discussion

Why Blog?

I will read anything, anytime and anywhere. It’s the best known fact about me in my offline life. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bestselling YA book, a magazine about radio communication or the back of a shampoo bottle whilst sitting on the toilet; I adore words.

There is something amazing about the way words make us feel. How an author can use them to transport us into a different world altogether. As Charlie Brooker recently said “Apparently, you just have to glance at some sort of ink code printed on paper and images and sounds magically appear in your head, enacting the story. Sounds far-fetched to me, but we’ll see.”

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Of course, back before the internet being a ‘reader’ wasn’t the best career choice. There were careers that involved reading, but not many and not easily accessible. I found myself studying more sensible courses and kept my reading in a box marked ‘hobby’. A solo hobby too, since none of my friends were really ‘into’ books.

It wasn’t until a few years ago after realising that my love of reading was also a love of writing, that I discovered book blogging. A dream came true that day. Not a dream of becoming a millionaire from words, but a dream of being able to expand that hobby into something a little more. I started my blog because I wanted to join the community, find like-minded friends and share my love for words.

I wanted to make it career even if it was unpaid.

So I kept my day job to pay the bills and set about making my blog a reality. Unfortunately study got in the way and I recently finished a degree in English Literature. The study I should have been doing all along even if it did lead to a lengthy hiatus whilst I learned.

Of course, I did have my reservations. The one reason I didn’t want to book blog?

I thought I would be terrible at it.

I am so glad I didn’t let that hold me back.

If you have nothing nice to say

 

“If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.” That old gem has been drilled into us from the day that we could talk. But how true is it for book reviewers?

In my opinion it isn’t true at all!

You see, as a reviewer I think I have a duty of care to my readers. I want the to know which books I recommend, but I also want them to know which books they should not touch with a ratty bookmark. If I hated a book then surely I have the right, and the duty to say why?!

It could be as simple as I didn’t enjoy the story, or I disliked the protagonist. Things that might not put another reader off reading it, yet give them the chance to make an educated decision about their reading time. Honesty, no matter how brutal, could help a reader choose between two books. We all know how that can be a time suck.

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On the other hand, as a writer I have also been at the blunt end of some thorny critiques. In fact, as a part of my creative writing degree modules we had to both give and receive critiques. It was harsh, it stung…

…and it improved my writing.

You see, people who only ever hear the positive views of their work will never have reason to improve. Those who hear nothing will likely assume that no news is good news. But those who are given the critiques as a tool that they can learn from? They have an idea of what they need to work on in the future.

I am not saying that we should be nasty about everything we didn’t like about a book. But there is room for constructive criticism in a review for the benefit of both the readers and the writers.

What do you think? Should we only post nice reviews?

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