Monday, October 09, 2006


It's been a busy, busy weekend, so I haven't had time to weigh in on the reviewing question posed by Wendy at Blog from the Windowsill. The question is: to post or not to post negative reviews. Since Wendy's post, the following bloggers and writers have offered their opinions:

Everyone has well-reasoned responses as to whether or not to post negative reviews on their blog. My reasons, however, are pragmatic and maybe false, so I'd like to get your opinions. Here's why I only post positive reviews.

  1. I began this blog because I'm writing for children. I'll be sending out two novels (one strictly middle grade, another tween) this fall. I thought, if I really want to write for children, I should read as much as possible. After I began reading, I wanted to talk about my reading with others. Because I live in a small town in the middle of nearly nowhere, my interlocutors were small in number. Hence, the blog. And, in this sense, it has really fulfilled its promise. I love the dialogue and have learned so much from fellow bloggers and writers.
  2. I receive and seek out many books to read. So many at this point, that I've begun sending out copies to reviewers for The Edge of the Forest, because there are too many for me to read on my own. I have a strict rule: I will read 45% of a book. If I still don't like it, I put it aside. If I haven't completed it, I can't review it. Life is short. Why read a book that doesn't "click" with you? As an example, there's one recent YA novel that ended up on many top five lists this season that I could not bear. I thought the representation of dyslexia in the novel was completely false from a scientific point of view and couldn't look past it. Was it a well written book? Yes. But, it wasn't for me.
  3. Blogging is a hobby for me. I have a demanding day job, and I am not being paid to review books. I hope that my reviews are helpful to people, but it is not as if I work for a paper and have the responsibility to consider all that comes in. I review approximately four books a week (many fewer than some of my peers like A Fuse #8 Production and Bookshelves of Doom). Because I'm beholden to no one, I chose to write about the books that surprised me or entertained me or, even, transported me to another world completely.

So, for me, the only solution would be the following: Posts about what made me put down a book nearly halfway through. (I can see a series about "putdownable books.") Would that be helpful? Would that be fair to the authors of said books? Would such a series make readers more trustful of me as a reviewer? My instinct says no, but my instinct has not always been useful.

I'd love to hear your responses! Thanks to Wendy for beginning such a useful discussion.