a negative review. Also, if I'm interested enough to look up a review for a book, I definitely want to hear the positives and negatives of the book, not just one side. That's what reviewing is about. That being said, I love when reviewers don't bash. That's unprofessional and uncalled for.

Katrina L. Burchett said...

I am not a book blogger but I do post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and Shelfari... I just wanted to say that I like DarkWyrm's comments.

Sandra Stiles said...

I've been following you for a while but just came across this part of your blog. I applaud you. I'm a 6th grade Language Arts teacher and before that taught Reluctant Readers. I try to find something in every book that will hook a child. I let them know that often I don't like a book and tell them why it didn't appeal to me. I then tell them who might like the book and why. With close to 2000 books on my classroom shelves I tell them I can find something for everyone. I love this post and your belief. I too find very few books that I thought were just terrible.