So some time ago I came to a decision to review books on my blogs. I was fortunate enough to have a very good book to review – by E A Schechter – and reviewed it in the positive terms it deserved. Interested in a book by a different author – it had an acceptable cover, sounded intelligent – I went so far as to buy a copy in order to review it. I discovered that – in my terms anyway – it was really pretty awful.
So what to do? Review a book I hadn’t been asked to review in terms so potentially damning that I would have made an enemy of the author forever? On the one hand I might have saved a number of readers the disappointment that I experienced, but on the other it was clear to me that the writer would not understand my motivation, would almost certainly misinterpret my critique as some kind of personal attack and might even be tempted – for I have known it happen on even flimsier grounds – to attack my writing as a quid pro quo. Honest criticism I have no problem with, but there are too many opportunities in this vast new digital world for people to slander others for some kind of peculiar pleasure.
I am not going to take that risk. I’ve met too many writers who could not take criticism, seen too many flare-ups and flame-outs. And in recent times I’ve seen too many e-books which appear to have been published without so much as a first edit, replete with typos and errors of more kinds than I care to think of.
If there is something you want reviewing, I’m game. I will read what you send, if I can, but I will only review it if it is a book I would genuinely recommend. And for the most part, as of today, I will be reviewing the little gems I sometimes find on my Kindle, books on most subjects under the sun but which I can frankly endorse.