Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Can You Review Half a Book?

From time to time I see reviews on blogs of books that the reviewer didn't finish. Normally it isn't a good sign. My own position is that if I bought a with my own money book and I can write about why I didn't finish a book, why it didn't grip me. If I buy a book I also buy the right to say pretty much anything about it, or use it to line the parrot cage if I so desire.

But if a writer sends me a book I need to finish it. There's a sort of understanding. But boy do I feel bad when the review is negative. I know that's the deal, reviews must be honest. I know most authors realise this too.

If I am not going to review a book I toss it aside as soon as I lose interest; life is too short to spend it reading bad books. And given this attitude when I soldier through something I normally have a much more negative attitude by the end than I would at the 'giving up point'. And hence probably write a much more negative review albeit for more clearly thought out reasons.

I wonder what authors would prefer?

* Positive or nothing
* Give up and tell me why, or'
* Read on, maybe it will grow on you... (but the reverse is more likely, oh well).



The Gline said...

If someone gives up part of the way through something I wrote, I'd definitely like to know what motivated them to quit. Then I can find out if it's just them, or if it's something about my book. I've seen reviewers give up on a book (or a movie) for reasons so addled I could scarcely believe it -- and knowing that those reasons simply didn't hold water helped me understand why I might not take that reviewer seriously in the future.

Chris Gerrib said...

The optimal solution from my point of view is to do a "positive or nothing" review. That's selfish, and if the reviewer never does negative reviews, their credibility suffers.

If you don't like it, say why. If you can't finish it, say why. There's no such thing as bad publicity as long as they spell your name right.

Chris Gerrib said...

So, I was reading a book for another review site. The book's technically not self-published, but the small press in question is two people working from a spare bedroom.

The book doth suck big rocks. At the request of the site coordinator, I did not submit a review.

L.K. Campbell said...

Sometimes I think it's not just a matter of the book being so bad the reviewer couldn't finish it, but rather the reviewer has taken on more than he/she can realistically read and review.
There's a lady who writes reviews on Amazon.com. (I'm sure if I named her everyone would know her). I've never figured out how she has time to read as many books as she reviews and be fair about it. Unless she's a speed-reader, she has to be skimming, and I don't think you can write a fair review without reading the whole book.