This post is related to an earlier post I made about ‘Feeling Bad About a Bad Review’, but I’m extending some thoughts and feelings I’ve been having about bookish blogging lately.
Something happened to me that I never could have expected. I read a book, I sent my feedback to the publisher, and then I was abused.
It’s always going to be a tricky situation when the publisher listed is also the author- there’s no degree of separation. All material about their hard work and vision will be subject to ‘their eyes only’, without a filter, without a mediator.
I’ve always made some noise about the importance of honesty and sincerity when talking about a book that you’ve read- else what’s the point? Authors with integrity understand that they can’t please everyone and the odd ‘bad’ review will pop up. Sometimes these reviews take a harder line than others- but I can say from my personal reviewing policy that I’m only ever hard on a book when I can see the potential in it.. and that potential is either ignored or not realised.
I’ll hold up my hands and say that I’ve made one or two comments in the past that I’m not particularly proud of now. But that’s the nature of the beast, no? Becoming invested in a book and its characters.. to be let down.. it’s almost like a personal blow!
So what is this post really about? I was contacted by an author recently who didn’t like the feedback I’d given their book. Fair enough. But to then be called a bully AND to have my education thrown back in my face..?
It made me think.
Has furthering my studies also furthered my expectations of literature?
Yes. I think it has. Is that a bad thing though?
So many questions.
I’ve talked about authorial responsibility before- and I’m still of a standpoint that, in most cases, mindless self indulgence doesn’t produce good literature.
Have I become mean? I don’t know. Maybe I always have been, but now I have the means to articulate and communicate my feelings with wider knowledge and vocabulary. Perhaps passive acceptance is a better way forward for everyone involved.. author, reviewer, reader..
But I can’t see how.
Just because I have a degree, doesn’t mean I have to read ‘academic’ or profoundly literary titles for the rest of my life. Or, in reading something that is directly ‘genre’ fiction, am I going to expect too much from it?
I certainly don’t think so- my favourite authors are ‘genre’ writers. In the end, it comes down to the writing. Good writing will always win out. Literary, or not, if the writing is bad it’s not going to receive a glowing review from me, regardless of its motives or disclaimers.
But what do y’all think? Does it make me ‘mean’ because I have certain expectations of the books I read?
Is it better to act passive when you have strong opinions about book?