I read a review of a book on a blog recently and the owner explained that she often gets asked to write reviews of books on her blog but rarely does since she doesn't want to bash other writers' books and doesn't want to write a lot of fluff about friends' books she's not so sure about.
I review books occasionally here, mostly when I'm blown away by a book or it touched me in an important way. I also occasionally give books a miss. I implement my father's advice when it comes to book reviews on this blog- if I have nothing good to say, I keep quiet. Something I don't often do in my real life, usually to my own detriment.
I read this great article as The Rumpus about the problematic position of writers writing reviews of other writers' books. The author is Joshua Mohr and he says-
Yes, I like to read book reviews, and in the past I’ve enjoyed writing them. Right now, though—and who knows if it will change—it feels like a violation, a petty way to throw a wrench into someone else’s artistic career. A publishing career is hard enough without people who should be on the same team wielding criticism like a weapon.
What do you think? Should writers review books? What about a writer on a mission to bash the competitor? The world is not all rainbows and puppies, even in the writing world. Should we leave book reviews to non-writers only to stop any conflict of interest?