Here’s something you probably already know about me: I love reading books. Here’s something you might not know: I hate telling people what I think about the books I’ve read. Now I can understand that this might surprise you, given that I am a frequent user of BookCrossing, Good Reads, and belong to local reading group, all of which allow, nay, expect or even demand me to express my opinion on the books I have read. So what’s my problem?
When I finish reading a book, I don’t mind saying that I loved it, or liked it, or thought it tolerable, or detested it. Scratch the last one, if I detested it I wouldn’t have made it to the end. I will tell a friend to give it a go, avoid it like the plague, or buy the movie rights. More than that I cannot or will not say. I have friends who write amazing reviews of books, especially on Good Reads. They say all the right words about language and character development and what the author meant and other clever stuff. I just can’t do that. At best I manage a a brief synopsis of what the story was about.
And yet, as I approach the half-way point in editing my NaNo novel, I realise this kind of feedback, the kind I am incapable of giving, is exactly what I am going to have to ask of some guinea-pig readers. It hardly seems fair of me to ask, does it?
I would also love to be able to write glowing reports of books I have read, reports that would encourage others to read the book, by way of giving some good publicity to the author, especially if the author isn’t well known. Instead all I can manage are banalities along the lines of “great, loved it, read it, you won’t be disappointed.”
I’m trying to figure out if my problem is not so much that I am incapable of writing a decent review, and more that I just don’t want to share my thoughts with anyone else. Or maybe I’m just shallow, and the “great, loved it, read it, you won’t be disappointed,” type review actually does encapsulate the entirety of my emotional and intellectual response.
Whatever the problem, I need to work on this, and start writing some decent reviews, especially if I am going to ask the same of others.
How about you? Do you review the books you read, do you find it an easy thing to do, something you enjoy, or do you do it out of a sense of duty?
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