A couple of us have been talking about writing book reviews. We're nice people, not like some of the nasty critics we read who seem to ignore a person's feelings. Think about it --- writing is a passion. It takes a lot out of an author's heart, soul and time. Most writers sweat every rejection and feel every negative comment, at least until they're swimming in dollars and quit reading reviews (we assume).
We know that if a book is bad, it's not going to sell. If it's really bad, it won't pass muster with a publisher at all. That doesn't mean that any book not being picked up by a publisher is bad at all! We know that with the proliferation of books being written it's impossible to print them all. Timing and a feel for what's popular are important. In our discussion on this blog / column we kind of "assume" that just like there are great musical artists singing in local bars that coulda, shoulda hit it big but just never got in front of the right people, so goes it with all the manuscripts being penned by Stephen King or Ayn Rand wannabees.
We have collectively decided that we will not write negative reviews. We may toss in a suggestion or two, but we're not going to attack an author just 'cause one of us doesn't like their work. We will only review books we like. Could be that one of us will like it, the other will think it stinks. You'll only read what the one who likes it has to say.
For instance, I just finished reading a book that didn't do a thing in the world for me. I read it all the way through hoping there was some redeeming quality to no avail. The characters weren't believable, I couldn't connect with any of them, some popped into major positions in the book but were left dangling without any character development... you get the idea. I ended up skimming much of the book. However, I got to the end. Bad ending, too <g>.
I took a look at the credits and read a bit about the author. Not one of the mega publishers, but respectable house. This was his twentieth novel -- his name was above the title, too. OK, someone is reading his books. Other people identify and like what he's writing.
Different books for different tastes. There are all levels of readers in the world and an unlimited number of reasons for reading books. It could be that my tastes run completely contrary to yours... obviously they run contrary to those who are buying and reading the book I alluded to above!
Well, now that's decided I'm off to read a new book of some sort. My tastes run toward mysteries, science fiction and the occasional political non-fiction book. One of our writers reads only non-fiction. We're waiting to discover what some of our other contributors read!
Oh, and one more comment on our reviews... none of us profess to be professional critics and some are not trained in the art of writing. Please forgive us if we're not always perfect in our grammar.