Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Don't Take My Word For It

A review of a novel, film or other creative work is one person’s opinion.

And that’s exactly what it’s meant to be. As Darryl Ponicsan, a better known coal region-born writer, put it, “An honest reviewer reads a book and says, ‘I like it’ or ‘I don’t like it’ or ‘I’m lukewarm about it,’ and why.”

So what does that mean to you, the reader?

Many select a book on the basis of genre, their knowledge of the author or the suggestion of a friend or family member. There also might be the influence of advertising, an intriguing cover design or, simply, a whim. The reviewer is just another adjunct.

An honest review can help you sort out from the estimated 190,000 new books published every year in the U.S. those you might want to buy or borrow from your local library. That’s just the estimate for the U.S. Add another 130,000 for the United Kingdom. Care to guess how many worldwide?

My historical novel Watch The Hour just received an encouraging review (http://historicalnovelsociety.org/hnr-online.htm) which termed it “a page-turning yarn.” I’m not about to argue with a description like that.

My point is, don’t take my word for it. Watch The Hour is a book worth your time. The novel has received repeated good reviews elsewhere. To name a few: http://thebookbuff.blogspot.com/2010/06/j.html




  1. John - You're absolutely right that the best reviews are the honest kind, where the reviewer is quite clear about the appealing and not-so-appealing aspects of the book. I think people who really love to read have a set of review blogs or other review sources that they've come to trust, chiefly because those review sources are honest. I know that's true of me.

  2. And those reviews are well deserved, John.