The idea for this blog post came to me after a recent discussion with another blogger who was arguing the case for rating books five stars. (Check it out here.) Positive book reviews are important. You know why? I love books. I love reading books, I love talking about books and I love hearing about the books that other readers love.
And I also love encouraging others to read.
When we share the books that we love we are more likely to talk them up and write posts that actively encourage people to get out there and give that book a chance. We could very well inspire someone who has not picked up a book in years to read that title. And that can only be a good thing.
What, then, of credibility? If a blogger gives every book a glowing review, do we lose our credibility? Not if that review is written honestly and sincerely.
I will admit, I do write negative reviews from time to time. At times it can feel a little like an occupational hazard. After all, it happens from time to time that I will read a book that I just do not like and when I'm writing 2-3 book reviews a week, it can be difficult to find a replacement read in enough time. And fair enough, I cannot enjoy everything that I read. What I don't understand is why, as a book blogger, I should act as an almighty gatekeeper who must write negative book reviews so that I can warn other readers not to read this book. My reviews, even at their most negative, are not warning labels. They're personal recommendations. Also, reading can be a highly subjective thing. You know what my most hated book is? Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel. My most hated book also just happens to have sold millions of copies over a number of decades, was made into a film and spawned five sequels. It has a 3.98 rating over at goodreads. Who the fuck am I to start warning people not to read a book that has obviously touched many readers, just because I personally did not enjoy it?
As a blogger, I will probably always invest more time and energy into the books that I loved. Those are the posts that are going to get the tweets and shares, those are the books that I am going to actively recommend to other readers.
After all, why bother with a book blog if I do not use it recommend good books?