Objectivity in book reviews: can you be honest AND objective?

book-review-objectivityThese past few weeks I have read some rather unpleasant comments about book reviewers. Blogger ‘bashing’ seems popular just now.


An example of this blogger bashing:

https://prettymessreading.wordpress.com/…/dear-book-blogge…/

When someone – anyone – calls me or my fellow book bloggers dishonest – then steam starts to come out of my ears.13420806205_766b819771

When I give a book 5 stars it is because I love it. I’ve recently given a book 2 stars because it wasn’t to my taste. Everyone’s taste is different. I get most of my books from NetGalley, Edelweiss or directly from publishers. They do not cost me anything, yet I still rate them ALL as according to my enjoyment of them. Why would anyone post anything this hurtful. I do not lie when reviewing books! I do try to be kind, as I know authors invest a lot of emotion, time, and hard work writing. Just because I don’t care for it, there is probably someone out there who does. I try to find something positive to say even when I only give it 2 stars… Does that make me dishonest?  If I give a book 5 stars and I LOVE it, does that mean I’m dishonest because I didn’t pay for the book?

I posted the above comment to a Facebook group and this is one response I got:
“you should try to critique the work without reference to personal taste”.

My thoughts:

I think this is impossible. Complete objectivity is a myth. A reader brings his/herself to the book in question. They bring their own personal experiences and history to the reading experience. That influences how they ‘relate’ to the book they are reading. All reviewers, all people, have a unique perspective on all things – including books. If it takes me 5 days to read a 300 page book, it obviously was a struggle for me to read it. I will not be giving that book as high a rating as one which I read in one day, or one sitting. Obviously I enjoyed the book that held my attention more than the one I struggled with. Thus, my personal taste directly influenced my rating.star-rating-vs

The MOST compelling thing that influences my ‘personal taste’ is characterization. If I can connect in some level to the characters, then my reading experience will have a much more positive outcome, thus my rating will be higher. If, in my personal opinion, the book was written in an amateurish way, it will get a lower rating. I’ve read a lot of high quality fiction and I can now recognize superior writing when I read it.

I would say that I get about 90% of the books I read for free. I DO NOT feel that I have to compromise my opinions when reviewing these books.  If the publisher or author does not want to give me any more free books, then that is their choice.  I am grateful that that has not happened to me, regardless of the stars – or lack thereof, I have given their book.

Do you think you can honestly review a book without the influence of your ‘personal taste’?  I’d love to hear your opinion.

On  a more positive note… i-heart-book-bloggers

Thankfully there are some great authors and bloggers out there who appreciate our efforts.  Barbara Copperthwaite for one. She writes:
I know there has been some blogger bashing going on recently, and some of you are feeling battered and bruised, and wondering why on earth you should carry on. But I just wanted to take a moment to tell you the difference connecting with you has made to me as an author.
Connecting with the blogger community has given me a place of friendship when writing gets lonely; a place where I know my work will be judged fairly (whether positively or negatively); somewhere where I can share my passion for reading so that we can engage in constructive discussions about our love of books. You have given me confidence in my writing, which has helped push me on when I’ve doubted myself. And your comments have also helped to improve my work. I’m a better writer because of you lovely bloggers.
The blogging community is passionate, exceptionally hard-working, honest, and is so very appreciated. Your praise has to be earned, and your criticisms are measured, constructive and useful. You make such a huge difference to authors every single day. Please believe that for every person who has something unfounded and negative to say about you, there are a thousand others who KNOW the truth and are singing your praises.For most of us it is a labor of love, with no financial compensation.

On behalf of myself AND my fellow book bloggers, I want to personally thank Barbara for her defense of book reviewers/bloggers.heart-thanks


I urge you to read this post which states:

“The best book reviews are the ones that avoid the pitfall of objectivity because in reviewing books there no such thing.”
and
“Books are not a one size fits all. The readers own preferences and expectations must be taken into account when reading a review.”
and
“A good reviewer is honest as to his preferences. He is clear in his assessments and pointed in his explanations for them. He doesn’t shy away from making his opinions known or making it known that they are but opinions.”

I am in full agreement with this!


A fellow book blogger, Jenny in Neverland wrote:download

An individual book review may not change the world or anyone’s writing career but it is an important part of the much more grander puzzle.

One tiny little book review can lead to another blogger buying the book and leaving a review. Who then recommends the book to their mum. Who then reads it and recommends it to a work colleague. You see where I’m going with this?

The butterfly effect.

So whether you’re a newbie book blogger or a more experienced book blogger, a professional book reviewer or you just leave a quick review on Amazon every so often, your reviews matter. They shape the literary world, one word at a time.


Those who spend countless hours reading and reviewing books for NO compensation other than book love know this.  Spread the book love… one book, and one BLOG post at a time.blogging-love

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About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book bloggers, book reviews, Fiction, Reading and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

98 Responses to Objectivity in book reviews: can you be honest AND objective?

  1. I read her blog post but I didn’t feel it was offensive because she was talking about certain book bloggers who’re lying or copying each other work. And we read the books more as readers who’re going to recommend it to other readers. I don’t think book bloggers are more than that. We might love reading books so much and we can read a 100 books in 6 months but in the end we’re readers who can make a book be the bestselling for the year or no one would buy it.

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  2. It is really strange to me that people would blogger bash. If you don’t like someone’s style of reviewing then don’t read their blog. It is a choice not an obligation. I personally love reading people’s reviews and hearing their thoughts on different books.

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    • Fictionophile says:

      I know right? Everyone is entitled to their own views. And the author who told me I should “try to critique the work without reference to personal taste” is, in my humble opinion, deluding himself. Why would I bother reviewing at all if I couldn’t tell others how I felt about the work?

      Like

  3. Allie P. says:

    As an author, I am less inclined to throw in the towel after getting a poor review when I know it was simply not a good match for a reviewer’s personal taste than a review that breaks down all of my book baby’s flaws with medical level objectivity. As long as I know it was more a matter of taste, then I still have hope that a better fitting audience may still be out there.

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    • Fictionophile says:

      A healthy attitude. There is a reader for every book – and a book for every reader. When I really do NOT enjoy a book, I always make certain that I mention who I think WILL like it. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Tina Frisco says:

    Reblogged this on TINA FRISCO and commented:
    This is a brilliant post by Lynne at Fictionophile on book reviews and blogger bashing. A poignant question raised is: Can you write a book review that’s totally devoid of personal preference? I don’t think anyone can write a completely objective book review that doesn’t sound as if they’re dissecting the author’s writing skills. If you’re incensed by blogger bashing, this is a must-read.

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  5. I think I’m going to put a disclaimer on my reviews page that *all* of my reviews are based on my personal taste!

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  6. Christie says:

    I haven’t been on the receiving end of any blogger bashing – although, Lord knows, I’ve bashed my share of books (*cough*Fifty Shades of Grey*cough*). A review by its very nature is subjective. C’mon, how could it be anything but? So people who get their knickers in a knot because I didn’t love their book…kinda silly. Like you, I have read a lot. I can tell the difference between a book with a snappy plot and mediocre writing and a book with awe-inspiring prose that goes nowhere or a book that would have been perfect except for the wooden characterization. I have loads of bookish guilty pleasures, too. But – your opinion and my opinion don’t need to be the same. Isn’t that why book clubs are so much fun? Why a discussion of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code was so fiery at my book club. Some people called that book life-changing and I (*cough*hack*cough*) hated it. The fact that people get so incensed when someone’s opinion is different from their own is one of the reasons the world is in such a pickle. 🙂 Hope you’re surviving #snowmageddon! Day two without school here in Saint John.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fictionophile says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As for snowmageddon… we were without power for six hours yesterday. All the clearing we did last night has drifted in again😣

      Like

  7. Pingback: #Bookblogger bashing: in the end, you’re only hurting yourself #MondayBlogs | Rosie Amber

  8. Donna says:

    My experience with a book cannot be objective because a word, character or situation resonates with me on a personal level, that is what makes the difference between ratings and readers.Objectivity cannot me achieved and shouldn’t try to be in my opinion, if we want to stay true to the stories and to ourselves. I feel like a review is personal but I share for several reasons. First, I believe telling an author or publisher what work or did not work for me is important, then because I want to take what’s inside of me, what emotions were triggered, and see if there are others who might be interested by this journey offered by the book. I want to help other readers find books that will make them feel, good or bad thing. If I don’t like a book, I feel it important to say it too, after all, your tastes make who you are and you should not be ashamed of them. With respect and a bit of work, I review books I did not like, and I try to explain it in a way that won’t necessarily discourage others to try them. The way I get books, free or not, has nothing to do with how I review. My entire person, my experience, my life, has everything to do with it. I review because I care for books.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t think I could write reviews without my personal tastes. I make sure that I make it clear that my reviews are based on my personal tastes. I also know when reading other peoples book reviews that most of the time they are basing it off their personal tastes and would never bash them if they hated a book I love or vice versa.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you so much for this! ❤ I try to do both in my reviews, but it is indeed a laborious task… A constant battle between my heart and my brain! (Almost to the death)
    It's been a rough time for bloggers everywhere so let's hope things calm down a little and we can all go back to loving books in our own way, without fighting over it.

    Like

  11. Samantha says:

    I personally think that 100% objective reviews are impossible; whether it’s books or movies or something else, you can’t help but bring your own experiences, interests, tastes and opinions to the table. They shape your world view, and the way you experience the book you’re reading, which in turn influences the rating you’d give this book and anything you’d have to say about it. If I wouldn’t feel one way or another about a book, then honestly, that book didn’t resonate with me and I wouldn’t have much to talk about in a review.

    An honest review for me is including both the positive and negative sides of a certain work, but even that’s subjective. If I were to experience a certain aspect as negative, another person might not be bothered by it or even consider it a positive point. And that’s fine! Thankfully, we’re all different people, and we won’t have the same opinions about a given book.

    Short version: reviews are basically opinions and it’s impossible to be completely objective.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Christine says:

    I am not a blogger, but do leave reviews of everything I read on Goodreads, Amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and Net Galley. To think that a reviewer must be “objective” is ludicrous. What would be the point of individual reviews if that were the case? Outstanding post, Lynne, and I agree with you 100%. Proud of you for putting it out there!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. At the end of the day I read because I want to, and I like to, and I leave reviews only because that opens me the possibility to read more books. So, obviously, personal taste (for me) has to be taken in consideration. That’s why I only read/review books from genres I like. We already do too many things in life because we have to, reading should not be one of them, unless you are in the business.

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    • Fictionophile says:

      I agree. The reason I like to review books from NetGalley and Edelweiss is because from them I can CHOOSE the books I read. If I’m approached by an author or a publisher there is a good chance the book on offer just isn’t my type of read. Life is too short, and there are too many wonderful books out there, to read something out of duty.

      Like

  14. Of course, the enjoyment of a book is very objective. I think you can review – some of – a book objectively. I always try to review the writing AND the story. I have actually given 4 star reviews to books I didn’t enjoy because the writing was superb and the story ticked all the boxes – it just wasn’t my thing. But it’s hard work which takes up a lot of time. I am now very picky about the books I review (unfortunately, I am still a sucker for someone who begs well). Speaking of which … time to get back to that TBR

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    • Fictionophile says:

      Reviewing some books makes for more ‘hard work’ than others. Like you I try to be objective about some elements of the book, but I always include my personal reaction to it as well. If there is nothing you can praise about the book (don’t think this has ever happened to me), then try to imagine WHO WOULD like it, and add that comment.
      YOUR pros and cons about the book won’t necessarily be the same as mine. Vive la différence!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I also try to imagine who would like the book and add that on the end “great for lovers of…” I have to admit I also don’t give 1 or 2 stars. If a book is headed in that direction, I let the author know and don’t finish it.

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  15. Reblogged this on Chat About Books and commented:
    An excellent discussion post here…..

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  16. I both write (historical crime fiction) and review under a pseudonym). If I review, I don’t read anyone else’s reviews until I have posted mine. I also make sure that I look at: plotline, style, readability, characterization, pace and analyze them rationally. I will add a final ‘personal’ comment, which might refer the reader to other books, or admit that this was not to my taste BUT still worth reading if you like this genre. I DO think there are some reviewers/ readers who use reviewing as a chance to get ‘revenge’ I have had such reviews. Or to diss a successful writer because they feel they are not doing as well. Had those too. But if Amazon offers the chance for readers to review and you personally don’t like it, there is an answer: don’t sell on Amazon. As for book bloggers, you know the ‘deal’. Same criteria. Have had good and less good reviews myself Actually, if you re THAT angry about them, maybe you might consider a different career? Or a read of J K Rowling/Stephen King/Dan Brown’s reviews! They get some stinkers!

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  17. Excellent post, Lynne. I agree with lots of the comments already made. In my experience authors, and other readers, tend to prefer the personal reviews. I know I do.

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  18. I totally agree with this! Everyone has their own preferences. More often than not, I base my reviews on how it made me feel and how I felt connected to the story. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. 🙂

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  19. Oh yes I one hundred percent agree with you about personal taste influencing enjoyment of a book. I definitely find this happens to me- sometimes I feel like this may not be fair to the author cos I’ve had a particular experience that they’re trying to relate, but they haven’t got it accurate to my experience, so I find it harder to relate to (I try not to be too hard on the book in this case) But yeah, longwinded way of saying yes I agree! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. A book that I can’t take personally on some level is not a book worth reading.

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  21. Shouni says:

    I agree with you, I don’t think anyone can review a book without bringing their own experiences into it. I don’t think I know any book bloggers who rave about books they didn’t like. I personally almost always give favorable reviews because if I finished a book, it probably means I liked it.

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    • Fictionophile says:

      Thanks. I agree. What would be the point of writing a positive review if you disliked the book? What would you gain, other than disrespect for yourself and the disrespect of others?

      Like

  22. FictionFan says:

    I wouldn’t ‘bash’ bloggers, but I do think that there are an awful lot of glowing reviews out there for books that are pretty badly written, and I don’t really understand why. It is all a matter of subjective taste, and I certainly don’t agree that reviews should be objective, but it beats me why people enjoy books where the author hasn’t got a grasp of grammar or uses the words wrongly. But my own view is that if I follow a couple of glowing reviews from a reviewer and discover the book is poor (I mean badly written as opposed to just not to my taste) then I simply won’t take any more recommendations from that particular reviewer.

    I also think there’s a real danger that bloggers are getting too close to authors and publishers – it’s always harder to be honestly negative when one chit-chats to the author on Twitter or FB. But each to her own – we all have the ability to unfollow as easily as to follow, and that seems like a more courteous action than spouting an ill-tempered, badly written, foul-mouthed rant all over the blogosphere, like the first post you linked to… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fictionophile says:

      Interesting points. We book reviewer bloggers are also ‘fans’. The internet has made authors and publishers easier to access than every before. Perhaps we need to distance ourselves?

      As to your first point… I think many bloggers, especially younger ones, are not as concerned about writing and grammar as people of my generation. Schooling is slanted away from composition and grammar and more toward content/the story these days. (I know because my daughter-in-law is an elementary teacher). I went to school in the 60s and 70s when spelling, grammar, and the language arts were taught in a more serious way. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, I’m just writing my observations. Hope I haven’t offended anyone. How can we expect these skills to be evident if they are not taught? But that’s a discussion for another day…

      I agree that most people will only follow the blogs that they find dependable – those where they respect that bloggers recommendations more often than not.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Thankfully I’m not active in the 2 groups that appear to have initiated this latest round of blogger bashing, but I’m au fait with the general gist of their ‘objections’ . As far as I’m concerned I am a reader (real the last time I looked) who writes my reviews for other readers. My reviews say what I liked (or didn’t ) and why – so by default they’re subjective and will stay that way. If people don’t like them it’s simple – don’t read them. My blog is exactly that, my chosen reading and my views.
    I’m not a profligate 5 star giver, but by and large I write positive reviews. But as the bulk of my reading is chosen by me from NetGalley it stands to reason I’m going to like it more often than not. If I’m spending my time reading and reviewing for free, why would I opt to read something I might not like. So I shall ignore the naysayers and carry on as normal – I know my reviews are an honest reflection of what I’ve read, whatever someone else chooses to think.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. LairOfBooks says:

    I absolutely LOVE this post! as a blogger who uses Netgalley & Edelweiss frequently, i’ve learned to only request books that fit my taste & that I know I’ll at the very minimum Like if not love. I always keep in mind that behind every word there is a pen and a human wielding that pen, I think many are quick to forget that. Disliking a book doesn’t mean you have to bash but I do feel that some bloggers will bash because negative reviews drive up the likes & followers. We all know that reviews are probably the least liked posts but we do them because we want to share our love/dislike for a book with other bookworms. I never understood the mentality behind that, people legit wanting to see an author get their behind handed to them smh. There is such a thing as reviewing fairly & tbh I can always find 1 thing I liked in my most disliked read. You CAN state your opinion/feelings w/out being a douche (pardon my french lol). Its great to see others feel this way too, great discussion post 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Everyone’s got different opinions and when reviewing anything especially books those different opinions will more likely show up. It’s so important to respect those opinions even when one isn’t in agreement.

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  26. I actually think it is better when personal taste is mentioned in reviews so long as the reviewer states this. When I review books I don’t like, or didn’t think reached their potential, I try to take a step back and talk about why I don’t like a book relevant to me. For example, I’ve had books I DNF where I explain that the book just isn’t for me but I think other people might enjoy it. It’s impossible to leave out personal taste because the very meaning of a book review is to share what you think.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Emma says:

    Great post. If really don’t get why bloggers attack each other. If you don’t like a blog – for whatever reason – don’t follow it and don’t worry about what that blogger is writing. I don’t worry too much about objectivity I don’t think and go for honestly how the book makes me feel. I do think you are right about respecting writers as they put a lot into books even if you don’t like the book. I always say sorry when I don’t like a book because I feel bad and end on the idea that this just wasn’t a book for me. I also think that I like a lot of the review copies I read because – as Sarah and others say – I request books I think I’ll like or authors I know. I don’t request many ARCs so that’s more likely to lead to a positive review – though not always as I already had this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Tatter Jack says:

    Let me start by being honest (heh, a Bad Habit(tm) I’m trying to break.
    I’m an author.
    I’ll carry on being honest – my psychiatrist tells me it’s like any addiction. Cold turkey is just for Boxing day, not for life (blush). I’ve had less than positive reviews sometimes.
    And for my final honesty? At least, for now? I’ve had _amazing_ reviews. Well, let’s call that my ‘almost fina’, because I’ve got one more. I’ve had at least one amazing review from at least one person who’s replied to this post. For the same book as at least one of the less-than-impressed reviews.
    And you know what? I genuinely and sincerely value both kinds. I genuinely and sincerely treasure every review. _Every_ review. Because even if someone posts a ‘Did Not Finish’ type review (and I’m lucky enough not to have had one of those yet, though I’m sure I will), that person took the time to try to read my book. And whether they loved it or hated it, gave an honest opinion of it. Or rather, of their view of it. And that view, a _reader_ view, is 100% – actually, bugger that, 99999999% – valid, important and something to be take pride in. Because someone deluged with titles every day decided _my_ book was worth taking a run at. Whether at the end of that run they were exhausted, delighted – or stopped running part way.
    I love every reviewer out there. I love the ones who’ve turned me down, the ones who’ve accepted me – and the ones who never replied. Because whether they replied to me or not, whether they hated my sub letter, or were just too busy, or had just jetted off to Hawaii with their smallest bikini/ racer briefs and the partner of their dreams, it doesn’t matter. Because book bloggers, book reviewers? They’re about the only reason the non John Grishams, the not-yet JK Rowlings of the writing world are even heard of. And my thanks to you all – every one of you.

    Er – now, about my review submission? <—- heh. This is meant to be humour. Please don't take it seriously :-)))

    Liked by 3 people

    • Fictionophile says:

      Thanks so much for the supportive, heartfelt, and humor-filled comment. With an attitude like yours success is sure to follow.

      Like

  29. I really appreciate this post for several reasons right now. So thank you. I think this is a topic we skirt around sometimes, but it affects a lot of us.

    For me, my review is that “my” review. I am totally sharing my opinion of the book. Reading is such an individualized and personal experience. I am so confused by the idea of ever leaving your personal thoughts out. I am not writing a critiquing essay for a college course. I am sharing my experience on my blog.. hence. “This review is of my own and unbiased opinion.”

    While I am learning to just move past the hate and ignore “bashing”, you hit the nail here so I hope this will help others who might be struggling. I know I did for a period in the beginning and still can feel discouraged when I see the bashing in my feeds.

    Thank you ❤

    Liked by 5 people

    • Fictionophile says:

      I’m glad that this post resonated with you and so many others. The author who wrote “you should try to critique the work without reference to personal taste” is deluding himself in my opinion.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Deluding or perhaps confused at to what book reviews do in general. It is sad. I know it has been said, but thank you again for taking the time to address a hot topic.

        I need to learn to stop being so dismissive all of the time. While it is great to have the ability to let some things roll off the shoulder, it is also important to stand alongside of this wonderful community. And that means being attentive to how everyone is being effected, not just myself. I needed the reminder.

        Like

  30. Christine Smith says:

    Gosh.well I am not a lovely balanced person like the rest of you and two thing struck me about the awful article you gave the link for:
    1.She appears to be a book blogger – so I am guessing what is going on there is trying to s***t the opposition.
    2. the name of her blog is hugely appropriate – it is a total MESS. I will confess to hating gifs in reviews but can tolerate a few. That article, to me is largely unreadable anyway. When you add her extremely patronising writing style, I would not get too upset. I feel very strongly that she is aiming for reaction – any reaction.

    Of course a review involves someones personal taste – how can it be otherwise? you are a human being, not a robot, and what you are giving people is your personal response to a book.

    I do review books but I am not a blogger as you can probably tell. Your blog is one of the very few I follow faithfully and then file away for future reference. That will certainly not be the case with the shock-jock page I just read, as I prefer your thoughtful and well-written reviews to being beaten around the head by someone determined to be controversial at all costs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fictionophile says:

      Wow… thanks Christine. I know that you are correct in that this blogger clearly just wanted to provoke a reaction – and I fell prey to her trap. LOL
      The comment “you should try to critique the work without reference to personal taste” came from an author (whom I will not name here). Thanks for following my blog and accepting my reviews in the manner in which they were intended.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. joyousreads says:

    I remember running into this problem when I read a book about Donald Trump. Lol. It’s tough sometimes especially when you have an extreme hate/love for the person you’re reading about. I find that I don’t run into the same problem when I’m reading fiction, though. I’m all about the story regardless of how I feel about the writer.

    Like

    • Fictionophile says:

      For me it is character above story and above writer. All are important in fiction, but if I can’t connect is some small way to the characters, then for me…. all is lost. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Like

  32. Thank you for writing this! I think it’s so silly to assume that just because one person didn’t like a book then the book is AWFUL and everyone else is a liar. That’s the beauty of book blogging and reading other blogs! You get the opportunity to read others’ opinions! Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Wow, amazing post! No need to thank me for recognising the wonderful work of bloggers ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  34. This is such a great post! Thank you for writing it. I had no idea this was going on. It’s really too bad. Book bloggers aren’t exactly reviewing for money or fame. We do it because we share a love of books.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Like you, characterization is a BIGGIE with me that determines how I feel about a book. Regarding objectivity, if someone has the power to honestly review a book without regard to their own personal taste, then more power to them. A book is like anything else – songs, movies, plays, etc. – not everyone likes the same thing. If a book bores me to death or I just don’t like it, I try to find positive points about the book, but I’m not going to give it a higher rating to be objective. The majority of my reviews are positive reviews, but like you mentioned, I CHOOSE what I want to read and review. If I receive a review request for something I have no interest in at all, I won’t read it. We do this for fun, love of books, and to support authors and the book community (not financial compensation) so why choose things we know we won’t like?

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I LOVE this post! I’ve been reviewing books for years even though I’m a newbie blogger, I’ve reviewed books I love and books I’ve not loved. And I always try to find something positive to put in a review for something I’ve not loved. I personally think it’s pretty impossible to review without reference to personal taste – the world would be a very boring place if we all had the same tastes. And I am with you 100% on characterisation – if I don’t like the characters or connect with them then my enjoyment of a book suffers. Again this is something I’m not shy about putting in my reviews!

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Ha, I read your reviews BECAUSE you give your honest opinion! I agree with it often enough that you’ve helped me find several books that I enjoyed, but might never have discovered without your recommendation. (And seriously, any author who doesn’t thank a reviewer for pointing out how they could make their next book better is in the wrong business.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fictionophile says:

      Thanks Jonelle. Finding people with similar tastes in reading is what it is all about. Being completely objective would defeat the purpose of reviewing in my opinion. Reviews ARE opinions.

      Like

  38. LizScanlon says:

    Reblogged this on Cover to Cover and commented:
    So… read this! My appreciation for bloggers/readers/anyone who understands what book blogging and reviewing is really about, went sky high. I don’t always pay attention to not freely waste my time in getting involved with the bashers because they’re out there and they say what they say and fighting windmills and all that, but Fictionophile here pulled together a really really lovely response.

    Like

  39. LizScanlon says:

    Wow! That post you linked to at the start of your post was … strong! Your take on it and the Barnabas Piper post you linked were spot on, though…
    I don’t pay a lot of attention to the blogger bashing- I just don’t have time for it, nor do I care what the ‘haters’ have to say because obviously they’re looking at it from their own very speshul angle… I’m glad I read this post, though, because you and everyone else standing up to the bashers are warriors and you spend a lot of time, love and brain cells to stand up for the good community. Thank you for this.. I shall be reblogging!

    Like

  40. Sarah says:

    I think something else that blogger bashers fail to take into account is the fact that if you are requesting a book for review, you are going to request something that you think you will like! I don’t like violent crime fiction, so I would never request a violent crime fiction book. I think Christian historical romances tend to be super hokey, so I don’t request those, either. The point is, I think that yes, a lot of blogger reviews tend to be very positive, but that seems to me like the natural result of picking up a book that you already think you are going to like.

    I also think bloggers are looking for totally different things in their reading and reviewing than “professional” reviewers. We tend to look for simply something we enjoy, while “professionals” tend to dissect books to extract “deeper meaning.” Sometimes I think this leads to “professionals” acting like bloggers don’t really know anything about literature or what makes a good book, but I think the truth of the matter is that we have a completely different list of things we’re looking to get out of our reading.

    Anyway, blogging is a personal thing and a place for you to express your personal opinion, so don’t let those haters get you down!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fictionophile says:

      I SO agree with your first comment Sarah. We book reviewers do CHOOSE the books we review – so it stands to reason that we give a lot of high ratings. Honest high ratings I might add.
      I realize that there are many more lovers than haters – thank goodness. Thanks SO much for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah says:

        haha it’s kind of like ordering your favorite dessert when you go out to eat and then being super happy about how delicious it is…and having the person at the next table say that there isn’t anyway that you enjoy it that much! I mean, you picked a dessert you thought you would like… and then you liked it! Not sure why people act surprised about that.

        Anyway, keep enjoying your books (and desserts) – I quite enjoy your reviews!!

        Like

      • Fictionophile says:

        Ha-ha! Thanks Sarah. I love your analogy!

        Liked by 1 person

  41. I completely agree that book reviews are subjective. I don’t think there’s anyway to get around that, and I don’t think you should try. The purpose of reviews is to connect the right readers with the right books. And the process still works if the review has a negative rating as long as the reviewer is honest about why they chose the rating they did. A reviewer will always have different parameters for judging a book than a reader will because we’re all different. I can admire the exquisite word choices and vibrant characters of a work and still dislike the book because it had a serial killer in it and it offends my sensibilities, or whatever. It makes me sad when authors have difficulty with the process of reviewing. I do understand it. Writing is hard and personal work, and it doesn’t feel very good when your work doesn’t resonate with someone the way you think it should. But readers need book bloggers. And so do authors. Please don’t give up!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I am confused why any reader could think you could review a book without personal taste. We all have personal taste, that is why one book will work perfectly for me and it won’t work at all for you. As long as we critique in a nice way and not in a harmful way I see no reason that it should be a problem. I love reading why some books didn’t work for some bloggers. For example I am very character driven reader, if the book is perhaps a very plot driven book I would like to know that. You don’t need to bash an author to get your point across on why it didn’t work for you. I say don’t let it get to you, we are all here for a reason. The good authors know that, and I’m sure they appreciate the critiques just as much as the gushing reviews. It helps them grow as writers, and us as reviewers. So continue on putting your personal taste into your reviews I for one enjoy it!!

    Liked by 4 people

  43. skyecaitlin says:

    Thanks for writing this, Lynne; I had no idea about book bloggers getting bashed. I glean a great deal from the blogs I participate in, and I also know that everyone has different expectations from a book. I don’t let a 3 star review influence my thoughts. I just happen to believe we like the same genre and for many of the same reasons. Keep blogging, Lynne~

    Like

  44. I agree with you 100% what’s that saying nobody ever reads the same book or something like that. You can’t review a book without going by your personal tastes at least I can’t.

    Liked by 2 people

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