Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why I don't consider myself a book reviewer

I talk about books a lot here at Psycho-Noir, but I’m not a book reviewer, despite appearances. And this is not a book review blog. Honestly, I don’t know what this blog is. Aside from the roster of guest posts featured recently, the bulk of posts have been either self-promotional, rants vaguely related to writing or reading, and fan-boyish chatter about books I enjoyed.

But that’s the thing: it’s only ever books I enjoyed. Like most of you, I read a great deal, and if I like a book I’ll mention it here. But for every five books I read, two or three don’t do much for me. If I was an actual book reviewer, I’d include them here, dissect them, point out all their flaws. But I’m not interested in doing that.

No, if a book doesn’t work for me, I ignore it. I have no desire to tear down other people’s work in a public forum, especially if the writer in question is struggling to be read, to be noticed. That just seems cruel, like making fun of someone struggling to walk again after being in a wheelchair for years.

Yes, you might say, but what if the writer in question really does suck and would be well-served to know that and stop vomiting his crappy prose all over the publishing world? Good point, sure, but you know what? Not my job. I’m not judging actual critics and reviewers who do that, I’m just saying I have no interest in it (with a few exceptions; fuck you, James Patterson and Lee Child, you suck).

So in the coming year, I intend to stop referring to my book chatter as “reviews”. They’re “recommendations”, that’s what that are. And you’ll see lots of recommendations in the coming months.


  1. Sensible approach, Heath. I don't write reviews either. If I didn't write, I might, but I think it's risky for us authors. It's a small world. I wouldn't want to get off on the wrong foot with another writer just because I didn't care for one particular book she wrote. Same reason I will never, ever, ask a friend what they thought of something I wrote. I figure if he liked it he'll tell me and if not, I don't want to know. :)

    And yes, I know, I need to write a guest post for you... *slinks away*

  2. Anne, yeah, I think that's it exactly. When it comes down to it, you can either be a writer or a critic. It's almost impossible to exist in both worlds at the same time without screwing yourself up. I've seen it happen.

  3. Amen, brother. I sometimes refer to my blog posts as reviews, but they're not. And while I might occasionally express a reservation about something in a book, I won't rip one, either. I used to be quicker to write negative posts about movies, but I've gotten to where I won't even do that. I'd rather talk about stuff that I like. The Internet, to me, is sort of like the electronic version of sitting around a hotel lobby at a convention and shooting the breeze with folks.

  4. "Fuck you, James Patterson and Lee Child, you suck." Ha, Ha! Love it! :)

  5. Julia, ha... the only reason I say that is because I'm completely certain that nothing I say could possibly have any effect whatsoever on the careers and income of either of those hacks.

  6. Unless I read a non-fiction book that I know the be factually inaccurate, I won't leave negative reviews. I won't review a book, either on Amazon or my own blog, unless it's to recommend it. So I wholeheartedly approve of your policy, sir.

  7. "Julia, ha... the only reason I say that is because I'm completely certain that nothing I say could possibly have any effect whatsoever on the careers and income of either of those hacks."

    BULLETIN BULLETIN BULLETIN: The publishers of James Patterson and Lee Child have announced they are dropping those bestselling authors from their rosters, effective immediately. When asked for the reason for this unexpected move, the publishers replied, "We heard Heath Lowrance didn't like them, and that was good enough for us." Child refused comment and Patterson responded through his ghostwriter: "I'm in talks now with New Pulp Press. But they say I'll have to actually write all my books from now on."