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How negative is your negative review? Bookish Verbosity is a...

How negative is your negative review?


Bookish Verbosity is a non-regular feature at AEROPAPERS where I talk about topics that are related to books, blogging and the community.

Before I start, reviews for me are important. And it’s a little bit discouraging to hear from other bloggers that they don’t fancy book blogs that are dominated with reviews. But then again that’s their opinion and blog so they can do whatever they want. Write whatever they want. But for someone like me, writing a review is my comfort zone. It isn’t a chore to me (unless I really don’t know what to say) but most of the time I always have something to say. I know my opinion doesn’t weigh in the grand scale. But by putting my opinion out there give me this sense of satisfaction.

Like I said that’s my opinion and your preference is all yours. But I’m not gonna talk about how important reviews in someone’s blog (like I can do that, actually I can’t). It is how we write them—particularly negative review. Let’s face it the tension between bloggers/reviewers and authors is because of negative reviews. I fully understand the authors if they were hurt when they read a negative review of something they created. They made it out of, I don’t know, love? Sweat? Blood? Or combination of the three? But one thing’s for sure they put a lot of effort to write the novel so it’s disheartening for them to read something negative about it. But they’re professional they should understand that the book no matter how positively and creatively written will always meet their critique. And that’s what I want to discuss: how negative is your negative review?

Our feedback isn’t always positive. How we received a book greatly varies. Image © Adam Howling

Regardless of the rating I give, I still have something negative to say. And sometimes those are expectations driven. If you haven’t noticed in my reviews, I always explain why it didn’t work for me and what I’ve preferred to happen. But I make it to a point that I address those issues as courteously as possible. I always point out that it is only my opinion and nothing else. I don’t judge the author; while sometimes they factor in on how I view it (but very, very minimal); it always fall back on the book itself. Always will.

I read somewhere before that we shouldn’t criticize a book based on our expectations. But it’s really unfair when books are marketed with reader’s expectation coated on the book’s packaging. By reading the blurb we already molded our expectations based on that tiny piece information we have of the book. And this logic doesn’t only apply on books, it is on almost everything. So expectations play a big role on how I receive the novel.

To be perfectly honest while it’s easy to write negative review because you can easily explain why it didn’t work for you, I still greatly prefer writing positive review (I write longer than usual if I love the book). Even though I blog and I review books, I’m still just your average book lover who look forward to reading good books. I don’t read to critique (I don’t even consider myself one). I read for fun. I read for the pleasure of, well, reading. And that’s always the case.


In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*.  — Anton Ego; Ratatouille (2007)

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