I never really gave much thought or paid any attention to book reviews until I started writing seriously. As a fledgling author it is a pleasant feeling when someone comments favourably that they enjoyed your book. It is OK if they say, it isn’t bad but I didn’t like this or that. But it is extremely unpleasant if they say it is a load of rubbish.
What really matters to me is that I am read and that my readers benefit from the reading and we have connected. If I have evoked or aroused feelings of sadness, joy or laughter I am happy. If they learn something they didn’t know before then I have added value. If I have made them angry then I am sorry.
I doubt that many authors make money from writing; therefore writing for most authors is a passion rather than a profession. And passionate authors are entitled to offer their work to readers just as much as professionals who work for the big publishing houses.
I believe a Book Review, if it is to have any value, should be a serious, critical and constructive appraisal of a literary work that adds a dimension to, and summarises the work to help a prospective reader make a decision. It should not be abusive or taken lightly or frivolously and above all it must be sincere.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion but when I see ill-informed malevolent and destructive criticism, which I sometimes do, I have to question the critic’s motive.
One-liners are not book reviews. They are just one person’s quick comment on whether or not he or she liked it. By way of example, I bought a novel ‘Lionel Asbo’ by, the very successful, Martin Amis, whom I had never read. There are 5 ‘one liners’ on the front and back covers. ‘Gloriously funny and incisive’ – Sunday Telegraph. ‘Terrific, both funny and serious……………..’ Guardian. I didn’t have time to read a chapter so I bought it on spec. – not something I usually do. After all it’s Martin Amis and the book is dedicated to a legend, Christopher Hitchens, so it must be good!! I ploughed through half of it and cannot manage any more. I didn’t enjoy it one little bit; it isn’t for me. But please don’t let that put you off. You may love it.
Personally I like to decide for myself whether or not I read a book by reading a sample first. I don’t want reviews or one-liners from people I don’t know to influence me. I prefer to trust my own judgement and the integrity of the author.