My Thoughts on Reviewing Books as a Writer

You may have noticed that I’ve started reviewing books here. It’s something that I wrestled with myself over for quite some time.

Once upon a time, not too long after the dinosaurs disappeared, I actually ran my own book review blog. It wasn’t successful (I’m pretty sure even my mom didn’t follow it), but I managed to keep it going for quite a while. (No, it doesn’t exist anymore. Yes, I backed it up before I deleted it, and I have everything tucked away on a hard drive. No, I’m not going to post those reviews here).

Eventually I decided that yes, I would post reviews on this site, but there would have to be some rules. Well, just one rule actually.

I won’t review a book I don’t like.

It’s simple enough, really. I  don’t feel comfortable taking a book that someone else has bled countless hours into and panning it just because I didn’t enjoy it personally. Maybe I wasn’t the target audience. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. Maybe… there are hundreds of reasons why I could not like a good book, and I don’t want to put people off of books because I didn’t like them.

I didn’t mind so much when I was younger. I don’t know if I was colder and more callous then or if I just didn’t realise how devastating a poor review can be. It might have something to do with the fact that I didn’t consider myself a “real” writer back then. Now, I just don’t think it’s the right thing for me to do, as a reader, or as an emerging author.

The obvious exception to the rule would be if there is something genuinely problematic about a book – e.g. it actively promotes some abhorrent behaviour or world view – in which case I’ll be yelling from the rooftops “DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!” (But also probably not on this site.)

I suppose what I’m actually doing is less reviewing, more recommending. But that’s the only way I feel comfortable doing it. If I post about a book here, it’s because I really, genuinely loved it, and I want to keep it that way. I want there always to be integrity in my reviews/recommendations.

If you have any books that you’d like me to read and (possibly) review, please leave a comment, reach out on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, or drop me an email. I can’t guarantee that I will read everything that is recommended to me, and I’m definitely not promising to review, but I will add suggestions to my evergrowing TBR list.

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