My gut reaction and immediate response was, “Because, I do not want to tear people down or hurt their feelings. That is not who I want to be.”
However, since our discussion, the question would not leave me alone. I think she, and you deserve a better thought out answer.
Why No Negative Reviews
When I consider writing critical reviews, my first question is, who am I to set myself up as judge over the quality of an author’s work who has actually made it past all the gatekeepers and critical eyes on the road to publication? Surely, if a book has come far enough to be published by a third-party, there must be someone who will appreciate it. Although I will admit, it might be a limited number of individuals and not necessarily me.
And if a book is self-published, as I novelist, I understand all the love and labor that went into producing it. Who am I that I should tear apart someone’s dream, someone whose hopes are not all that different from my own?
Yes, of course some books are of higher quality than others. Some books can be quite flawed. But I do not want to be the person who points these things out.
The Simpler Reason I Don’t Write Negative Reviews
Then, after all my philosophizing, I had to laugh at myself. There is actually a much simpler reason you will not find negative reviews on Literate Lives. I do not finish reading books that I do not like and therefore cannot count them as books I read in any month.
It took me many years of living with the inner insistence, “You must finish everything you start,” but finally, sensibly, I concluded that life is too short, time is too precious, and there are too many unread books on my shelves for me to finish any book I find to be low in quality or of minimal appeal to me.
Stop Reading Lousy/Unappealing Books
If I am not enjoying a book, fiction or nonfiction, that I am reading, if I do not feel it has anything to offer me, I may give it an additional chapter or two to improve, but if it fails to, I stop reading. You should too.
Value of Book Listings on this Site
So why read the “Books of the Month” posts?
Literate Lives is about creating a community of like-minded readers, writers, and teachers. If you like what you find here, you might like the books I like. (And if you like what you find here, how I’d love to hear about books you have enjoyed!)
The “Books of the Month” posts are more a recommended reading list than a critique or review. They are an invitation to seek out a good read.
The Purpose of “Literate Lives”
In the end, all my initial philosophizing was not a waste. It clarified for me, again, what I want this blog to be. I want to bring light, joy, pleasure, and inspiration to others, and I want to encourage and support readers, writers, parents and teachers in cultivating a reading, writing, thinking, imaginative lives.
Have you read any good books lately? Please use the comment section to respond.
*photo credit: Depositphotos_28904783_original