You are here:

Writing Books/How to properly review/critique a book (e-book)

Advertisement


Question
Hello, Ms. Muster.
  About a few days ago, I asked you a question regarding how to properly document the works of others and whether or not to get the author's permission when using their ideas in your work. You were very helpful and I really appreciate your time in answering my question.
  I do have another, similar question, though. This is about a review I wrote regarding an e-book I read. I do plan to either make this review into a report, or at the very least post it on my website (which I plan to have up soon).
  My question is, I know you mentioned that depending upon the situation, you need the author's permission when you are using their ideas in your work. But what about writing a review? You really aren't "using" their ideas. Just commenting on them and giving your opinion, and, basically, what I did in my review was that I talked alittle about what was in the book and commented on what I liked and didn't like about the book. Do I have to get the author's permission to just comment on it?
  Also, is there a "proper way" to do a review/critique without completely "bashing" the book and the author? I know that at times, when you do a review, the author's integrity is at stake, and I have seen, at least with movie reviewers, how they sometimes really "trash" movies they don't like (and some of these movies are the ones I love, too!). I realize that all reviewers are doing is "giving their opinion" and one person's "likes" is another person's dislikes, but is there an "ethical" way to do a review, even if you don't like the book? Thank-you for your time.

Sincerely;
David Ho

P.S.: If you like, I could send you a sample of my first critique. Just let me know how I should send it.  

Answer
Dear David,
Thank you for your question. Sure, send a sample of your first critique. You can post it somewhere and send the URL or put it in one of these AllExperts windows or mail it to me email@norimuster.com.
The worst thing about a bad review is if the reviewer is spiteful. You can hear it in their words that they have a personal problem that they're projecting on the book.
Here are my reviews from Amazon.com. You can see that some of the reviewers are just trying to discredit me. They probably didn't even read the book. You can look at Amazon, but I have copied the reviews to my site, see:
http://surrealist.org/betrayalofthespirit/reviewsamazon.html
You don't need the author's permission.
The best bad review points out factual errors and prejudices without hurting anyone's feelings. Feelings should not enter into it, just the quest for truth.
I hope this helps,
Sincerely,
Nori

Writing Books

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Nori J. Muster

Expertise

due to hacking of this website I am no longer answering questions

Experience

due to hacking of this website I am no longer answering questions

Education/Credentials
due to hacking of this website I am no longer answering questions

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]