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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Faith and Fiction Saturday: Reviewing




One of the many things I look forward to on Saturdays is sleeping in, waking up to a nice hot cup of coffee, and reading all the responses from Faith and Fiction Saturdays. My friend Amy has taken the time each week to come up with some great questions that help us all as book bloggers and book blog readers (say that three times fast) get to know each other better. I hope you join in the fun. If you want to jump in...please head on over to My Friend Amy's blog and check out today's question:



The past couple of days there has been a big flare-up in the broader book blogging community regarding review policies and a blogger's obligation to an author once they've received a review copy. For those of you who belong to the blogging alliance FIRST, we've also discussed this issue a little bit.I decided to make today's question about this, because I think this is an even tougher situation for Christian reviewers who review Christian books. So here goes...do you receive review copies of Christian books? If so, do you review them honestly? How do you handle it when you don't like a book but are obligated to provide a review? Who do you see your first commitment being to in book reviewing (besides God)? Yourself? The author? Your readers? Does your review change based on the spiritual content of the book or is it solely based on technical or artistic merit? Have you ever had a negative experience with an author after giving them a negative review? (please don't name names)


My answer: I do receive review copies of Christian books, but certainly not in the bulk that many bloggers do. I joined FIRST a while back and it has been a real blessing to me. So far I can honestly say that I have not read a book that I did not enjoy. I have been pleasantly surprised by books that I wasn't sure I would even like. I took a risk in asking for some of these books because part of me was a little nervous I wouldn't enjoy the book. I worried about what would I do if I didn't enjoy a book. How would I approach it in my blog. I decided that I would do it the same way that I do it for our radio station. I do not get to pick the books there, and occasionally I have read one that is just not for me, but that does not mean it isn't for someone else. I will let people know if the language is strong or if there are situations in it that may be distasteful to some readers. The listener HAS to be the priority, but you still want a gentle heart for the author. I am the same way with the music that I review. I hope that as a blogger I would be able to keep the same balance.


My review is based on the blend of all the facets of the book. I may lean more heavily on the message if it is a spiritual self help book, but in general I review based on my gut. Maybe some day I'll get more technical about it. I just like what I like and I know why when I read it. :)


I have never had a bad experience with an author after a negative review, because to date I have not given one. I hope that I never will.

15 comments:

Amy said...

Good words Kelly! :) I can't wait to sleep in tomorrow!

kalea_kane said...

lol Me too! My husband is already snoring on the couch! Bless his heart! :)

Smilingsal said...

You're sleeping? Oh, I see; you do Saturday on Friday.

I'm much like you: honest and kind. I didn't mention that when I come across profanity, I include that in my reviews, but that is what I do too.

Marvin D. Wilson said...

Hey - you go on and SPEAK from your gut. I like that. Refreshing.

crittyjoy said...

:o) Great answers...and FIRST is wonderful isn't it... I learned a few months ago I could not do all the reviewing I wanted to because I got bogged down with the sheer amount of books...so it is wise to do as you are doing :o) And if you don't know about Thomas Nelsons blog review program it is wonderful! I can give you the web address if you want to check it out!

Blessings.

M. C. Pearson said...

I'm so glad you've liked the books so far. :-)

I think that because I have to get all the books, I have more that I do not like than I used to...or maybe because I've been writing, I'm more critical. It is kind of sad when I sit down and start marking up a book that I'm supposed to be reading for pleasure. :-O

Sunny said...

Yes! I could have written that exact same thing. Well, except for the radio station part. ;o)

I think it's important to be honest but also give enough positive to let readers decide for themselves if they will like it or not.

ladystorm said...

Hi Kelly,

I got Murder on the Ol' Bunions today in the mail. Can't wait to read it. :)

I to have a hard time finding a book I don't enjoy.

Stormi

Cloud 9 said...

I recently read a book that I didn't care for. I reviewed it in such a way that it was understood that it wasn't a book that I cared for but I tried to get the message across to the readers that they should give this book a chance for themselves. And I really meant that. Just because it wasn't for me I'm sure others would like or even love it.

Pam said...

I like your approach to the gentle reviews. I think even authors have to respect that. : )
The sleeping in on Saturday sounds wonderful.

CherryBlossomMJ said...

those are some fabulous buttons on your side bar. *grin*

Wendi B. - Wendi's Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reading in Seattle said...

I love how you stated your opinion. You are right - FIRST has also been a real blessing to me. It is a win-win - as bloggers we get to read great new books that we volunteer for, and the author gets some more publicity!

:) Wendi

I've got mine up late . . .
Here
is my Faith 'n Fiction Saturday post.

AndieJ said...

Very nice Kelly! I just found out your name. ;) And I don't believe for one second your 41. LOL

Lindsey said...

"The listener HAS to be the priority, but you still want a gentle heart for the author."

I like that, it's exactly what I was trying to say in my answer. :-) I'll tell you, I'm frustrated with my inability to express myself the way I want since I had my baby! I'm so scatterbrained and if I hear her crying or making noise in the background I tend to lose my train of thought. Please tell me I get my message across, though... lol Thanks for the comments! :-)

Wendi B. - Wendi's Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reading in Seattle said...

Hi Kelly!

Thanks for stopping by - I'm so glad I'm not the only one who doesn't get what everyone is so exited about with Desperate Housewives!!

:) Wendi