How Not to Write Book Reviews


How do you hear about great new books? Unless you’re a member of a book group, which I’m not, you probably read online reviews. And there are loads of them out there. These days I tend to find out about new reads through a few awesome review sites and blogs, before heading over to Amazon and adding them to Ye Olde Wish List.

It’s a good system, especially if you trust the words of the reviewers.

Sometimes you’ll take a gamble on a book, at the library or charity shop (especially if it has a cool cover), then head over to Google to find out a bit more. Chances are that searching for the book’s title online will entice you to take a literary trip to the world of Goodreads. And there’s reviews aplenty on there. I’ve recently started taking a more Goodreads-y approach to searching for book reviews, and it’s definitely the way to go. Much better than going by the reviews on Amazon.

In fact, I’m only ever on that site now after first having looked on Goodreads or a reviewer’s blog, to look at purchasing whichever book has piqued my interest.

But it wasn’t always like that. I used to be very Amazonian in my review fix. And it wasn’t a healthy time for me, I can tell you. But it did have its good points.

Reading 1 star reviews of books I love can be quite an entertaining experience. Not that I’m all pompous and smirk at how the reviewer just ‘doesn’t understand it’, but some of them are just pure gold. Come on, you all know what I’m talking about.

But in case you don’t, let me educate you.

So imagine you’re about to post a review on Amazon about a book. You can’t wait to tell the world what you think. “Oh, how they’ll listen to me now!” Here are a few steps to ensure you leave a completely unhelpful and waste of space review.

Rate the book on speed of delivery. Telling the world that the book arrived quicker than expected in an undamaged parcel is definitely going to help me decide whether to part with my money for it. I won’t take it as a given that it will arrive at my house and I’ll be able to see the ink on the pages that make letters and sentences.

Rate the book unfavourably due to damage in transit. Equally, make sure to bemoan a book because the man (or woman!) delivering it was a little too heavy handed. The author probably delivered it themselves, because they’ve got plenty of time to be doing that. It’s not like they’re writing or anything.

Give a rating based on what someone else told you about it. Praising a book for the fact that your wife/husband/grandma/child/second cousin’s neighbour’s aunt, etc. couldn’t put it down is the perfect basis for a reasoned argument on the book’s merits. You don’t need to tell me any more than that really.

Review the book without finishing it. OK, you only read the first 50 pages or so, but in those few pages you managed to gleam detailed, in-depth knowledge of the story. Now you can pass on your wisdom on whether the book is any good or not. Don’t finish it, sure, but make sure you finish that review!

Skim the book without really paying attention and then comment on things that didn’t actually happen that way. It doesn’t really matter if what you describe actually happened does it? As long as you’ve got your name next to it people will assume you know what you’re talking about and it was them who missed something. The idiots!

Slate (or praise) a book without giving any reasons why. “It was terrible, that’s (insert exaggerated number here) hours of my life I’ll never get back.” “What a joyous read, it had unicorns in it, highly recommended.” And so on.

Create an opinion on the book based on the author or something they stand for, and not actually the book that you read. If you strongly disagree with the author’s stance on gay marriage, or the wearing of real fur coats, or whatever, make sure to base your whole review on it. Be sure to make no mention of what happens in the story. We’ll love you for it.

So there you have it, follow these simple steps and you too can litter the internet with useless twoddle, and give me and I’m sure plenty of others, things to giggle at!

Thanks, you’ve been amazing!!


Photo via Visualhunt

Categories: book review

Tags: , , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. Ha. I love the reviews that say “book arrived on time in perfect condition.”
    Wow, thanks for that 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hilarious. Love it.

    The most annoying reviews for me are the ones “random person online says it’s [racist/sexist/offensive] so I’m never going to read it and I hate it and we should all troll the author.” I mean, come on!

    I’m on the fence about people who make a good attempt to read the book (but fail) and then review it. If a reader makes it through the first 100 pages of the book and they’re utter rubbish, I think that wins them the right to review it and say so. I don’t do this because I feel mean giving bad reviews, but I don’t think it’s terrible behaviour.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve been amazing. This was a fun read. Not to mention, insightful. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good post. Gonna say though, Good Reads has its own issues. For me, it’s worse than Amazon for biased reviews. Add to your list, people who seem to have an alert for free books on Amazon. Nobble them, then give them a bad review on Good Reads because they aren’t the sort of book they would read. If a book says it’s horror in the description and ya don’t like horror, don’t read it? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: