“Thoughtful Ramblings” is a feature where we discuss bookish subjects. These posts are just our own thoughts about certain topics that may get us hot under the collar and we need a good rant or just things we want to share with fellow bloggers and readers.
Should Reviewers Finish Books They Don’t Like?
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been struggling through a book I’m really not enjoying. I pick it up again only to fling it down in despair and frustration. Quite simply, I just don’t want to read it. I posted about it on Facebook and got so many interesting replies I decided to write a post about it.
I personally think that it’s a privilege I am sent books to review. But this privilege also brings with it a responsibility. A responsibility to write a real and honest review and if I don’t like the book, to give constructive criticism and not just a book bashing. And finally if I read a book, I believe I should finish it. But by the same token, reading and reviewing is not my job. It’s my hobby and something I do for fun.
At the moment if I don’t like a book, I struggle through it, feeling the right thing to do is to finish it. It’s not unusual for me to take twice as long to read these books as I usually would, picking the book up and putting it down again and deciding to put on yet another re-run of ‘Friends’ on instead – because, you know, I might not have seen it! The book is often read begrudgingly and with a fair amount of grumbling on my part.
But then I think to myself the book could get a lot better towards the end. Can I honestly write a fair review for a book without finishing it? Or should I just not write a review at all and abandon it to the charity shop pile.
However, I don’t want to end up in a position where the only reviews I write are positive. That would impact the integrity of my reviews, as not all books are great and not all books appeal to everyone.
I believe the point of my reviews, in part, is to show what I like and dislike as a reader and share my thoughts on these books, but I also hope that maybe it will help others decide what books to spend their money on. I’m sure not all people will agree with my reviews, but those with similar reading tastes may appreciate being able to save their pennies by not buying a book they may not enjoy.
But, as I mentioned above, this is my hobby. At present I have at least 40-50 books on my to read pile and over 300 on my wishlist. There are so many books I want to read! Even if I do reach my goal of 100 books this year (which I doubt), that’s three and a half years worth of books without taking into consideration new releases or discoveries. Sadly there are probably some I’ll never get around to. There’s just not enough reading time in the day! Therefore, should I spend my time finishing books I’m not enjoying? Before I began reviewing, I just gave up on the ones I didn’t like and moved on. But somehow this doesn’t feel quite right now.
At the moment I’m leaning towards giving a book at least a hundred pages and if it does not work moving on to the next one, then maybe writing a mini review as to why I didn’t finish it.
As readers of BCC, what do you think? Would you prefer to see a mini review of the books we DNF (Did Not Finish) or for us to forget about them altogether?
Do authors prefer any review to no review? Whether it be negative or positive just as long as it’s constructive? Or not to post one at all? Or do you think as a reviewer it’s my responsibility to make it to the end of the book before I can give a fair review?
I have to confess I’m finding it hard to make my mind up on this one. What do you think?