Okay, so I’m not normally a random rants type of poster, especially on a Monday. Usually, I only cover book things in this blog. That being said, I received a rather critical email a week or so back telling me that I never post any negative reviews and therefore said person did not trust my blog or my opinion on books. My response was coooool because really I didn’t know or feel like responding. Mostly, I feel like I’m an adult, this is a hobby, and if someone does not want to visit my blog that is there opinion. There are some awesome blogs out there and many bloggers who have way cooler sites and are way better reviewers. PLUS, they are way funnier than I’ll ever be and I like humor.
Then this thing happened where I had to discuss with one of my students how to approach literature. Which of course, led to a discussion about how I personally like to review books. All of this centered around a very timely writing assignment where my student had to thoroughly discuss what made a particular book written in the 1960s relevant today. So, it got me thinking about how I review books and why yes I only feature books that I liked, or mostly enjoyed. In fact, looking back I think I have one 2 rated book on this blog. Does that mean I’m not a thorough reviewer or can’t be trusted; well I as I lay out my process you decide.
1. I’ve been reading YA since I was about nine and Harry Potter first came out. Am I an expert, heck no. Do I know what I like to read, heck yes! Odds are that I’m not picking up a book if I know it’s not a genre or style I’m going to enjoy. I’m not big into YA Contemporary so I generally avoid those titles unless the synopsis is awesome. Even then, I usually will pick up stuff of that genre through trusted recommendations.
2. I don’t like to say mean things. Sometimes a book is cliche or random and I’ll note that, but I don’t feel the need to highlight books I didn’t like at all. Those are a rarity because again, I know what I like to read, but I don’t feel the need to rip into an author. Writing is hard and often times there are points that I loved, points that I was like “meh” about, and points that I didn’t like. I try and be fair.
3. I have a degree in English, I am literally trained to look at books a certain way. Again, am I an expert. HECCCCK NOOOO. What I’m saying here is that when I dissect books I do it with certain glasses in mind. In fact, sometimes I have to stop myself from going all “teacher mode” and explaining things of a technical level. And by that I mean no one wants to know what I think of the authors use of gerunds. No one. No one wants to read that. Heck, my students probably don’t want to listen to me 9/10. But often times, my reviews are me translating certain aspects of books I found great and aspects I found not so great. And I believe every book has something great in it.
4. This is fun. Keep in mind, I don’t do this for $$ or even for ARCs (which I receive very few of). I do this because I like reading and talking about reading. I have a full time job, a part-time job, am an active runner, baker, and Netflix watcher. I wish I had more time, or honestly was just better at blogging, or web design, or twitter. I’m beyond jealous of all those people with awesome blogs and awesome lives who are just crushing it. TEACH ME. Anyways, ultimately, in all my reviews or in all the books I acquire, I want to read to be entertained. If a book does that it’s a good one for me.
So, now that I’ve soapboxed, I’m curious how other people like to review, or really your thought process when determining if you liked a book! I love hearing these things.