On writing about bloody good books

Let’s talk about the life blood of authors.

That’s reviews, right?

I mean, after wine, cheesy pasta, and a good set of pyjamas.

It’s reviews.

Still, that makes them damn important.

…Mmm, cheesy pasta…

Because there’s so many books you could pick up and read, it all starts to boil down to how you pick your next word-candy. There’s only so many precious reading hours in the day, so you want to choose wisely.

Personally, I’ll go with:

  • authors I’ve read before
  • authors I know personally and already respect their work
  • authors I’ve heard about (generally from other authors I already know and love)
  • occasionally authors who just have one damn nice cover.

And in this sea of books, I’ll also read the reviews. Sometimes I’ll read them because, let’s face it, one-star reviews are invariably some of the most entertaining reads ever; “The book was great, a real page-turner, but the packaging was damaged in the post and the label was handwritten – one star, sir!”. But also, good reviews help prompt me to actually open that new book, to shove it up the TBR pile.

And when you’re self publishing, when you’re a no-body in an ocean of some-bodies and your little book is drowning in a shoal of other books, then it’s these reviews that people read and trust and make them rescue your book from that damn big fishing net of fiction.

(In case you were worried, I think I’m running out of watery fishing analogies).

Plus, there is NOTHING LIKE the feeling you get when you have a good review. It’s a buzz that warms the sole of your heart and the cockles of your feet. Thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to share their thoughts on Double Vision and Grind Spark, it really is appreciated.

So, it got me to thinking, I really should write a bit more about the books I love. I mean, I star-rate books as I read them on Goodreads, but I don’t review them. And the star ratings are mostly just so I can look back over the year and remind myself of the books I’ve really enjoyed.

But that’s not good enough.

I should be shouting from the rooftops about the books I like, and so should you.

Because it’s all about sharing the good stuff.

So, bearing that in mind, I’m going to be including a few more reviews here at the Dust Lounge. I won’t be reviewing books I hate (because, really, unless there’s something about the book that seems profoundly offensive or misleading, I don’t think that’s that constructive – I’m largely from the school of thought where if you don’t have something nice to say then think twice about saying it at all). I also won’t review books I haven’t finished, because, let’s face it, if you ain’t finished a book you ain’t seen the whole picture. It’s like reviewing a film based on its title sequence (which, in the case of the last Godzilla film, would have been an improvement). But I will be harping on about the books I love. Or the books that get me thinking. Or the books that I just can’t work out but I can’t get out of my head.

The ones that keep me up at night, and the ones that wake me up in the morning.

And I’ll be trying (in a befuddled and somewhat confused manner) to explain why.

And with that being my aim, I want to know what you want to hear from a review. How spoiler-y can we go? What questions do you ask yourself before you pick up a book? Do you want to know the topics, themes, triggers? Do you like star ratings? Do you want to know what beverage best compliments the text?

What crosses the theatre of your mind before you pick up your next read?

So tell me, fiends, what makes you pick up your next read, and what do you want to hear about a book that would make you pick up something completely new?

About the Author

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Author of Grind Spark, near future pre-apocalyptic fiction.

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Writing

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5 Comments

To be honest i will rarely read a review. Whether books or movies. If i like the look and sound of it, then i will give it a go. I tend to stick to certain genres with both and i know what to avoid in terms of story or in the case of movie, which actors i like/dislike etc. Sometimes it may mean i miss out on a good one, but like you have said, time can be limited, so it’s best (for me anyway) to stick with what you know and what you like.

In saying that though, i have picked up a few books recently based on your previous reading and recommendations (and reviews) and will look forward to reading your reviews in future and look out for some more recommendations as well.

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I have decided not to buy any more until i have read at least a couple more, so hopefully that should keep the TBR pile down to a minimum. Well that is the plan anyway. 🙂

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I think reviews are limited as books, like most things, are subjective. One man’s (or woman’s) porridge is another man’s (or woman’s) caviar. I’ve even picked up books with reviews by authors I know, like and respect and the books themselves have turned out to be, at least in my view, seriously lacking.

Then again, what do I know? I know only what I like, I’m not skilled enough to put a technical analysis of a book together. It’s more simple than that: does it keep me entertained? Does the story keep rolling like a 20-joint a day hippy? Am I moved in any way by it? If yes, then the book’s done its job, whether the review was written by Dean Koonts or Dean Something a little similar.

My dear Tamara, I hope that’s helped.

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Good points – books are definitely subjective, and you’re never going to agree on tastes across the board even if on the whole you know you like similar things to the reviewer. There is no good or bad as such, just – I enjoyed this, this not so much.

You’ve got me thinking instead of a star rating, maybe a “how many joints from a hippy” rating might work 😉

Thanks for the thoughts 🙂

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