Thu. Sep 19th, 2019

Read 4 Fun

Read the short reviews, read the book, comment

Thoughts on a Reviewer Mentality

3 min read

About a year ago I was reading a lot and made a decision to write a review every time I finished a book. I felt it would impose some measure of discipline on my reading. Much like running/jogging/exercise, if I missed a scheduled workout, I would feel guilty. Avoiding guilt is good.

I ended up writing, to date, approximately a couple of hundred reviews. I can’t be exact, because I made mistakes. When coming to the end of an Amazon book on my Android Kindle app, a dialogue box would ask me to rate the book. Early on, I hit the appropriate star rating thinking I would be able to add comments. I couldn’t. So Amazon stats relating to my reviews are incorrect. I don’t think a star rating by itself is a review.

Two months ago, I set up a personal challenge. I started a blog on WordPress (no prior experience of any kind) and I resolved to write a review per day. Which meant I had to read something per day that was review worthy. My goal was an epub of 300-350 words. I could handle larger works because I like to read six or seven things at a time and eventually it works out. Also, I found short fiction, flash fiction, and novellas had some really good writing. So, there were built-in breaks.

The schedule has worked out, but there is always an evolution in process, so I wanted to take today to look back at what I had done in the first 60 days of my blog.

Firstly, the tenor of some of my reviews has changed. Pre-blog, I chose what I wanted to read; my reviews were overwhelmingly (all except one) positive. I found Library Thing and started requesting books in my areas of interest. I discovered some of them were not exactly as described in their promotional blurbs. Thus, I have posted some negative reviews (so far, only two, but another one is coming soon). I don’t like to be negative, but to not notice the negatives would be self-defeating, why review or think about the work at all?

I always try to find at least one positive thing to say about any writing attempt. I have succeeded in one (soon to be two) of my negative reviews. I have only found one novel attempt to be completely without value. I am not going to go back to find it, but I remember my comment. I noted that the title was the best part of the work and it was not very good. I encouraged potential readers not to go past the title, it would waste their time. After my post, I went to the Amazon review site and found no star ratings above One. Some reviewers had asked for a Zero rating to be included in the choices.

I like to check other review sites after I post my review; it is pleasant to see that I am fairly consistent with mainstream opinion. Only once (not the negative review) was I completely out of step. But that was OK. Although I do not live in the US, I travelled here from the Land of Trump. When I am out-of-synch, I just proclaim myself to be right in the alternate reality I inhabit.



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