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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Book-ish Talk Time

Instead of a review, today I decided I wanted to elaborate on a subject I’ve been thinking about.

Negative reviews.

Many bloggers do write them, but there are many that are opposed to them. Personally, I like negative reviews just as much as I like positive reviews, and I am definitely not afraid to write a negative review if I didn’t enjoy something. But, I do think that they should be tasteful, and give relevant criticism, not simply bash the book. A book isn’t all bad, and whenever I write a negative review, I don’t always focus on the negative. I try to throw in some positive things that I did like to balance it out.

Posting a negative review is truthful. If someone didn’t like a book, I want to know why. If their reasons are things that I know I myself wouldn’t like, then I may not pick up that book and spend the 20 bucks instead on a book I will like. Or, maybe the person and I have differing tastes, and what may have annoyed them is fine with me. Either way, it’s nice to know about these things in advance. Just as it’s great to know about all the amazing “must read” books, it’s also just as important to know which ones to avoid.

So, what do you guys think about negative reviews?


  1. I don't have a problem with negative reviews. I read them when they're posted on blogs I watch or in magazines etc.

    However, I don't write them myself. This is for two reasons: firstly, because I'm less likely to want to spend my time writing about a book I disliked, and secondly because I set up my own book journal to be a place where people can go to find something to read without anything getting in the way - so I don't post anything other than reviews there (rare for book blogs I know), I don't post negative reviews and I make sure every review is tagged with as many tags as I can think of to help people find what they like.

    I have no objection to people who post negative reviews though, just so long as they're not "flames", ie they're well thought out, don't personally bash the author, try to give good points as well as bad points where possible, etc.

  2. I admit sometimes I feel akward posting them but at times I think it's called for. Besides there's a difference between trashing and giving a bad review.

  3. Reviews should just be honest - whether positive or negative - and be able to articulate what was good or bad with a book. I ignore both the overly gushing reviews and the trashing reviews that don't bother to explain why they liked/didn't like the book.

  4. I feel the same way you do. I don't trust bloggers who only write positive reviews (sorry, Lanta!), which is why I strive to always be honest in my reviews. I say exactly what I feel - the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. My readers know I'm just giving MY opinion and they can take it or leave it.

    That being said, I absolutely agree that you should never completely trash a book. I can always find SOMETHING I like, even in a book I hated.

  5. Susan - I would feel the same way if, for example, I was reading book reviews in a magazine, or on certain types of websites.

    I simply set mine up as a "book recommendations" journal rather than a "book reviews" journal if you understand what I mean. I still do reviews that point out all the bad points, I just don't post about anything where the bad outweighs the good.

  6. I understand what you're saying Lanta, and it's also a great way to review.


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