Book Reviews

Yesterday I published on my other blog a review of a book I'd recently read.

I struggled in writing the review because I couldn't give it the accolades that I know every author wants. There was a lot of interest in the book, but it really needed editing so I sweated blood in trying to give an honest opinion without sitting on the baked cake.

Baked Cake?

That's from something I read a long time ago that was attributed to Danielle Steel. The famous author said: "A bad review is like baking a cake with all the best ingredients and having someone sit on it."

I never want to demolish anyone's best effort so I carefully compose each book review I publish.

Authors pour their heart and soul into books. They never set out to write a bad book. Sometimes, the end result just doesn't match the vision within.

Takeaway Truth

I hope if you publish book reviews that you'll remember writers are real people with real feelings. Choose your words carefully.


  1. In reviewing restaurants, I long ago decided that if a place deserved a bad review, what I needed to do is to sit down with management and tell them what I found objectionable - and then give them no review at all.

    Most restaurants, I felt, had a raison d'etre. What was important was that buyers find the restaurant they were looking for. With that point of view, I could praise the hash at Joe's Slingery while mentioning that you don't want to wear clothes that are easily stained, and praise the decor at the Maisonette while mentioning that the servings are small and the cash register merciless.

    Similarly, you could say that here is the book fans of Charles Dickens have been waiting on their hands for, and at 200,000 words, they certainly have a lot of reading matter (or at 35,000 words, it's perfect for reading in bed while lying on your back). At the same time, mention that if you're not yet a Charles Dickens fan, you probably want to start with Another Title, which features the stronger characters, a lucid plot, and interesting narratives that this book lacks.

    Some reviewers derive great joy from knocking everything. That's stupid. If there are no redeeming qualities in what you're reviewing, you ought not publish a review at all.