This morning I read a very insightful article written by author Fiona Snyckers about reviewing books as a writer. I often get asked to review books, publishers even send them to me nowadays and there are many issues that come to the fore. If I know the writer how do I approach the review? If it's a good book- no problem, but what if it's not. What then? I've often taken the cowardly approach and wrote nothing.
Though Fiona speaks about the small South African publishing world, with internet the publishing world all over has become very small. Getting a black mark against your name for bashing some one's book is not a good career move and may come back to get you. And too, is it even correct for writers to judge other books? Isn't it a bit like the bosses at Ford critiquing the new Toyota Hilux?
Here on this blog I don't consider my posts reviews. They're my opinion just like my opinion on my performance in the recent bird count (BTW- the woman called me and was full of praise for my work. I told her the truth about what went on but she would not be subdued). As writers we read, and there are books we love and books we don't. On this blog I speak only about the books I love. Perhaps I'm rationalising it and trying to get away from the label 'book review' but somehow I feel it's different.
What do you think? Is it right for writers to review books? Do you? And how to approach these ethical issues?