If you have been following the blog for any length of time, you know I tend to keep my discussion posts lighter. I prefer for the majority of the actual discussion to happen below, in the comments 😉 And as always, these are just thoughts not intended in any way to express a right or wrong, how to, or pass any form of judgment. Just a little nice discussion over some tea ☕
I touched on this with a lot of you recently when I discussed Tagging Authors in Blog Post Titles: I Have Questions (Asking for a Friend), I am a firm believer in book reviews being for the reader. They are written to discuss, share and offer thoughts with other readers. So as readers, we rely on them to help us make informed decisions.
I want all of the details.. Just give it to me straight!
Like most, I read reviews to help me determine whether books are an ideal fit for me. I am generally looking for several pieces of information ranging from how the book made the reader feel to how well it was executed and presented. I want the facts; the good, the bad and the ugly. Just give it to me straight!
I love enthusiastic book reviews because I can relate to the joy that comes from a great reading experience. We all can. There is nothing better than closing a book and immediately wanting to share it with others. As readers, we live for that bookish elation.
But I also feel that sometimes those less than stellar reads can be very beneficial in the community for several reasons. The obvious is that sharing a disappointing experience is still valuable information for potential readers looking to make a decision. Reading is an individualized process and your negative review is not necessarily a deterrent but helpful in the decision process. I have also found that some of the best book discussions stem from sharing these experiences. It is easy to rave about what works, but understanding why it didn’t can really solicit great thought. You are given the opportunity to encounter opposing views which offer more insight when in a safe, constructive environment!
And let us not forget problematic books or triggering content (which are two separate things but both being mentioned here for the sake of brevity). Because they need to be discussed too! If it upset you or unsettled you in some way, there is a very large chance you are not alone. If a book truly presents with problematic or triggering content address it! You just might spare someone else potential distress.
Finally, negative reviews help lend some credibility to the reviewer. Of course, you can be one hundred percent honest and choose not to post negative reviews (I follow and highly respect several bloggers who do not share negative reviews) but there is a certain amount of authenticity that seems to grow over time when we are exposed to the good and bad with a reviewer. We establish an expectation that they are going to tell it as is regardless.
So what are your thoughts on negative reviews? Let me know whether you share them or not and why. Do you find them beneficial?