Late last year the author Matt Haig tweeted that book bloggers were being too positive: not every book published was wonderful, he said; he could do with a bit more criticism, a little negativity now and then. Of course he’s right – lots of books should never have been published in the first place and few are entirely brilliant – but he caused a good deal of upset. When I looked in later things were turning nasty as they sometimes do on Twitter but not usually in my neck of the woods. His publicist had tactfully stepped in no doubt seeing valuable coverage for his next novel disappearing noisily down the drain but several bloggers were more than a little put out. The following week Haig wrote a short opinion piece in The Bookseller standing by what he said but written in more emollient tones – that’s what having more than 140 characters will do for you.
My own stance is that I felt Haig was being a little unfair but he didn’t deserve to have mud slung at him. Perhaps he should try buying a periodical like the TLS who pay their reviewers to think long and hard about the books they review, although it’s a small world – even reviews in the broadsheets may not be entirely objective. Bloggers blog for the fun of it, because they love reading and often because they want to share their pleasure with others. There are bloggers who review negatively but that’s entirely up to them. As long as a review is honest it hardly matters if it’s a little over enthusiastic. After many years of reading titles for work that were not always my choice I made a decision to write here only about the ones I would recommend to a friend. Anything else and I’m more than likely to have given the book up. What do you think?