Something I’ve learned about myself last year is that I really don’t enjoy writing negative reviews.
I don’t read a whole lot of books I end up disliking, at least partially because I look books up on Goodreads extensively before reading them, and can usually tell whether I’ll like something or not in advance. But I did read a handful of one-star and two-star books last year, and I only ended up reviewing one of them.
It’s not that I’m scared that people will be angry with me, or at least, that’s not entirely it. Every time I write a review, whether it’s positive or negative, there’s always this fear that someone will comment on it to say, “LOL let me list all the ways in which you are wrong.” Dealing with that fear is just a part of book blogging, and I can usually handle it.
It’s also not that I don’t like being critical. In fact, sometimes I like writing three-star reviews better than I like writing five-star reviews. As fun as it is to gush about every little detail of a book I loved, there’s also something very satisfying about being able to fill up a “what didn’t work” section. My three-star reviews (eg, Red Queen, A Little in Love, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, Everything, Everything) tend to be the ones I’m most proud of.
But anything below that is just not fun for me. I recently wrote a review of Lock and Mori, a book I really didn’t enjoy, and writing it just felt like dragging myself through concrete. I can do a mini-review like that in a monthly wrap-up, but a full review just feels exhausting.
Sondra here. I’d like to add just one thing to this post. For me it’s also about feeling a little guilty. Like Polina said I like when I can fill up the What Didn’t Work, especially since that section is so hard for me. But I always worry “What if the author finds this? What if the person who dedicated years of their life finds this?” I always worry about that person behind the computers feelings because I didn’t like their book.
And I read a lot. I haven’t counted, but I assume my average is around 14 books a month. I usually don’t review every book I read. I choose the ones I want to talk about the most, and generally, I would rather devote my time and energy to books I enjoyed at least a little bit than books I didn’t like at all.
And I realize negative reviews are in important part of book blogging, and I feel guilty for not writing them as often as I should. So right now I’m torn between “I’ll try to write them more just to balance things out” and “I do what I want”. To be honest, right now I’m leaning towards the second one, but we’ll see how this year goes.