Booking through thursday: Honesty

I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.
Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?

Ah…I had kind of guessed this weeks BTT question. I have kept away from all that happened concerning a particular author last week, but I guess it’s time I give my valuable 2 cents 🙂
Obviously, it goes without saying that any author should not expect a positive review. If your book is bad, it’s bad. Just get over it and try and write a better book. I think the best thing he could have done was to ignore it completely. All of us read so many reviews everyday that I doubt if anyone would have even remembered the name of the book or the author because of one negative review. Now everybody and will stay away from his books in the future.

We are entitled to write a negative review if we do not like the book. But I guess there are certain things I will keep in mind even if I did not like the book.
1) If I am obliged to write a review, even if negative, I will go ahead and write it. But I will also mention what I have and have not liked about it. More like constructive criticism. But I think most of us already do that.
2) If the copy is received directly from the author, we should be courteous enough to let the author know that we have a very negative reaction to this book and ask him/her if it is okay to post the review at all. The author should not expect anyone to modify the review in any circumstances. This should be obvious and it’s really sad that I have to mention it here.
No disclaimers are required if we are honest with ourselves and we have taken care not to shred the book to pieces just because we did not like it. If any author is offended, so be it. It doesn’t matter in the long run.

*****

This is last weeks BTT. (Why buy?)

I did not access the computer for the entire day so I could not participate that week. But I really like the question. So here it is.

I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?
Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?
If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

I LOVE buying books. I love to see them displayed on my shelf. I love to be able to refer back to something I have read before (I don’t do that very often though). And I love to arrange my bookshelf once in a while.
The library near my house is pretty bad. You can get all the very very popular books, but most of the time they are already issued and I don’t like waiting for something I really want to read.
I got to the library only if I am in a mood for a chick-lit or a Nora Roberts or a Mills and Boon book. Otherwise I generally buy my books.

In the last 30 days alone I have bought more than 20 books. I know, too many, but I am trying to control. My salary this year has doubled, so I kind of get carried away when I am in the bookstore.
Although I think it is good to use the library system, I find there is different thrill in owning books.
 

*****
book_witches_abroadI have heard a lot about Terry Pratchett’s discworld novels, but I haven’t read any. So I did what anyone would do. I bought one of the discworld titles – ‘Witches abroad’. And now, I am really finding it difficult to get into it. First of all I have no clue what discworld is. I couldn’t understand much and I was really keen on reading the book.
Now I have a couple of questions. If anybody would answer them for me without spoilers I would be very grateful
1) What is discworld?
2) Do I need to read the books in a sequential order? If yes, which is the first book I should start with?

*****

Also, I have been meaning to read P.G.Wodehouse for a long time. But I don’t know where to start. If you have ever read a Wodehouse novel before, which one would you suggest as an introduction to his work?

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14 thoughts on “Booking through thursday: Honesty

  1. Hey Violet,

    I think reviewers should always be honest, regardless where the books come from. I’d never say a book is fantastic if I don’t like certain aspects of it.

    However, reviewers should always be respectful and clear when pointing out what they don’t like. I’ve seen some reviews using inappropriate and crude language and that’s really turn-offish, not to mention hurtful to the author.

  2. 1) Discworld is a world that stands on the back of four elephants, which in turn are standing on the shell of a giant turtle, Great A’Tuin. I promise it’s not as silly as it sounds 😛 It’s also a world that defies the laws of probability to such an extent that the only thing holding it together is magic. Which is why you’ll often hear that in Discworld, a one in a million chance happens 9 times out of 10.

    2) A tough question. I really don’t think reading them in publication order is necessary or even advisable, simply because the first few are not nearly as good. You will probably find this chart useful. As you can see, Witches Abroad is the third book in the Witches sub-series, and the fact that the characters have been introduced before could be why you’re finding it less newbie friendly. A few that I recommend as starting points: Mort, Equal Rites, Small Gods, The Wee Free Men or The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. The first two are Discworld YA books, and I remember that a greater effort is made to contextualize readers.

    I’m really sorry you haven’t been able to get into it so far 😦 Witches Abroad is actually one of my favourites. But it wasn’t the first one I read, so I didn’t have to make sense of a whole new world while reading it.

  3. Melody: I have just started to do that and i think hence forth i’ll remember to NOT forget to do that either 🙂

    Jace: Agreed. A little consideration could really be nice.

    Thanks Nymeth, I knew you would certainly be helpful at this. The chart looks so complicated, LOL!!!
    But I’ll take your suggestions with the YA novels. Thanks so much.

  4. I agree with you with one exception. The author who sends me their book is not working in tandem with me. We are doing separate jobs. When I publish my review–be it negative or positive–I stand by my work. The author certainly can feel free to contact me for a professional discussion or comment, but no way am I running a negative review by an author before I publish. Come see my answer.

  5. I don’t think you HAVE to read the Disk World novels in order, but if you’re finding it hard going, it might help you just because some characters re-occur.

    I found my first one difficult but now I really like them.

  6. Betty: I tried to find the links for you, but looks like they are deleted. I could not follow them through the google reader.

    I’ll sum it up for you.
    There was a negative review put up for one of the books. The author mailed the reviewer and asked her to remove the book cover and quote from the review as he said it violated the copyright rules or something like that. It kind of went haywire after that. Everyone commented what a person he was to not take a negative (mind you constructive) review in the right way. There were many people who pitched in saying how wrong the author was.

    Now, he tried to clarify himself.
    He said he had never used bad words against the said reviewer, he had simply asked to remove a certain things. He said the reviewer had won the book in the contest and nobody asked her to review it. He said a lot of things actually.

    Another blogger (those links are deleted too) posted her email correspondence with him on the same issue which really put the author in bad light. Thats about it I guess. I’ll mail you if i find anything else.

  7. hmmmm. I’m no writer but as a musician I’ve been on the end of a few reviews in my time (some positive, some not so much! )

    Negative reviews are never easy to take, but there’s a big difference between constructive and deconstructive criticism. If someone dismisses your hard work and best efforts as ‘rubbish’ then you can’t learn anything from it. (And it’s hard not to take it personally if it’s something you’ve put your heart and soul into… ) If they say in a balanced way what exactly they didn’t like (and why), then you can learn a lot from it and it can be very helpful.

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion and entitled to express it. Personally I prefer it when that’s done gently and sensitively, but I’m often guilty of not doing so myself, I’m afraid…

  8. This is a great blog. The book sound interesting – but the chart looks frightening! I’d love to see how the writer shows such a wonderful and creative world such as discworld…looks like I’ll be out to buy this one.

    Hawk

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