Maureen Johnson started an interesting discussion on Twitter the other day about what makes a good book blog. Opinions varied, but one thing that emerged is that some folks dislike and/or distrust book blogs that don’t contain negative reviews.
As you might have noticed, I don’t do negative reviews. And I’m not going to start. The reason for this is quite simple. If I start reading a book and it’s lousy, I don’t finish it.
I believe that a lot of people are less fond of reading than they might otherwise be because as kids, they’re forced to finish crap books. Or good books that they, for whatever reason, just don’t like. For example, Charles Dickens never blew my skirt up—not as a kid and not now. But I’ve wiled away more hours than I can count with Ed McBain, starting when I was about 8 (yes, my dad was of the mind that I didn’t need to be restricted to kids’ books because reading, by definition, was never going to harm me).
Some people think it’s important to give a book at least 50 pages before giving up on it. My threshold is more like 10 pages. That said, I have occasionally finished books whose characters I was not fond of because they were good stories. Just like I don’t adore every person I meet, some book characters just piss me off. I think that’s OK. I just read one such book, in fact. I didn’t like any of the characters, but they told me a great story so I put up with them.
Oh, and I walk out of bad movies too. So at least I’m consistent.
To be clear: I do marketing/PR/publicity in my day job, but I’m not compensated for anything I do here. If that ever changes, I’ll include a disclosure statement, but I’m never going to sell my honest personal opinion of a book. I’ve managed to get a hold of early review copies of books, but never with any kind of caveat of a positive review, or any review for that matter. I think it’s pretty obvious that what I’m writing here is my opinion, and I’m happy to share my excitement about books, authors and characters I like. If you’re looking for snarky beat-downs of unreadable drivel, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
I’d love to know what you think…do you find book blogs that don’t contain negative reviews less valuable? What do you think makes a book blog interesting and readable?