I’ve seen this question popping up all over the interwebs like doppelganger furballs from a wet Mogwai. To me it’s a no brainer. Let me explain.
First I feel I should mention that I am an unpublished writer who also reviews books. However, I won’t ever bash another author. If I read a book which I don’t care for, I’ll simply give it however many stars I deem appropriate and move along with my day. Certain books and I just won’t click. That’s perfectly fine. There’s no need for me to drag someone else’s good name through the mud. I’d rather save the actual review portion for books I love.
A better question should be why wouldn’t authors/writers review books? Most, if not all, authors/writers read. Those same authors are all entitled to their opinions. Hell, I just read Patrick Rothfuss give a scathing review and didn’t see anything wrong with it. Before we call ourselves authors/writers, we’re all consumers first. We buy books. We read books. We like/don’t like those same books. We like to tell our friends, neighbors, and anyone else how much we like/don’t like books.
Personally speaking, I’ve learned more about the kind of writer I want to be by critically reviewing books. If I can pick apart strengths and weaknesses from published authors, and books, I love, then I can do it with my own words. If I would have worried what other folks thought about me–being unpublished and reviewing books–I would have missed out on that.
As long as reviewers aren’t purposefully bashing other writers, I don’t see a problem with unpublished writers reviewing books. There will always be knuckleheads. We can’t let a few rotten apples spoil the whole bunch. Intelligent reviews will always stand out no matter who wrote them. It’s probably safe to assume imbecilic vitriol will stand out for obvious reasons too.
If we think unpublished authors shouldn’t be reviewing books, does that mean they shouldn’t review anything with writing involved at all? I’m talking about movies, television shows, comics, and video games. Who gets to decide what one person should, or shouldn’t, review? What gives them the right?
As for me, I’m going to keep reviewing the books I love. I like sharing the reasons why I love an author’s world, characters, and words with anyone willing to listen. Maybe someone else will read and fall in love with the same book. Maybe they won’t. It’s up to each of us to decide for ourselves.
And isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Love, passion, and words.
I support anyone reviewing books. Just be careful not to spill anymore water on the Mogwai. I mean, nobody wants another Stripe running around ruining Corey Feldman’s Christmas again, do they?