Saturday, October 07, 2006

book reviewing, schmook reviewing part II

It seems a number of people commenting on my previous post have felt compelled to assert their book-reviewing honesty, and thinking over what I wrote, I can't entirely blame them. All I can say is I didn't intentionally give it an accusatory tone.

I also wasn't particularly talking about people choosing not to publish negative reviews, which seems to be where everyone else is going with this conversation. Anyone who reads this blog or Notes from the Windowsill knows I don't publish a whole lot of negative reviews either, for most of the same reasons others give. (Don't want to waste my time on books I don't like, mainly.) I have to feel pretty passionately negative to go to the trouble.

And passion is really what I wanted to talk about, because I will always prefer a review that comes from a passionate place, assuming it's not silmultaneously a ludicrous place. (The oft-mentioned review that panned King Dork because the reviewer disagreed with the band assessments in it is an obvious example I will use, with the caveat that I haven't read either the book or the review.) Passion that isn't tempered with some knowledge of the genre, or that is utterly single-minded, obviously isn't going to amount to much in a review.

But the part of what I wrote that was actually most important to me hasn't been picked up on at all... the idea that reviewing is (or can be) a form of creative writing in itself. And as such, it deserves all the passion a writer can muster. And I hate to see writers--myself included--get distracted from that by other considerations.


Blogger Kelly bligged...

Hey Wendy! As someone who responded later than I wanted to (crazy weekend, no real time for thought), I just wanted to say I didn't find your original post accusatory at all. And, I find your reasons for negative reviews, well, well-reasoned.

Thanks for starting this discussion. It's an important one.

10/10/2006 12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous bligged...

I agree with Kelly that it's an important discussion. And I have been thinking about your point about reviewing as a form of creative writing in itself. You made me want to write better reviews (better in quality, not better as in more positive). And wanting to do better is always the first step.

10/22/2006 12:18 PM  

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