Podcast: Episode 1 On Bad Reviews

So! I’m trying something new. I recorded a podcast! And lemme be the first to say: it is rough. But I have the bad habit of using “it’s not good enough!” as an excuse to not put out my work. Not today! I’m going to share it with y’all as is. When I’m a big shot you’ll be able to say “I remember her when…”

Show Notes and Highlights:

  • I said I was going to edit this “for the first time.” I didn’t. Some of the audio is distorted and I don’t know how to fix it!
  • The Book Riot article wasn’t a “few weeks from then.” It was last week. Check it out: On Reviewing Bad Books When You’re Part of the Literary Community
  • I don’t read books I don’t like, if I can help it. Ain’t nobody got time for that. But sometimes I can’t help it because it is part of my job to read and review books.
  • It’s important to discern “bad books” from “books I don’t like.”
  • I struggled with using the word “standards” because we know that the literary canon continues to exclude marginalized communities. However there are still widely accepted ways on how these things we call books are made.
  • Amazon and other e-retailers have tied discoverability to reviews which puts a huge burden on readers to leave positive reviews lest they “ruin the author’s career.”
  • The 1st review I mention is On Death, Love, and Family in Jennifer Quist’s Novels, a review of Sistering and Love Letters of the Angels of Death.
  • The 2nd review I mention is A Review Of Like No Other by Una LaMarche.
  • Shout out to Dahlia Adler! Check out her fantastic blog where she often recs fantastic contemporary YA and NA books, especially by/about queer people.
  • Right of First Refusal was not for me but I’m definitely gonna read Last Will and Testament in the Radleigh University series.
  • A Gentleman in the Street (I was right about the title the first time) was the first book I read by Alisha Rai. Started reading Glutton for Pleasure and had to stop. Then I tried Serving Pleasure (from the same series!) and loved it! My point: know your tastes.
  • Example of someone whose tastes I trust completely: agent Jennifer Laughran. I’ve never read a book she represents that I didn’t love.
  • Go subscribe to Better than the Movie and listen to my guest appearance.

Leave a comment below: Do you write and post critical reviews? If so how were they received? If not, what is holding you back?

2 comments for “Podcast: Episode 1 On Bad Reviews

  1. April 11, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Great job on your first podcast!

    As for bad reviews, I hate seeing reviews that just completely hate on a book. Yeah, it’s not the book for you but there are editors, agents, publishers, publicists, all sorts of people who have read and enjoyed the book enough to put it to print which means that there is a market out there for it. We are not all going to love the same books, otherwise our bookstores would be pretty empty. When I don’t like a book but have to review it (which I only do if I have received the book from the publisher, if I read it on my own accord I stop reading and don’t review it), I make sure that I explain what I didn’t like and why. There is a difference between the writing style not being what I like, the story just didn’t grab me, or something in the book is majorly problematic and it’s important to distinguish between reasons. I try to include what I did like and then I always link to other reviews that did enjoy the book because I know that other don’t share the same opinions as me. I just feel that the author has put so much into writing their book that it is unfair if I am overly negative or don’t back up my criticism and that unless the book is completely ignorant when it comes to things like gender and race, it’s not for me to put such a harsh label on someone else’s work.

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