Book reviews are everywhere.
You can read them on people’s blogs, Goodreads is full of them, Amazon has more than you’d ever have time to read, and yet we keep writing more. Everyone is recommending books that you just “have” to read. Sometimes we do get reviews that say, “this wasn’t worth reading.” And other times reviews leave you confused.
Reviewing books is a great help to authors, although there are reviews which don’t help much. There are also some reviews that are no help at all to the readers. And I’m not talking about those “rave” reviews. I’m talking about the reviews that recommend a book without telling the potential reader that there are objections to it.
Why leave a 4 or 5 star review on a book that has questionable things? When you’ve skipped pages, when you are reading a very edited version?
The general answers are:
- Because the author is a “fellow homeschooled author.”
- Because the book is “christian.” (or supposed to be!)
- Because the rest of it is just so good.
- Because the writing is so wonderful!
But are those good enough reasons to promote a book that may be a stumbling block to others? This is a question I’ve often asked myself when reading reviews. I ask myself this question when I’m writing reviews. I hate having to give a low rating to a book because of the content, but I have. It makes it harder when the book is not just some random “christian” book published by some large publishing house, but by a fellow Indie author.
But I have wished I had known some things about some books before I picked them up to read. I wish someone had cared enough about the reader to mention things even if they did like the book. I wish someone had read the book with open eyes instead of getting caught up in how wonderful the writing, the characters, the plot are. I wish someone had felt the responsibility of telling the whole truth in their review.
Now, I don’t mean you have to slam the author for things, but just a mention of “profanity” or “sensual focus in thoughts” or something. Mention if you skipped pages while reading. Mention if your book had seen the whiteout before you read it. Things like that will help a reader looking for certain types of books.
So, next time you write a review, ask yourself if you should mention any objections so other readers aren’t taken by surprise in a book you recommended.
What do you look for in reviews? Are you cautious about books when someone mentions negative things or do you just ignore them? Would it make a difference in the books you chose if someone had pointed out some problems?