As a writer and reader, I have more than a passing interest in book reviews. While some writers say they don’t pay attention to reviews, that level of insouciance escapes me. I think it’s a natural human tendency to be more than curious about what readers think of your work—good, bad, or in-between. I can barely imagine a writer who doesn’t read reviews.
I’m not talking about reviews from trade publications such as Library Journal, Booklist Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus. They could be the subject of an entirely different piece. Rather, when asking the question “To Review or Not to Review” I’m referring to the millions of reviews posted by readers on internet sites such as Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Shelfari and others. These can be brief, telegraphic, one or two sentence entries, or long disquisitions about a book and its merits or shortcomings.