The reading experience has taken an interesting public dimension in recent times. With the advent of websites like Goodreads, and with the rise of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, readers are able to easily interact and communicate with other readers and authors. The reading community has expanded far beyond the local book clubs.
With thousands of books being published yearly in a variety of genre, the question: "What do I read next?" becomes harder and harder to answer. And websites like Goodreads and review blog sites have become helpful tools for readers. For the most part, the experience is positive: I've discovered new authors and new books through the recommendation of other readers.
Reviews have become an indispensable reference for readers -- and has also become an essential barometer of readers' taste for authors and publishers.
Which is why the question posed today is important:
Should Authors Comment On Reviews? Why?
The short answer is no.
One assumes that, once a book has been published, it has gone through the process of being read, edited, critiqued, read again, edited again, etc -- it is the completed product of the author and editor collaboration.
And then it becomes the reader's turn:
When I read a book, the farthest thing from my mind is to nitpick and hate it. I expect the reading experience to be enjoyable so, in the rare instance that I don't like the book (last year, it was 7 out of 137 books), I must explain to myself why.
I would like to believe that reviews are written with the best and most sincere intentions. That the reviewer has done his research and read the book thoroughly.
At the end of it all, when a review isn't what the author expected, he should remember that it is from someone's personal experience of the book -- and that ought to be respected.
To quote John Steinbeck:
A man who tells secrets or stories must think of who is hearing or reading, for a story has as many versions as it has readers. Everyone takes what he wants or can from it and thus changes it to his measure. Some pick out parts and reject the rest, some strain the story through their mesh of prejudice, some paint it with their own delight. A story must have some points of contact with the reader to make him feel at home in it. Only then can he accept wonders.
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