Interesting conversation popped up this week that made me want to respond.
Read this: https://www.theringer.com/pop-culture/2019/1/10/18176366/bad-reviews-jeff-weiss-a-o-scott-greta-van-fleet-post-malone-bohemian-rhapsody
Then Read this: https://whatever.scalzi.com/2019/01/12/yes-theres-a-point-to-bad-reviews-in-2019/
So I ran across these through Scalzi’s blog (I like his blog, I find it funny and enjoyable). I read these in the order I recommended to you. I then decided I don’t think Scalzi or Harvilla hit on some of the important things I think make a “bad” review actually very valuable.
In the past year I think I’ve only post two “bad” reviews – and both of those I would definitely put in quotes because even on those… well let me link them and then defend them:
Simon Sinek: https://librinlatone.com/2018/11/20/review-simon-sinek/
I think there are two reasons people would/should read a review (negative or positive): either they find the review itself entertaining OR they are looking for an informed opinion IF they even want to read a book (or watch a movie, go to a play, etc.). If those are the reasons, then I think there are plenty of reasons for a “bad” review to be read. If the reason was the former (entertainment) then the person probably wasn’t going to consume the media anyway. If the the reason is the latter, I think a real review is incredibly valuable.
I read Goodread reviews regularly – and there are terrible reviews where all I think is “God, this person is just mean” and then there are “bad reviews” that give potentially valid reasons for the reviewer to advise people to avoid a book. The latter I find useful. And not always a deterrant, because valid reasons like “overly simplistic world-building” doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy the book.
The books I truly hated last year – I didn’t review. I follow a pretty simple rule myself, “If I have nothing good to say, I say nothing at all.” The rare times this comes up (I know I’ve done it, I just can’t find examples), I tend to focus on my personal learning curve – what was it that I saw that made me (as a reader) find the entire work less enjoyable. But I don’t name names. You, as my audience, should never know what books I am referencing in those posts.