Sunday, August 31, 2014
Saying Nice Things About Books
When you were little, did your mother tell you that if you didn't have something nice to say about someone, you shouldn't say anything at all? That's kind of how I feel about book reviews. Certainly there are bad books out there, and book reviewers should warn readers about them; but I made a conscious choice some time ago to only feature positive reviews on this blog. If I can't honestly give the book four or five stars, then I skip it. Because there are a lot of books that go unnoticed in the vast flood of published work out there. I think that it's also a reviewer's job to point readers toward books they might have missed. That's the kind of reviewer I'd like to be. One of the great things about my day job is that I'm constantly being exposed to books and writers I would not have read on my own. I'm not, for example, a huge fan of political thrillers. So many of them are wildly predictable and writing that's stronger on jargon than it is on style. And then I was asked to read Daniel Silva's The English Girl. It is the latest in his series about Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon whose cover is a job as an art restorer. It was terrific. So good, in fact, that I've bought the other books in the series and intend to read them all. I've also decided to do a lot more reviewing in the coming months. I've got a huge pile of books and galleys and manuscripts piling up and I know that when I start sifting through them, I'm ging to find some golden nuggets. I'll tell you about those. And in the meantme, if you like great writing, do yourself a favor and pick up one of Daniel Silva's books. You'll be glad you did.