Recommendations Only Book Reviews

Every now and then, the thought occurs to me to do book reviews. I’m not really sure how that would work, though. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who are writers, and I have qualms about reviewing books written by people I know. Book A gains one star because the author also happens to make amazing brownies. Book B loses 4 stars because it was written by someone I don’t particularly like, and who cannot cook well enough to bribe me.

Did I mention that a co-worker came up to me the other day–eleven and a half months pregnant, and freshly engaged, and told me about the book she’d just published? A million billion stars because pregnant.

If someone’s a part of my writers’ community, and there aren’t happy comments, I always feel like I’m saying something that should have been said before the book was published.

And then, there’s the nature of monetizing a blog.

If you earn money by selling books, there’s no real benefit to posting a review that isn’t positive. Here’s a book. It sucks. It will appeal to recent lobotomy patients, and middle school boys in search of spit wad materials.

I could see doing a Book Recommendations thing. And the fact that everyone’s aware that the non-recommend-y books go in the “Can’t say anything nice” pile might make it seem a little more… honest.

Of course, there’s still the concept of tact and diplomacy.

So, how do other writers approach book reviews? Or do you?


  1. Reply

    I’ve posted only positive reviews. Negative reviews just don’t get posted. If I have to interact with a writer personally over the lack of a review (if it is for some reason conspicuous) it’s an awkward shrug-and-sorry, but it rarely comes to that, because most times they don’t know I’m out here biting my tongue.

    There was one instance in which I was obligated to write a review for an anthology, though. I had such wildly differing opinions on the stories, I couldn’t make a general statement about the antho and had to give my opinion each story. After some agonizing, I finally withdrew my star ratings for each because of the one-star story that made me actually scream profanities raging against its BORING, BORING, BORING PREDICTABILITY AND POOR WRITING AND COMPLETE LACK OF DIMENSION IN ANY CHARACTER AND NO REDEEMING FACTORS START TO FINISH.

    Even without the star ratings, my kindest words boiled down to “I hated it so much with such a depth of passion, probably because it sucked so, so hard?” and it was… yes, majorly awkward to have anything to do with the author afterwards and I’m glad we weren’t personally acquainted because I’d never be able to meet their eyes again. The End.

    • Reply

      For clarity: my opening statement may seem to contradict the following story, but in my head I drew a line between “put the review up on Amazon according to my obligation” (I had received an ARC in exchange for an honest review) and “publish to my personal social media platforms.”

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