Not me personally, you understand. Just in terms of what I’m reading. I have two books on the go – one fiction, one poetry – and when it comes to writing my short reviews here, I can already see they will pose a problem.
I’m not naive or vain enough to think what I say makes any great difference. The poet is already gaining a reputation in the UK. The author is young, and we’re talking about a debut novel – and she’s already being sold in Waterstones’ shops, and I’m not. (I’m in their on-line store, yes, which is something.)
I will be honest in my review, but don’t want to be uncharitable or scathing or bile-ridden. So much criticism can come across that way, can’t it? There’s a fine line to find as always in such cases. I try to imagine how they might feel if they one day read what I’d written. We’re all susceptible. How many of us like to see an unkind review? Or only two stars out of five? Even though it isn’t meant to be, how can such a thing not be taken personally?
Would I not write a review then, under such circumstances? No. Would I be dishonest? No. It will just be a question of finding the right words and the correct balance. A bit like being a Writer, really…