Should Book Reviewers be Censored?

Before becoming a part of any online community of writers and readers like myself, I have never felt pressured about writing reviews. I don’t think I’ve left comments that bash an author or their work. I don’t believe in that but similar to having an opinion on a movie, us readers have opinions on books. The general public needs to understand that one person’s opinion does not affect the success or failure of a person’s book. Not every book will be loved or perceived as a great piece of writing by every reader. And we should have these discussions.

There are books that I loved and other readers didn’t, and I didn’t feel entitled to pressure them into liking it. I didn’t give them a long list of reasons why I liked the book and why I think they should like the book. Nothing in life works like that. Similarly, I’ve come across a lot of books that I couldn’t get past page one and these books have tons and tons of five star reviews. Bear in mind that readers come in all different age groups, cultures, preferences etc. What works for you won’t work for them.

Then why am I feeling so pressured when it’s time to leave a negative review? Not even negative but like a four star. I feel like if I’m not fangirling as hard as other people, they tend to get on your review and bash the crap out of you. Basically, you are bullied for not having the same opinion as the masses. Hmmm, why does that sound familiar? Look, Goodreads ain’t Facebook and it shouldn’t be a breeding ground of hatred. Writing is an art form, an expression of an author. It can be interpreted in many different ways by many different minds. A reviewer should not feel the need to censor themselves or falsify their reviews to please the majority. No. Instead, take these kinds of reviews as analytical feedback.

I don’t know about you but even if I read a few bad reviews and the book sounds interesting to me, I’ll still give it a chance.  As a writer and a book blogger, I feel like I often need to censor my opinion on a piece of writing in fear of being shunned or bullied in online groups. I think it’s unfair. Criticism should be taken in two forms: With a grain of salt, or for improvement. That’s just my two cents here.

Disclaimer: This post is in no way defending book reviewers who leave fake 1 star reviews or spread hatred towards any author. 

A reader should be free to express their thoughts and feelings about a book, whether it be in favor or not. One should not be attacked for having a different take on things. Like I said, one bad review doesn’t make or break a book. Good writing or bad writing does. And it will show eventually. JK Rowling was rejected by publishers. Until this day, there are people who don’t like the HP books. I recently heard someone say Chronicles of Narnia was boring, and that they almost walked out of the movie. There is no greater place for my  imagination as Narnia. So you get my drift?

I’ll leave the post off from here, because I do want to discuss good writing vs storytelling but that’ll need its own post. Also, in relation to this post, I will be discussing Goodreads as a platform for readers and writers alike.

Thanks for reading, and hope you guys an a fantastic Friday and awesome weekend ahead. For my fellow bloggers, how do you deal with leaving negative reviews? Have you ever been bullied?

xo Kat


11 thoughts on “Should Book Reviewers be Censored?

  1. pageafterpagebookblog March 16, 2018 / 4:30 pm

    I agree with you completely. I don’t think we should feel pressured to have the same feelings toward a book that others do. When we read, we’re all reading and understanding the book slightly different than one another, which means we’re not going to review it the same. I’ve been bashed for leaving a three star review on a book that just wasn’t for me. I didn’t say anything harsh or hurtful, but the author’s fans attacked me, leaving me to delete the review. Obviously now I regret being bothered by it, but at the time it felt necessary.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bookish Kat March 16, 2018 / 4:47 pm

      Yes, most times it’s not even a bad review. Just a less favorable one and the reviewer gets bullied until they delete it. I’ve seen it on Goodreads a few times. And the ironic thing, the book will have hundreds of five stars but that one person who didn’t feel the same gets noticed and highlighted. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • pageafterpagebookblog March 16, 2018 / 7:13 pm

        Exactly! I don’t like that. That’s why when I’m undecided about a book, I’ll read the low star first to see what they didn’t enjoy. It feels real and honest and most of the 5 stars are praise to the author.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Bookish Kat March 16, 2018 / 9:02 pm

        Omg I have noticed this too. Some authors have a large following and because their fans love them so much it’s a default five stars. I also look for a similar opinion to mine in the review section 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • pageafterpagebookblog March 17, 2018 / 1:39 am

        Me too! It makes me feel like I’m not completely crazy.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Leila March 16, 2018 / 4:53 pm

    I personally think you should be allowed to be real with your reviews, I like that you will be honest in a constructive and respectful way which is in no way negative.
    You are able to still appreciate a book and still not love it as much as someone else.
    I also feel like 4 stars aren’t enough sometimes but in reality it’s above average, maybe if it was simple as like or unlike with written reviews that would be easier and less offensive.
    Unfortunately we can never please everyone, it’s a sad state of affairs when people are spreading hatered and bashing others.
    I have no time for bullies and this made me sad that you’ve had to feel like you need to censor because of this. I’ve never found your reviews to be offensive.
    I hope you have a wonderful Friday and a lovely weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bookish Kat March 16, 2018 / 5:23 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate all kinds of writing, even if it doesn’t always work for me. I try to leave critical feedback more so for readers who are interested in what the book entails. If i happen to leave a low rating, I choose my words respectfully and carefully. But seeing some other reviewers get bashed for their opinions makes me concerned as a book blogger. We owe it to our following to be truthful of our thoughts. Thanks for reading xo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Alex March 17, 2018 / 7:37 pm

    I completely agree with you. There have been many times when I’ve loved a book that other people hated, or when I’ve disliked a book that a ton of other Goodreads reviewers are gushing over. But, like you said, it’s important for us all to have different opinions. We all have slightly different experiences when we read a book, so we all form slightly different impressions of it, and if we aren’t honest in our feedback, what’s the point? We’re just misleading the author (if they read those reviews) and everyone else who’s looking at Goodreads to see if they might like a book. You shouldn’t ever feel ashamed about leaving a negative review . . . I wish there weren’t people out there who feel like they need to attack every with a different opinion!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Madam Mim May 6, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    I’ve read a few posts where people have had a load of negative comments, just for honestly saying they didn’t like a book. I think that’s really sad, ultimately we’re all going to have different opinions – and that’s the point of reading book reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookish Kat May 6, 2018 / 1:33 pm

      Some people are downright trolls. I think critical feedback is insightful but I don’t condone bashing an author for the sake of it. Writing is art. Everyone perceives it differently. Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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