Thursday, November 20, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Honesty (AND, Mentos Reloaded)


Suggested by JM:

I receive a lot of review books, but I have never once told lies about the book just because I got a free copy of it. However, some authors seem to feel that if they send you a copy of their book for free, you should give it a positive review.

Do you think reviewers are obligated to put up a good review of a book, even if they don’t like it? Have we come to a point where reviewers *need* to put up disclaimers to (hopefully) save themselves from being harassed by unhappy authors who get negative reviews?

When I come across a book that is just so-so, despite many others who had sang beautiful songs about it, I just don’t write a review on that book. My policy is when I don’t have a good thing to say about the book, I’d rather not waste space talking about it. One recent book that bombed on me is Nora Roberts’ TRIBUTE. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’m reading it with a good blogger friend Julia, I have no intention of writing a review about it (Sorry Julia! This has got nothing to do with you and it is solely my personal opinion...). No matter how much I love the works of NR in the past, there is no way I’m going to sing praises that are not warranted. If NR is a great author, she would acknowledge that her recent books are rather disappointing. Would she or any authors for that matter dare to accept criticism (just as they accept praise) for their work? Some praises are, in my opinion, excessive, inappropriate, and unjustified.

I would like to share the following passages that are quoted from the New York Times essay (November 16, 2008) by Joe Queenan entitled Enough with the Sweet Talk:

What makes this bellyaching so unseemly [the author is referring to book reviews] is that the vast majority of book reviews are favorable, even though the vast majority of books deserve little praise. Authors know that even if one reviewer hates a book, the next 10 will roll over like pooches and insist it’s not only incandescent but luminous, too. Reviewers tend to err on the side of caution, fearing reprisals down the road.

[...]

Books are described as being “compulsively readable,” when they are merely “O.K.”; “jaw-droppingly good,” when they are actually “not bad”; “impossible to put down,” when they are really “no worse than the last three.”

I find this quite true because books that were so highly rated by other readers bombed on me, just like the Nora Roberts example I gave above. But in this case, it’s not because I was swayed by the review given by others but instead, I won’t be swayed to put up a good review just because she is Nora Roberts. There’s no denying that her past works are much better. I enjoyed her previous trilogies tremendously and I hope she will redeem herself in her future offerings. I intend to stay faithful as her reader.

Having said all that, it is also important to note that reviews are subjective. It is heavily dependent on the personal views of the readers. By all means read reviews to see how readers accept the book generally, but as a reviewer, it is our responsibility not to sugar-coat anything, misquote out of context, or be biased—just be honest.

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Updated @ 7.45 PM: Mentos Reloaded

I ran out of Mentos about a week ago and only bought the 'refills' today. This time I went for grape, green apple, ice mint and original flavours.I peeled off the packaging and filled them into the recycled Yoghurt Mentos container below. It keeps the chewy mints fresh.
The wrappers before I toss them into the bin...

I heard that the grape-flavoured ones are nice so I decided to give it a try. I just had one of the green apple variety and I like it!

I'm taking time off from work again tomorrow so will catch up on my reading and prepare to teach for tomorrow's lesson at the home fellowship. This is my first time teaching Bible lessons and I'm feeling a little nervous... The members thought it'd be good practice (haha!) for me before the Executive PA conference I'm speaking in on March next year. By the way, the brochure's out and I shall be sharing it with you soon. *GRIN*