Be a Part of the Book Chain

thank youWorking with books all day, we often hear people rave about something they’ve just read. While they might tell quite a few people through word of mouth what they thought about that book, not everyone goes any further.

Some will go on to find that author’s website, and possibly send out an email to tell them how much they enjoyed the book. Maybe they’ll even get a response. But there is something more important, something that has more impact, that readers can do: thank an author by writing a review.

Online reviews on Goodreads and Amazon don’t always seem like they’re doing anything really important, but they are. Especially for the author. Good reviews are better than bad, but the more reviews a book has, the better it is for the author in general. A well-reviewed book means people are reading that book, which not only translates to more sales, but also to a better standing at the publishing house for that author. If you’ve ever seen debut authors on Twitter and Facebook begging for reviews, they aren’t doing it just to hear praises for their books—they need those reviews to stay relevant in the minds of the publishing business. If they want another book published, the first must garner sales and positive reviews.

Of course, this isn’t all about sales. It’s also about how it affects well known authors and publishing houses and your local library. If people stopped reviewing books, sales would plummet. When sales plummet, bookstores close and authors are not published again. When bookstores close, books either become more expensive to produce, or they will dip into the electronic production, and places like libraries will have a harder time purchasing books for patrons to read. It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it?

So, if you love to read, make sure to do an online review for books you enjoy—Goodreads, Facebook, a blog post, a short tweet….whatever you prefer, just do it.  If you’re really ambitious, do one for every book you read. It will keep book sales high, allow authors to continue to publish, keep bookstores afloat, and allow libraries to receive funding to purchase the books their patrons want to read. We’re all a part of the book chain.

Write a review today!


In a Nutshell

What if you had to review a classic novel in one line? Can you actually summarize something like THE SOUND AND THE FURY in one snappy sentence? One-Star Book Reviews is a fun site that culls all of the one-star reviews from the web and their funny reviews into one place. There are a lot of great books here, books that people didn’t like at all. At. All. But the reviews are humorous, so it makes the one-star seem a little less harsh.

How about…..

frankenstein“Where was Igor?”

slaughterhouse“I did not find the idea of aliens kidnapping a human and putting them in a zoo very plausible.”

If you’ve ever read (or written) a bad review of a book, you’ll have fun with this site.

100 Years of Books

While some people would find it difficult to read 10 books in a year, others read so many that they lose count. If you love to read, you might also like to do your own book reviews on sites like GoodReads. But one blogger has a unique idea that takes book reviews to a different level.


Matt Kahn is a blogger who has decided to read and review every book that reached the number one position on Publisher’s Weekly annual bestseller’s list, beginning in 1913. He lists all the titles he’ll be reading and review here on his blog, so you can follow his progress. It should be interesting…he’ll be reading everything from The Grapes of Wrath to Fifty Shades of Grey, and a whole lot of John Grisham!  He also plans to provide a bit of background on the authors and the time periods in which the books became bestsellers in order to give readers a better sense of why they got there. I also think it will be fascinating to see how popular books have changed over the last 100 years. Will we see trends? Or will books change with the times?

Maybe you’ll be inspired to read some of these books after reading his reviews. You never know, you might find your new favourite author on this list!  Happy reading!

I want to “unlike”. Sometimes.

In the age of Facebook and Twitter and other forms of social media, there seems to be too much positivity going around, especially when it comes to book reviews.  I know that this seems contrary to what most people think. After all, the web allows anyone to have an opinion, and a lot of people seem to find fault with, well, everything. There are people who will comment on blogs or websites just to stir things up.  They enjoy being devilish, I think.

Of course, I’m being very general here. But the simple fact is that, in the book world, people are too positive. Aside from published book reviewers, a lot of people who review books online tend to be overly positive.  It’s like they’re afraid of saying anything negative.  This is especially true of hopeful writers who use sites like Goodreads or their personal blogs to review books by their peers.  Maybe they’re afraid a bad review for a book will cast a dark shadow on their book once it is released. Maybe they just want to be seen as an ever-positive, friendlier-than-anyone-else writer. Whatever the reasons, I’m tired of it. (There are great book wanna-be author/reviewers out there, too! You just have to find the ones you trust.)

I’ve read a few great books recently. I’ve also closed my share of “bad” books after the first 25 pages or so. And yes, many of these books were given such glowing reviews, I was swayed into reading them.  But what if I just wasn’t as wowed by a book as everyone else?  What if it was just okay? What can I do about it? (Yes, I know many reviewers on Goodreads really DO post negative reviews. Sometimes too negative. I’m talking about balance.)

We’re able to “friend” people, to “like” posts and pages, to “follow”.  Sometimes, I just want to say…“Meh, it was okay.”  Sometimes I just want to “hate” a post, or “agree” with a comment, or “stalk for a short time to see if I’m really interested or not”. Why don’t we have those choices?  Why can’t we be totally honest about how we feel? I guess  social media is just that…social.  If we had choices to be negative in any way, it would be anti-social media, right? And for the most part, the positivity is good. But sometimes, I just want to say I didn’t like it. Nothing more than that.

When the new J. K. Rowling book comes out, I’m sure there will be an inordinate amount of negative reviews, simply because people will want to dislike her book. Any author with such unprecedented success would have trouble living up to that standard, even if the next book is fantastic. Rowling will have an even harder time, I’m afraid, because her book is aimed at adults rather than children. Just another hurdle to overcome. (We see the same thing with “adult” authors who start writing for YA or middle grade–they’re judged by a different standard at that point.  Fair?  Not in the least, but that’s the way life works, I guess.)

So, the next time you feel underwhelmed by something, don’t be afraid to say it.  You don’t have to spout negativity from the rooftops, but a simple “I didn’t love it” will get the point across just fine. A better online balance would emerge, rather than a skew toward something unattainable. Try it. See what happens.

Books reviewed.

Why do people write their own book reviews?  I still can’t quite figure this out.  When book reviews are splashed across pages of magazines and newspapers as a book comes onto the shelves (or right before), reviewers are either paid to do a review (and thus, promote the book), or they they do it because it is part of their job.  It’s good for the book and for the author, even if the reviews aren’t stellar (bad press is better than no press at all).  But do personal book reviews really influence anyone? I doubt it.

I’m starting to think that the reason you see so many people writing their own book reviews on blogs etc.,  is to improve their own writing skills.  It can’t possibly be because they think they have something new to say, can it?  Most reviews tend to be a chapter by chapter breakdown, covering large plot points and character descriptions.  Around the end of each review, in a paragraph or two, the reviewer might actually offer up an opinion on the work, but, really, what does it matter?  Do you care about their summary of the book?  Do you care that they did or didn’t like the book?  If they give it five stars, do you think it MUST be one of the best books out there?  I’m going to venture forth and say… probably has absolutely NO INFLUENCE on you at all!

I get tired of streaming through blog posts to find something interesting about books, only to be bombarded with book reviews. I suppose they can be useful on library catalog websites….I’d read a quick paragraph review of a book I was considering just to see if it is worth my time, but I wouldn’t bother with an extended essay on the book.  I want to actually READ the book, not read a summary.

So, do you read book reviews on blogs, or do you stick to reviews in newspapers and magazines?  Do you find personal book reviews helpful at all? Would a review influence you to pick up (or put down) a particular book?  Tell us what you think!

Review a book, get a book

I love books, which is great considering I work at a library.  But there are plenty of people out there who also love them, and love to talk about what they’ve read.  If you have a blog, now you can join BookSneeze and they’ll send you books….for free!  The catch?  All you have to do is review the book once you’re finished.  You get to keep the book, and they’ll send you another as soon as you’re ready.  They have an extensive list of books to choose from and you can keep the book once you’re finished.  (They suggest you give it away, or have it as a prize for your blog readers.)

If you’re interested, just pop onto BookSneeze, and get started today!

Want a book review?

People are always asking us about books that are on our shelves and whether or not the book is good.  Many times, one of the staff has either read the book or that particular author, so we can give an opinion, but not always.  Our own library catalog offers a bit of a blurb on each new book that we enter into our system, but what if you want to know a bit more about a book?

I came across a site that offers book reviews, done often by professional book reviewers as well as just avid readers,  and has detailed information about authors, even offering interviews done with authors through the years.  The site is called Mostly Fiction Book Reviews and you can stop by to see if a book you’ve been wanting to read is really as good as you hoped.

You can find book awards lists, suggestions for kids, award winners  as well as many other ways to search the site.  It isn’t a flashy site and you might not find what you want, but it is worth a look if you are serious about reading reviews before reading a book.