Thursday, 5 December 2013

Readers and Reviewing!

I just read a post on Goodreads where someone (no names mentioned) said that readers don't write good reviews because they don't have the same high education as authors. This made me so mad.

UGH. Where do I start?!

1. You don't have to have a Degree in English to be able to read a book and type up your thoughts about it. As long as you can spell and put together a few sentences, that's all you really need!

2. Reviewers don't have to use big fancy words, and intellectual language. We're not in school, writing essays. We're people, who read books & tell other people about the books we read. It's so so so simple. It can be written so simply, as long as you get your message across and actually get to the point of reviewing the book, you can't really do anything wrong.

3. We review for fun. Well, the majority of us do! We're not getting paid, we're doing it because we love to do it. So why do we need to spend 3 billion hours going over and over what we've written to make sure we've included huge words and proper connectives and whatnot. Who cares? This isn't a book, this is just a casual review.

4. Are my reviews bad because I don't have a Degree? Am I not capable of expressing my feelings in well-thought out sentences because I don't have a Degree? Does someone with a Degree write better reviews than me purely because they have a Degree and I don't? It makes absolutely no sense. You don't have to be highly educated to know whether a book was written well- it's so simple. If an author is attempting to describe something they've made up themselves and you're not able to envision properly because the description was so poor - there you have it, a poor description, the writing didn't do what it's supposed to set out to do. Do I have to be highly educated to pick out things like that? Nope.

Right, so my thoughts are out. I hope this wasn't too simple and dumbed-down, like I said, I'm a casual reviewer, I'm no professional and I don't intend to become one.

8 comments:

  1. Love this... I have been told to not participate in some reviewing sites because I am not a professional reader. I laugh at this for the sole reason I am not professional reader, but I am a hard working mother with 2 jobs and and a severe addiction to reading...lol So why wouldn't you want my review I represent a ton of women who are not educate to the point of being a "professional reader " . But I still review, I love books and I love to express what I loved about them. Thank you for your blog post!

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    1. I think it's so silly! Especially when the majority of the people who are going to be reading these books are most likely not 'professional readers'. Although I would like to think that I am a professional reader as I have been reading all my life and I did do a few exams in English so I think that should definitely count for something! ;)

      We need to keep reviewing, regardless of whether we're professionals or not!

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  2. Professional reviewers for books are most likely the same as for movies. The result is that most good reviews given to movies end up being movies disliked by most 'regular' folks. So no, you don't need to be a professional reviewer and if you are not, the review is most likely to reflect every normal people's taste.

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  3. I suppose it matters which type of review is being discussed. I'll admit that if we're talking about some New York Times review or Kirkus, I'd expect a reviewer to know the difference between Machiavellian and Marxist principles, for example—things the rest of us might just gloss over. I'd expect the reviewer to be educated and sound as such. If, however, we're talking about the average Amazon or Goodreads reviewer, many of us being hobbyists, I see no reason to expect anything so intellectual. I'd expect average education, average intelligence, average vocabulary, etc. And anyone who claims that the average reviewer needs to sound like they write for the New York Times probably doesn't understand the basic principal behind public reviews. The whole idea is based on what regular people liked or didn't like. Ridiculous.

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    1. I agree. Of course if it's your job and you're getting paid for it, you have to meet higher expectations, but reviewing for fun shouldn't be judged so harshly! I'm an 18year old girl, my reviews are hardly going to be of the same standard as a professional reviewer for a big magazine/newspaper, and although I'm not highly educated (yet) I can still write a decent review about whether I liked the book or not. It's really not even that difficult!

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    2. The other side of the coin, of course, is that education doesn't always equal the ability to write a good review. Some people just lack the ability to think critically about what they read no matter how long they've been in university. Others might lack the patience or the will. I'll admit to being fairly well educated (a Bsc and 2 masters from well ranked universities) and sometimes all I can hustle up is 'I freakin' loved this book' or 'God, I hated it.' Degrees don't automatically mean a person is better at everything, though people often seem to think it does.

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  4. I completely agree that you don't need a higher education to write a good review. Anyone can write a review and in my opinion the reviews by the average reader (as opposed to those who write for Kirkus or New York Times) are the most important. I want to read reviews from readers like me.

    That said, there are some reviewers out there who write reviews in a way that makes them look uneducated. No, a review isn't a book report, but it should be written with at least a little professionalism. For example, if I see a review that looks like a text message I won't read it. I just don't trust a poorly written review to be helpful. You don't need a higher education to use full sentences and use basic grammar.

    Yes, we write reviews for fun, but reviews have a purpose as well. I use reviews to decide what book I'll read next. No, reviewers don't need to have a high education, but they should take the time to write a a quality review.

    Recently I wrote about this on my blog, if you're interested you can check it out here. http://laurynapril.blogspot.com/2013/07/10-tips-to-writing-excellent-book-review.html

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  5. As an Author I will say that it does not take a degree to write a book. A good storyteller will draw you in and show you the scene that they're creating. Education is very helpful when trying to masterfully create the perfect picture on the canvas of your book's pages. However, a lot of people with degrees lack this ability as well.
    If a story/book moves you to take a moment of your time to review it, you have done something right within your storytelling. Like someone above said, it may depend on the topic of the story whether the reviewer may need a little more education to give an honest opinion about the story. But if you're talking to the average person. The people who read and tell others about your work, then you should happily accept and encourage all reviews.

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