I don’t think reviewers are supposed to be opinion shapers but rather subjective assessors of what people with like tastes will find enjoyable and objective assessors of quality. A good review should keep followers from wasting their time and money on books they probably won’t like or are of poor quality.
As a reader and author I want to find a reviewer that has tastes similar to mine, can objectively assess the quality of writing, and communicate effectively. I believe a good review will tell me three things:
First I want to know does this book suit my taste. Is it the right genre and sub genre? Is the style right for me? Why does my reviewer of choice recommend or not recommend this book? What does the reviewer like or not like? These are questions I want answered.
Secondly I’d like to know is the quality of the book good? I want to know if the book is fundamentally flawed (as in poorly edited or written) or well written. I want an opinion and the reason for the assessment.
Finally I’d like to know if the reviewer recommends my reading or not reading the book or spending my hard earned money on it. I want a firm recommendation and a review that waffles is of no use so why should I follow this blogger’s reviews.
What do you think? It would be useful to me as an author to know what others think and especially bloggers, reviewers and readers.
Here is a provocative statement: A reviewer who waffles is about as useful as a car without fuel.
Book reviews are hard to write. I don't think I write reviews (<a href=http://www.ManOfLaBook.com>http://www.ManOfLaBook.com</a>) at all and I happily acknowledge it.
In order to write a proper review one has to read the book at least twice (once for pleasure, another for dissection) - that, my friends, is a job not a hobby.
I feel it's kind of like a movie review, you need to find a reviewer that has tastes similar to your own. I have a book reviewer that I agree with most of the time and trust their judgement...
Exactly. I think that's the whole purpose of following a reviewer.
As an author I don't think I should have any input into a review. That's just my take. I am after all very biased about the books I write but I do welcome constructive criticism. The emphasis is on constructive.