It’s Friday again and that’s where I get to post my favorite discussion! J.R. @ Eternity Books is hosting this discussion called Let’s talk bookish every Friday, so feel free to join! Today’s topic is the question whether book reviews should have standards, so here we go!
In general: no – but
In general, I am not convinced that book reviews should be standardized (more later), but I believe it to be of great importance to have one rule: no hate. Whether this is an unspoken rule or one you learn on the way, it should definitely count.
There shouldn’t be any hate concerning the author as they put a lot of effort and love into their books and no matter how much you might dislike this book, the author still thinks of it as their baby and might even identify herself through it. Subsequently, no hate for the book. This is another person’s work and you wouldn’t want you work to be brutally criticized.
Back to in general… – book reviews in their free time
I am talking about book reviews by blogger such as you and me – people who started a blog out of the love of books and who don’t consider this to be their job (more on that later). Considering that this is a free-time activity, I would consider it inappropriate to standardize a book review. Everyone has the right to create their text individually, pointing out all the positive aspects and laying low on the negative, or vice versa.
There shouldn’t be any hate, but apart from that it should be the blogger’s individual choice. Standards such as general book information, publication date or page count aren’t necessary as it would become an obligation rather than a nice touch to add to your review. Personally, I am very fond of the little information about books such as pages etc, but making it obligatory as a standard feels inappropriate and not fitting as this is unique and individual work.
Book reviews as jobs (newspaper or agency)
I don’t believe this to be any matter here as most of my readers are bloggers or bookworms, but in the case of book reviews being your job, then I’d say yes to standards. Having this as a job would probably mean having a broader audience which should always be connected to rules or standards. Publishing your review in a newspaper should most definitely be standardized as legal boundaries have to be made clear, such as hate speech.
That’s it – I guess this is a very controversial topic and I’m excited to read what you think about it, so feel free to challenge me in the comments! Happy reading and a great weekend!