Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review Dilemma

I've been getting books to review, as you can see on the left side bar.  When I write the reviews I try to find nice things to say.  I've never had a problem until now.  I accepted a book I thought would be more on the spiritual, theological, emotional, psychological side of something.  Instead it was full of faux or incorrect "history."

It's really hard to think of what to write, besides criticism of the book.  I don't know if the publicist wants such honesty.  He may never send me another book!  I do have a nice supply of books I still haven't reviewed.  This one has me stuck.

Of course, I don't get paid for writing the reviews.  I just get the books for free.  I've given some away as gifts, after being very honest with the recipients explaining that they are complementary books I've reviewed which I'm sure they'll like.  I gave my sister-in-law all of the new cookbooks.  She loves cooking from recipes, so they were the perfect gifts for her when we visited this summer.  I gave a single woman   I Only Want to Get Married Once by Chana Levitan after first asking her if she'd be interested.

Now I'm stuck.  I'd appreciate your input.  Thanks


Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

is your criticism something that the publisher and/or author need to know? is it something that can be fixed? maybe there is a way to say it in a diplomatic way?

mother in israel said...

1. You are not obligated to write a review just because you got a copy.
2. I think that if you already went to the trouble of reading you should share your concerns with your readers and risk the publisher's wrath.
3. I'm beginning to think I need to charge for doing reviews, even though that will theoretically compromise my review. I would disclose of course. They take time and do not bring so much traffic.

Hadassa said...

If there are "facts" in the book that are incorrect then shouldn't you inform the publisher, who should inform the writer? Have you obligated yourself to writing a review by receiving the book? Could you relieve yourself of the obligation by returning the book with a list of the incorrect "facts"?

Mrs. S. said...

IMHO, "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything" also applies when blogging.

But maybe the considerate thing to do is to contact the publicist and ask him if he prefers a negative review or no review at all?

mother in israel said...

Some people say that negative reviews are lashon hara. But I don't know of a way to discuss ideas without allowing criticism.

Batya said...

Leah, it's pretty hard to be diplomatic when statments are so far from the truth.

mii, I kept thinking that I have to review, but I guess you're right. There was a time I got reviews into the JPOST and even got a bit of money, but that was a long time ago.

Hadassa, the mistakes are too big to just "correct." I don't get paid, so why should I do more than read and write?

mii, I feel that it's moral to warn people.

I think