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Why I Never Write Book Reviews




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I never write book reviews, and I never intend to. I know that book reviews are a staple of the blogosphere and I could get free books sometimes if I were willing to review them.

I hate writing book reviews. I just won't do it. There are lots of reasons. 

In the first place, it's too much like a school assignment. It feels like something I have to do, not like something I want to do. This would be particularly the case with a book that I received free on the condition that I review it. Reading it would be a chore — and reviewing a worse chore.

I always have several books going at a time. When I get bored with one author I switch to another. I'm actually better at starting them than finishing them. Some theological books state their thesis in the early chapters and spell out the implications in the later chapters. Some of those books I quit. Some I lay down for a long time, only to eventually come back to them. Many, many years ago I started reading
Wolfhart Pannenberg's Theology and the Philosophy of Science.  I got through the opening chapters and the chapters on the physical sciences just fine. When I got to the section on the social sciences I was lost. I couldn't figure out what was being said. It started reading like gobbledegook. I laid it aside in frustration — oh, I guess, maybe I was a third of the way through it. Four years later I picked up again and read straight through the rest of it. 

Reviewing books seems to require me to finish them on some sort of timetable. That is just not how my mind works. 

I often lay aside some really thought provoking books because I feel a need to let the ideas soak in — I feel it would be wrong for me to plunge on when I'm not sure I've grasped the implications of what I've already read. I need to give my unconscious some time with it, too. 

I am not a fast reader — except on the Internet. With blogs I often scan. With books I take my time. I argue with them. I ponder them. I take notes.

And, I want to read whatever I want to read. I'm not interested in reading whatever a publisher is wanting to promote — and, thus, have reviewed. And, I'm not necessarily interested in the latest books. Old books are good. Very old books are often very good.

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But, one of the main reasons I will never post a book review on this site is because I don't ever want to give anyone the idea that reading my review is a substitute for reading the book! 

And, now I need to be honest: that's the attitude I take toward book reviews on other people's blogs. If I see a review of a book with which I am marginally interested, I say to myself: oh, good, I can read this review and save myself from taking the time to read the book. 

So, if I read a book and like it I'll never review it. Why? Because I want you to read it — I certainly don't want to you to read my review and think that's good enough. 

So, following this line of thought, I would only review a book I didn't like — but, then, what's the point of taking that much time with a book I didn't like in the first place. I'd be wasting your time and mine. (And, of course, truth be told, I probably never finished that book.)

So, I will post quotes I like, or use a quote as a jumping-off point — or something like that. I'd be glad to whet your appetite for a book I find interesting or thought provoking. 

If you want to see what I've been reading on the Kindle app, check out "What I'm Reading" under "About Me" — or check out
my Twitter feed.

But, I'm not writing any book reviews: and, that's that. 










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