View From The Glen

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Books, Covers and Reviewers

I really wanted to read this. The title, borrowed from Edgar Alan Poe, the cover art, and the Victorian steampunk setting all appealed to me.

But then I read a review in Dear Author.

And I have changed my mind.

I don't know if it is fair or not. I have always judged books by covers and with that approach you win some, you lose some. Mostly, I would say, I have won.

Not so the author. Not in this case at least.

I trust the writers at Dear Author, even when I disagree with them. I am able to read between the lines of a poor review to determine if what they are saying is something that would also bother me, or whether I am willing to take the risk and buy the book. I am able to look at great reviews and still decide not to read the book. Reviewing is a collaboration between the reviewer and the potential reader, and for many reasons today, is so important.

I ignore yay/nay reviews. People who say "I love..." or "I hate..." this book with no justification for either. To me a worthy review is one that is critical, that has a depth of analysis to it that goes beyond whether the reviewer "liked" the book or not. In my opinion. you can dislike a book and still give it a fair and balanced review.

Every time I finish a book on Goodreads, I am asked to rate the book. I can rate quickly, but when it comes to commenting, I really don't have time to craft a thorough analysis. Most of the time I leave that section blank or dash off a quick line that really says nothing at all and that leaves me dissatisfied. That is not book review. Not to my mind.

More and more, I need book reviews. Someone I trust making a recommendation helps me decide what to read in what feels like an ever-widening circle of available literature. The pace has stepped up like never before and there are no signs of a slow down in the industry so I need a way to filter, to narrow down my choices.

To be a book reviewer is to wield great power. And to those that wield it wisely, my hat is off to you.


Coffee with Julie said...

I agree! I am finding it overwhelming to walk around the book store these days and tired of the books I've started but not finished on my book shelf. A well-written review is worth its weight in gold, but I know I do not have that talent at all!

Leanne Haines said...

Book reviews are so important, considering how many books are out there worth reading -- I don't want to waste my time on those that are not! I count on a good recommendation, whether from a friend or a review. I do love to judge a book by its cover, but I have been burned this way, and I only have 50 or so years left to read! :)