November 16, 2008
I almost did not post today – but habits die hard and I decided to dig deep and write something after all. I have been killing myself with work lately – something I need to stop doing. And I’m in the process of making some changes which should improve my life with regards to my commitments. My body is telling me it is time – I woke up with a sore throat and had a fever by Friday night. Yesterday I rested and thought I was feeling better…but this morning I woke up with a deep and relentless cough. So I’m laying low today with my current read: The Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood.
I love Atwood’s books, and so far I am enjoying this one. Have any of you read it? I also discovered the movie based on the novel – and saved it to my DVR to watch when I am finished reading the book. Stay tuned for a review later in the week.
Since the last Sunday Salon, I managed to finish reading The Year of Fog, by Michelle Richmond (read my review) which I loved. I’m giving away an autographed edition of this book on my blog…visit this post to enter by November 20th (US and Canada addresses only).
I also read an Advance Reader’s Edition of Black Wave, by John and Jean Silverwood (read my review). The story is good, although the writing was a bit uneven. If you are a person who loves to read adventure books, you might like this one.
There has been a plethora of posts lately about honesty in reviewing books sent to bloggers by publishers or authors. Some bloggers won’t review books they did not like; others go ahead and review them but wonder if they should be honest; still others have had to deal with angry authors when they’ve given that author’s book a negative review. I have had only one nasty email from an author who did not like my review of his work. Otherwise, I have found authors to be gracious and accepting of my opinion (which by the way is always honest no matter what!). I have written a statement about my review policy which I think might help. In part it reads:
I have a loyal readership who has come to expect honest book reviews. If I don’t like a book, I say so. But, I try to balance my reviews to reflect both the strengths and weaknesses of a particular book.
The only review I regret is one I gave to Chris Bohjalian’s book The Double Bind. In reading it over, I think maybe I was overly harsh…but, it is largely because I have loved his books in the past and this one just disappointed me. I am usually better about balancing my negative thoughts with positive ones. I felt especially bad when Bohjalian came on and left me a comment. But, I should also say his comment was professional and gracious…which made me respect him even more as a writer. I think as a best selling author, he has learned that not everyone will love everything he writes. Later, I read his book Before You Know Kindness and was able to give him a positive review.
I do not believe authors or publishers (for the most part) are sending their books to bloggers simply to be kind. It is becoming more and more apparent that book bloggers are impacting sales, and for the cost of mailing a book an author gets marketing which travels around the world. Even a negative review gives an author publicity (and remember the old adage: No publicity is bad publicity?). I have come to rely on book bloggers as a source to select my next book…so I hope when a blogger writes a review they are doing so honestly. Otherwise, what is the point?
So how about you? Do you have a review policy posted on your blog? Have you had to deal with angry authors if you don’t like their book? How do you decide which books to accept for review? Has the recent controversy made you re-think how you review…or if you even WANT to review books?
Have a great day! See you next week – hopefully without this pesky cough.