The Toll on the Reviewer:
"I am thinking...of overworked reviewers, getting through novel after novel as quickly as they can, like a schoolboy doing his 'prep'. For such people reading often becomes mere work. The text before them comes to exist not in its own right but simply as raw material; clay out of which they can complete their tale of bricks.... it destroys appreciation."
Do you think this "whirlpool syndrome" affects our ability to fully appreciate books and review them in the best way possible?
The Value of Reviews:
"The truth is not that we need the critics in order to enjoy the authors, but that we need the authors in order to enjoy the critics."
"We love to hear how others enjoy what we enjoy ourselves. It is natural and wholly proper that we should especially enjoy hearing how a first-class mind responds to a very great work. That is why we read the great critics with interest (not often with any great measure of agreement). They are very good reading; as a help to the reading of others their value is, I believe, overestimated."
"I remain, then, sceptical, not about the legitimacy or delightfulness, but about the necessity or utility of evaluative criticism."
In regards to this topic, I think it's obvious I have a lot more questions than set thoughts. I try to write "honest" reviews in the sense that they contain my honest opinion, while still balancing between what I liked about the books and what I didn't like about the books. I like to include what I thought the overall message/theme was and how that affected me. But is there something I'm missing? What does a "good" review entail and what is its purpose?
Do you enjoy reading book reviews? Do you think book reviews are only really enjoyable to those who have read the books being reviewed? Do you think book reviews can be dangerous in the sense that they might keep someone from reading a book they maybe should read?
To Review or Not to Review?
"I suggest that a ten or twenty years' abstinence both from the reading and from the writing of evaluative criticism might do us all a great deal of good."
C.S. Lewis' suggestion is a controversial one in my mind simply because I spend a lot of time reading books for review purposes. If I stopped reviewing books, I wouldn't have nearly the amount of reading options I now enjoy. (I might be at a higher risk of going broke, too, LOL!) I might miss out on books that I normally wouldn't have picked up or maybe even heard much about. I wouldn't have the pressure put on me to finish a book - which could be a good or bad thing.
But at the same time, would readers miss my book reviews? Do my reviews make a difference? And if they do, is that difference good or bad? If I took a break from reviewing books, I would have more time to catch up on the books I already own that I haven't yet read, and I might get to re-read more books, as well. I might even end up appreciating books more in a way that I have lost in the mad rush of a book reviewer's world.
If you are a book reviewer, what do you think about the suggestion of taking a break from reviewing? If you read book reviews, why do you read them - and do you think they're valuable?
Lots of food for thought and fuel for discussion today, but I think this is a topic that's worth being addressed by book bloggers. I'd love to have you answer some of the questions I ask or just add your two cents' worth wherever it fits!