Books I Read and Why I Don’t Like To Review Books Anymore

Some of you will be surprised (and others not) about my reading preferences.  Over the summer, I read a lot of Young Adult thrillers and a couple of marketing books by Seth Godin.  I often mix some business with pleasure when I read, and most of the time, I read nonfiction.  That’s why it’s hard to recommend romance books I haven’t already mentioned, and I do get some emails asking for recommendations.

Anyway, most of the time, I read nonfiction.  I enjoy researching publishing and marketing trends to share on the Self-Published Author’s Lounge (which is where I make posts that I hope will help other authors).  I also enjoy reading Christian nonfiction books, especially with topics involving aliens (which I believe are demons), the study of the end-times, and exploring the days of Noah (because I think there was more to the flood than the Sethite view I grew up being taught in private school).  For those of you who read my book Return of the Aliens, then you understand what I mean.

I’ve been thinking of writing another sci-fi Christian thriller that leads up to the flood in Noah’s day, so you could call what I’m reading research.  I don’t know if I’ll write it, but the story has already begun forming in my mind.  (I have a lot of stories in my head, and only 25% of them get written.)  I do read romances and other genres, but proportionally I’d say for every 5 nonfiction books I read, I read one fiction.  Also, I’m a slow reader.  I always have been.  Like it takes me one week to finish a book while the majority of people I talk to finish a book in 1 or 2 days.  So I’m not a super reader.

As for reviews, I don’t like writing them anymore.  I did rate a book I enjoyed on Goodreads the other day, but I didn’t say why I liked the book.  And I only did this with a nonfiction book.  The reason I don’t like to write reviews is because the whole review process has become one of those no-win scenarios for authors.  This means that as an author, it’s too “political” (don’t know a better word for it) for me to review books.  I’m starting to think I shouldn’t have even rated the nonfiction book I read but just marked that I had read it on Goodreads.

So for those of you wondering why I’m at the point where I hate to review books anymore, I’ll explain.  If authors only want to leave good reviews, then they’re told they are shilling.  But some authors only want to leave good reviews so they only review books they enjoyed, which means they don’t review books they didn’t like.  Some people say that authors who do that can’t be trusted since there’s no balance in their reviews.  “Oh, they will give a glowing review to anything,” they argue, which isn’t true.  It’s just that they would rather support other authors (and if you can’t say anything nice, why say anything at all?).  Plus, they realize there are vindictive authors out there who will create sock puppet accounts to attack someone who leaves a bad review on their book.  If you’re not an author, you have a lot more freedom to state whether or not you like a book.  If you’re an author, it’s too easy to be a target.

So instead of reviewing books, I’d rather pass along a book I’ve enjoyed in a giveaway.   I figure that is probably better than putting up a review anyway because at least this way, the winners of the giveaway get a chance to check out a new books (if they wish).

So what about you guys?  What kind of books do you like to read?  Are there any that you think others you know wouldn’t expect?

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to www.ruthannnordin.com or check out https://ruthannnordinauthorblog.wordpress.com.
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11 Responses to Books I Read and Why I Don’t Like To Review Books Anymore

  1. Judy DV says:

    Ruth,
    I use to leave a review on goodreads that said, “I liked it a lot.” Or something like that. I was reading up to 2 books a day for awhile and after a few years I went to see if I had read a book or to see what it was about and ran into those dumb reviews. So I started to write reviews to remind me what the book was about without giving anything away, although some people think I write too much and others love them. Each to their own. Now I can look at my review and it will spark my mind to remember what the book was about.

    I mostly give 4 and 5 stars. I may read a book that isn’t my style book., maybe too much sex or just don’t pull me in, I will rate the book on how well the book is written. I don’t believe I should give a book less stars because it wasn’t my style or to my tastes.

    I mostly read romance but proofread some true life books and was really surprised how much I enjoyed them.

    • I could see reviewing to remind yourself what the books are about. That’s a good tool. I see no reason why reviews can’t be for the person who writes them as well as for others. 😀 I have the same philosophy that you do about not wanting to leave less stars because a book wasn’t to my style or taste. This isn’t just books. If I’m asked to leave a survey or leave feedback, I tend to only do it if I had a really good experience with something. It’s just who I am, and to leave negative feedback makes me uncomfortable.

      • Judy DV says:

        The only time I’d leave negative comment or review would be after having a really negative experience with some sort of service. If it’s poor service with a waiter/waitress they just get less tip but if it was really major I would contact the people. Such as a motel we stayed at (they never answered my complaint and it is a chain motel) first they sent us to a room and we walked in and realized within a minute that someone was already in the room! And then we had a mouse in our other room and the guy sent to get it told how the snakes often come in under the door too YIKES!
        It was more the wrong room than the mouse though. That could have been REALLY embarrassing for all parties involved. But it takes a lot for me to report something.

        Sorry off topic for sure.

        • Well, I’m just talking about books. LOL That’s different from finding a mouse in a hotel room and finding out about snakes (which is a health issue) or someone else in your room. You have to report things like that. I’m fortunate enough to say those things never happened to me, and I hope they never will.

    • Isn’t it funny how we can enjoy something we never thought we would. Five years ago, I never touched nonfiction. LOL

  2. I don’t like to read nonfiction. Reading is my way of “getting away”, so I want fiction. I think the only non-fiction book I’ve read in a long time is the Bible. I read a lot of detective type novels, mysteries, a little horror, paranormal romance, historical romance…the list goes on. I think my favorite series is the Agent Pendergast series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Pendergast is one of my favorite book characters. He’s quirky, but effective.

    I hate writing reviews. The worst thing for me is when I read a fellow author’s book, especially one I have a good relationship with, and they KNOW I’m reading it…and I don’t like it. What do I do? Give a better review than I feel is deserved, just to not hurt their feelings? Be honest? Or make them wonder why I haven’t reviewed it. I’m in that kind of dilemma right now. That’s why authors should never review, but there are some I feel like I have to review because they are expecting it. And they’ve reviewed mine. I’m trying to slowly back away from reviewing.

    • I never could get into detective novels, and I read a couple. I do love horror. I forgot to mention that. I hear back in Regency times, gothic horror (which included romance) was big, but it was considered books for the “uneducated” types. LOL I don’t think human nature has changed. Genre fiction is popular because it’s fun to read.

      I never expected reviews from authors if I reviewed their books. I just did it because I liked the book. When I was asked to review a couple of books in the past, I felt awkward if I realized I didn’t like them. I had to tell the person I couldn’t do it and apologized. It was very hard to do and i hated it. It was one of the worst things I’ve had to do, and I never want to do it again. Now, I ignore any review request that comes in. Fortunately, the person was a stranger. It would have been much worse if this was an author I knew. I don’t know what I would have done then. I wish Amazon would let people review without making a star rating. That way you could just state something you liked about the book without making a star rating to go with it. Even if it’s to say that the title or cover or some element in the book was neat, it saves you from having to come out with a negative. And yes, it is hard when you know the person is expecting it.

      I think backing off is a good strategy. Then you can ease away from it and just stop doing it.

  3. Keri Peardon says:

    I have actually been trying to *increase* the number of books I review, because reviews on Amazon or elsewhere can help other readers decide if they want to risk their money reading it.

    If the story/book is good, I try to say why I liked it and why I want to read the author again. Hopefully, this will help the author sell more books to people who are on the fence about buying it.

    But I do give negative reviews, too. I try very hard to 1) never belittle the author or the work, 2) provide concrete examples of what I didn’t like or what could (should) have been done better, 3) point out something that I liked or that the author did well.

    In other words, I try to offer constructive criticism, one writer to another. Hopefully it will help the author improve their book (a published book is no longer set in stone! You can always revise and release a new edition) or improve future books.

    The only thing I worry about is retaliation. While I feel that I’m fair, some people can’t take criticism at all, and they will attack your stuff in revenge. (Something that’s apparently going on as part of this whole “sock puppet” controversy.) If that becomes a problem in the future, it may affect my stance on giving book reviews, but for now I view giving them as a professional courtesy to other writers who are trying to make it.

    • The good thing is you look at the good and bad when you review. We need more objective reviews. No book is perfect, but no book is total crap either. I like it when people can find a balance between the two extremes.

      • Keri Peardon says:

        I don’t know. I did read one novella that was 99% crap–the highest content-to-crap ratio I’ve ever experienced. But, even so, I was able to tell the author, “take this little kernel of a plot, throw away everything else, and start over with the kernel.”

        It was almost like she wrote something good when she wasn’t trying and wrote god-awfully when she was. As they say in “The Last Samurai,” “Too many mind. Mind the sword, mind the crowd, mind the other man. No mind.” She needed more no mind.

        • I’ve been publishing books since 2002, and what I learned in that time is that taste is subjective. For you, that book wasn’t your cup of tea, but I have a feeling that for someone else, it was a great book. You can’t please everyone. The important thing is that the “why” is stated. Too many people toss out a “This book sucks” without giving a reason for it. Sometimes the reason why someone hates a book is why I’ll want to read it (for example, if a married couple has sex in the book and this turns a reader off, I’ll be more likely to buy it because I prefer sex in romances). I’ve enjoyed books others have hated and didn’t care for books that others loved. There’s no way an author can please everyone. Even the bestselling books out there have people who think they’re awful.

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