Loathing, or not

‘Please feel free to loathe it’ is what it says in the accompanying letter, and that is such a relief.

Now, I don’t expect to loathe Donna Moore’s Old Dogs, when I eventually get to it, having courageously worked my way through mountains of books. And maybe Donna doesn’t expect me to either, but for an amusing writer she is very modest about her own work. Even her stationery looks good; a retro looking picture of a lady and the caption ‘she kind of enjoyed working for an idiot’. You have to love it.

Press releases gush about whatever they are there to gush about, and they are generally written by someone other than the gushee, so that’s OK. PR people are experts at pressing the right buttons to make me feel compelled to read ‘their’ book. But if I don’t like the book, I can just leave it.

Sometimes people contact me out of the blue to offer their books for review, and the offers can be anything from quite suitable for me to the downright wrong. Some writers are modest while doing this, whereas many are very full of themselves and the excellence of their books, which tends to bring out my worst Swedishness along the lines of ‘thou shalt not believe you are anything special’.

It’s easiest when books are either already on my shelves or I have bought them fair and square (and anonymously) or if sent out with hundreds of others by the publishers. Then the author has no idea that I may do a review of it, and I don’t have to skulk if I hate something.

I’m forever dreading the scenario where someone knows full well I have their book and I end up not liking it. This has not happened yet. Can I be so lucky that I will never be acquainted with the author of a really bad book? I know more writers who may join the ‘feel free to loathe’ club, but you don’t mean it. Deep down.

Old Dogs

Keren David’s When I Was Joe made me nervous, before I read it. The relief I felt when it turned out to be wonderful was such a, well, relief. The same goes for Candy Gourlay’s marvellous Tall Story, which isn’t out yet.

But just think, if I had avoided these books on the off chance that I’d not like them. That would have been stupid.

I’m sure Old Dogs will be just fine, even if I’m not into pets that much. Oh, it’s not about dogs? Oh well.

2 responses to “Loathing, or not

  1. You can rest assured that I mot definitely DO mean that you are free to loathe it. My mum doesn’t like my books, my partner is not a crime fiction fan and, although he started to read it he told me he couldn’t finish, and one of my friends didn’t like my first book (and we had an excellent discussion about why). And I still love THEM :o) I love to hear the reasons people like or dislike books – I think it’s fascinating how we can all love the genre yet, within it, we can love and hate books with a passion.

    I honestly don’t mind bad reviews, in fact, I had one for HELENA that I totally agreed with – the guy just did not like that type of book, he explained his reasons, and I appreciated what he said and the fact that he had taken the time to write a balanced review.

    Of course, it would be lovely if everyone liked everything I ever wrote, but that’s not going to happen. I don’t care for the Stieg Larsson books yet 99% of the population seem to love them, so, even with the most popular books there’s going to be a difference of opinion.

    For every one person that enjoys OLD DOGS there may be 10 who hate it. Or 100. The important thing for me is the 1 person who enjoyed it. I had great fun writing it, I’m stunned that it’s getting published and if it gives even one person a giggle then that makes me happy.

    So, again, I say, please do feel free to loathe it. And if you do, I want to know. I won’t be hurt, I won’t be offended, and I will continue to think that you’re lovely :o)

  2. …and then you can kill me off in your next book.

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