About Our Book Reviews
There are two things I dislike about book reviews. The first is that in most reviews, there is absolutely no indication that the reviewer ever read the book. How many reviews have you read that included any information that couldnâ€™t be gathered in the first chapter of the book? Or even from the book jacket? When I read a book review, I want to know that the reviewer read the entire book. And then I want to know what they really thought of it.
Because that is the second thing I dislike about book reviews. I canâ€™t think of a time when a professional reviewer has said they didnâ€™t like a book. Of course, this is probably against their interests. If they pan the book, it may not sell well. The author, publisher, and whoever else gets a cut of the bookâ€™s profits may complain about the reviewer and they may not get another gig reviewing books. So they donâ€™t say bad things about the books they review. Instead, they convince readers to spend good money and their precious time on sub-par reading material.
Ever read any book reviews on Amazon.com? They attempted to solve these problems by allowing readers to review books. But these reviews have faults, too. Frankly, there are plenty of reviewers on there who I suspect havenâ€™t read the books, either. I particularly question the reviews of the top reviewers. I read a lot and always have â€“ I know how long it takes to read and evaluate a book and those numbers are way too high for them to give a book proper attention.
And you have no idea who many of these reviewers are. The other day, I read four reviews on Amazon for a book that was not very good. I mean really not good. It was obvious that the four reviewers all knew or had met the authors. Hey, if I wrote a book the first thing I would do is ask all my friends and family to give it a favorable review, too.
So here are some things you can count on from me when I review a book:
1) I will have read the entire book.
2) I will tell you honestly what I thought of the book, regardless of how well I know the author.
3) I will give you a feeling for the book so you can make a more informed decision about investing your time and/or money in the book.
4) I will do my best to convey information without ruining the book for you. I am never going to reveal who did it because I hate it when someone tells me how a book ends! These are MYSTERIES, folks.
5) I will try to write cogently and coherently and I will not badmouth a book or author unnecessarily for personal vindication, shock value, or to increase readership. Iâ€™m just not like that and hope you arenâ€™t either.
6) I will try to avoid typical reviewer conflicts of interest â€“ for example, I wonâ€™t review something favorably just so I can sell it to you.
7) I am open to feedback. If you are a reader (or author) who disagrees with my review, tell me so. Put together a lucid (and polite) argument and send it to me. I would love to discuss it with you.