This is the second part of the post I wrote in May. I would have preferred to have finished this post sooner, but things got in the way. And we all know how easily that can happen. However, after attending a session of my book club I decided it might have been fortuitous and therefore enough with the procrastination.
Time to get back on track. You see, at the session the topic of reviews came up. Most of the members did not see the point in writing a review but the topic had never come up before and because I have always reviewed, I never considered they wouldn’t. It’s a book club and consequently full of readers. Readers review, don’t they?
Or maybe they don’t.
In Part 1 of this post, I discussed feeling uncomfortable to recommend a book, but I got over it. I had to. As a child I didn’t understand the mechanics and importance of giving an opinion on a commodity. As a grown up I see the significance of insights into something that costs me money. Reviews and recommendations provide insights, entice others to the new. I have written about reviews before so I decided why not do it again.
Why do so many people either hesitate writing a review or have no interest in writing one? I agree it is difficult to believe our opinions are worthy, but practicality dictates we overcome this. The end result of writing is a book. A book is a product. As consumers, we need access to information so we can make an informed choice. when we purchase. Writers need that same information in order to produce a better product. Comments help improve and motivate a writer. Improvement comes with input. Some of my work is good, some not so good. Time and feedback has allowed me a huge improvement. I still have a long way to go. Continued feedback encourages me to keep going.
Of course, there is a downside to writing reviews. Our personal likes and dislikes automatically infiltrate our words and our tone whether spoken or written. What if we hurt with our words, do damage by our beliefs? The true problem lies in acting unkindly when there is no need, something most of us seem to manage until we are nudged into remembering we have a choice in how we approach sharing our opinion. Dealing with someone’s feelings and livelihood requires sensitivity with the honesty. The more we read the better we become at commenting because our own understanding grows.
In a recent post by Catherine Meyrick, Catherine spoke about books that had become films. People often argue which is better, the film or the book? It seems to me it is in our nature to have those different ideas, different beliefs. Reading what others think helps us gain perspective. I am a book person but, in this case, I loved both. I recognised the places mentioned by description and understood the changes wrought by time through visual medium.
However, what made the most impression on me was the fact that without the school I attended making my class read it, I might never have read Playing Beattie Bow despite haunting the local library from about seven years of age. I didn’t know what a review was but then again things were different back then. What I did know thanks to my teachers was how hard it was to manipulate words and how rewarding. I knew this because of their feedback. Millions are publishing either traditionally or self-publishing every day; competition is enormous. Reviews are invaluable to help an author compete.
Even if you come from another planet, you can avoid a bias. Coming from a perspective of differences in upbringing, culture, gender, educational and professional environments should be a boon to impartiality. Surely it cannot be that difficult to give our views with thoughtfulness and integrity. Personally, I would have loved nothing better than to have read a review of Playing Beattie Bow all those years ago because I might have read the book and engaged with a beautiful world created by a brilliant author – Ruth Park, so much sooner.
Of course, this is only my opinion and I have yet to write a review on this book. Thanks to Catherine’s discussion I am now aware of that oversight. I think I might do this with quite a few of the books from my past. After all, I do it all the time with whatever I read in the present.
Ciao for now,
Questions for me? Want to share your views and ideas? I’d love to hear from you. A like and a comment will keep me working harder. And, if by any chance you have read my books or a book, I have featured I would love it if you left a review. It helps writers become better writers. Consider leaving one on Goodreads if not at the site the book was purchased.