Last week, I discovered The Bookavid’s blog and came across one of their recent posts ‘How Subjectivity Ruins Your Reviews’. I wanted to share some of my thoughts in response to that post as it got me thinking about the way I review books. It’s also not a topic that I’ve seen discussed at all, until now but feel it’s a very important one within the book blogging community.
My first instinct when reading the post was to disagree. “Of course reviews should be subjective, that’s the whole point”, I thought. Whilst that is still something I believe, my stance has changed somewhat over the last couple of days. In my mind, reviews – especially reviews on book blogs – are more subjective as it’s all about the person’s response to the book. However, as The Bookavid says in their post, by giving a book a low rating of 1 -3 stars, simply because you didn’t like it, “you are possibly preventing readers from finding a read that will change their lives.”. I have to admit, this hadn’t occured to me before. It’s not news to anyone that one person’s reaction to a book may be completely opposing to somebody else’s but I’d never considered the impact a negative review could have.
Of course, this all depends on why you read and write reviews. Perhaps you really hated a particular book so you read reviews to see if others share your opinion or if they can change your mind. Or maybe you’ve read a book with diverse characters and you want to spread the word about books that are representing people of minority groups e.g. people of colour, lgbtq+ characters, or people with disabilities. We all read and review for different reasons, and that is fantastic.
Whilst I still enjoy writing and reading personal and subjective book reviews, I am now much more aware of the importance of a balanced argument. With that being said, the star ratings I give on Goodreads are 100% subjective as I use it as a personal account to keep track of the books I’ve liked and disliked over the years.
Perhaps, I’m very naive when it comes to this discussion, I’m incredibly new to the book blogging community and am still trying to find my feet. Not many people read my blog so the impact my reviews have will be minimal for some time, but that’s not to say I shouldn’t be trying to write the best reviews I can.
Thank you to The Bookavid for making me think about this in a new light!
What are your thoughts on subjectivity in book reviews? Let me know in the comments!