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Henry Ward Beecher said, “Books are the windows through which the soul looks out”. I have always found that statement quite thought-provoking and curious. It always made me wonder as to what the soul does when we aren’t reading books. What is a soul anyway? This is not the first time anyone has heard this question. The funniest and the most common answer for this question, however, was given by Brendan Fraser in his movie ‘Bedazzled’.
Our souls are imprints of ourselves. The true image of our mind. It reflects our actions, our thoughts, our inner desires. The more happy and beautiful and selfless our minds are, the more radiant our souls. Atleast that’s what I think. I might be wrong.
So. When do souls look out?
It can be rephrased to – When do our minds look out? When does our mind crave a change of views? I think it is when our minds tackle problems that are unfamiliar that it looks out for inspiration (or rather hope). Our souls look our through the windows to find a fresh outlook. A new perspective. Maybe even a tiny sliver of hope when everything around is failing.
At times like these, there is no better companion than a good book. Books have the unique ability to transport us into new dimensions, show us how people live in faraway lands, how people tackle the problems they face, how people come out of tragedies and conundrums as better versions of themselves.
But…this is not the case all the time. At times, there is just no book that can tell us how to face a certain challenge. And this happens more often than not. The reason….authors don’t want to write about controversial topics like feelings, depression, heartbreak, anger, addiction, recovery or hatred. Authors nowadays want to reach a wide variety of audience and have their books go down in history for being accessible and relatable to a majority of the population. Writing about controversial topics and feelings do not exactly have the same effect. Books on feelings or addictions or depression have niche audiences. Not everyone would pick one of these books from a bookstore for reasons like embarrassment or doubt.
For instance, one of the best books (self-help or otherwise) that I have read and cherished for a long time is a book by Andrew Carnegie called ‘How to win friends and influence people’. As I am a bookworm from a very early age, I read this book when I was in high school. I still remember the look people gave me when they saw the cover of the book I was reading. The ones who didn’t know the author or the quality of the content had expressions of pity, empathy, sorry all rolled into one. And I have heard from many fellows readers that people like pulling our legs when they learn that we have a self-help book in our hands.
I for one have great respect for people who read self-help books. Shows me that they are committed to change for the better. Shows me that they are not afraid to look for help. People turn to other sources like friends, influencers, books when they need help getting through something they are not familiar with. When they need something that they couldn’t find within themselves. So far, I have seen a very little number of books that touch topics like depression, failure in relationships, failure in career and similar topics that actually have any helpful advice or roadmap. Sure…these are topics that do not warrant or have a certain fixed roadmap but multiple roadmaps and solutions that have worked for different people in different situations are better than no roadmap at all. I do wish that more authors explore these topics in mainstream books and novels.
Because there is an audience. And a very big one too.
The rise of Quora in the modern digital age is no small feat. It is one perfect example of supplying a demand. There have always been people with questions and there have always been people with answers for those questions. And a lot of times, people who have the answers prefer to answer anonymously because the answer might be related to an instance of their lives that they don’t want to acknowledge privately. A majority of people use Quora to gain answers for getting through tough times or making decisions that can change a life. Another thing that can be taken from the Quora case, is that people love to share stories. Everyone is trying to help others to not make the same mistakes that they did.
So if mainstream authors came up with quality content exploring topics that haven’t been explored before or those that have been considered controversial, there is an audience.
Mainstream authors however are more interested in the commercial appeal of their work nowadays. With books of subpar storylines and extremely far-fetched romances or family drama topping bestseller lists worldwide and making deals to have their movies made, authors have made the choice to keep churning out content with unfathomable amounts of cheesiness. It has come to a point that it seems the goal of these so-called celebrity authors is to design every teenager’s daydreams come true. And the weapons they command for this battle: Swoon inducing encounters between a boy and a girl, cheezy dialogues, and overusing serendipity to the point of disgust.
And so if more mainstream authors and books explore topics like fighting depression or getting out of a toxic life cycle or making better career decisions or getting rid of an addiction or even getting back from a breakup, I think books will make a meaningful and significant comeback into the daily routine of people. People will rely more on the written word of authors than fake news and pseudo-happiness provided by social networks and fake news.
Jesil K Jose
Jesil is a 23-year-old engineer and entrepreneur with a great love for good art and cultures. He is a bookworm through and through and enjoys reviewing books in his spare time. He is also an amateur blogger and writes on topics that make him curious. He enjoys reading novels and self-help books when he isn't coding or running a company.
A book review can be a critical analysis or summarize the text of the book. They are basically written opinions by the Book Lovers for a particular book. They can be written by either professional reviewers or some of the readers of that book. They can be long, descriptive in nature or brief and little and can be written in various forms. Every reader has a different kind of thinking after reading a book. Hence, when each and every type of reader reads a book, it creates lots of opinions and different views on the same book making it more valuable for the other readers to decide whether they want to read that book or not. These reviews from a variety of readers made it worthier, and also attracts many other readers to read that book.
Book reviews help a lot to the Authors to attract audience towards their book, as a reader will definitely get attracted to a book with great and to the point reviews. It took just a few seconds for a reader to judge a book by its review. Book reviews give books greater publicity than any other mode of advertisement. More reviews and specifically good reviews from Book Lovers give a book a greater chance of getting found by more readers. The bookstores too prefer selling a book with good reviews and greater visibility which greatly add on in the author’s value too. Book reviews also save a reader’s time, as a reader can predict what he will find in that book and make him feel more connected with that particular book by reading the review of that book.
The presence of book reviews can help an Author to know his best points, in which he has mastery and along with that he also came to know about his weakness and errors in his work. It gives him endless opportunities to improve himself as a writer. Book reviews increase the worth of a book as well as of its Author. It provides a lot of points the author can introduce or remove from its work. A genuine review provides an insight into the author in his work and where he is lacking behind. It also provides some basic stuff like text and quality check along with the depth analysis for the Author. An author can also get the opinion and views of the general public on his book and get to know his audience more closely through these reviews. These reviews are the soul of the book and its Author. Last but not least, A good and sympathetic review is always a wonderful gift an Author can ever achieve from Book Lovers.
Some would argue that ‘bad reviews’ or negative reviews have no place in the bookish community and only foster feelings of hurt and hatred and negativity as a whole, but in my opinion they are crucial for both authors and readers.
If written in the right way, negative reviews can be helpful for a number of reasons. The best type of negative reviews would be the ones where the reader doesn’t blindly hate on the story or author but gives constructive criticism and tips for improvement. During the initial stages of sending their story to beta readers, sensitivity readers or giving ARC copies to the very first readers, authors need to sit back with an open mind and thoroughly review the negative feedback they get even if it is rather painful. Many a times the feedback may be about some small things that the author can improve on easily but makes a huge difference to the story all in all. And yes, other times like when the author’s writing style is called ‘not captivating enough’ that’s not something they can do much about. Their only choice is to learn a lesson from it and research on these weaknesses pointed out by reviewers so that they can work on and avoid them in future.
Negative reviews can be helpful for other readers too; especially if they come from a fellow reviewer they trust. Depending on the things pointed out in these bad reviews a person gets a sense of what the book is about and whether or not they should read it. Because negative reviews don’t deter as many people as you think they would, infact sometimes people read a book because the negative review they read said that the book was slow-paced and heavy on the romance side which was not what the reader was led to believe, but another reader may want exactly that kind of a book.
And lastly, you cannot stop readers from writing these so called bad reviews. They have a right to freedom and speech and can air their thoughts in whichever way they please. So the only option we all really have is to accept and celebrate them.
Charvi is an introverted book blogger with a flair for writing and unending love for fictional characters. She is a huge psychology enthusiast and loves to paint or go out for a swim. You will usually find her day dreaming about books, plotting stories in her head, blogging away or trying to escape certain death by her stack of unread books.
Reviews, why are they so important? What is the real difference between a bad review and a good one? Being a writer, the most important thing is to connect with the readers at a personal level. Reviews tells you that how much you were able to connect as they are the point of view of an individual. Good or bad each review is important for a writer, for their development.
Why do you always feel that rage and anger when you see a bad one? The reason behind this is that our brain is designed to do so. It distinguishes good or bad reviews as good or bad news as allows you to behave accordingly. So, now lets come to the point; how should authors deal with Bad Reviews?
It is not only you.
The most important thing in this field is to know that you are not alone. There are many bestsellers with some bad reviews. Not sure? Go find them in amazon. Lemme give you an example, just have a look at “THINK AND GROW RICH” by Napoleon Hill #1 Bestseller. Out of 4,330 reviews, 9% of them has three star or less rating. But still it is a #1 Bestseller.
What I think of all the Good Reviews? | The Reality
The thing is that, when I find a book with 500 reviews and all good ones, the first thing that strikes on my mind is that they are fake or the author must be a rich guy/girl who can afford a hell lot of fake reviews. Maybe, he/she was just flattering a lot of family, friends and relatives. That’s something that no author would want their readers to think.
Acceptance is the Key
Responding to bad reviews just raises controversies. Try to accept the criticism. Moving on and acceptance are very much important for day to day lives. You are not writing to make friends. You are doing this for you.
Nothing is bad in getting a bad review. You just need to understand that each and every person has his/her point of view and accept the fact that your writing cannot please everyone. Also tell me one thing that, do you like every book that you read?