When I was at university, we used to play a daft combination of truth or dare and drinking game called 'I Have Never' - at university, it involved making "risque" statements like "I have never... had a threesome!" Everyone who had, or at least was willing to confess would have to stand and take a drink. I'm bringing it to my blog in an irregular series, with less alcohol, but asking the questions that can be considered a little risque in the book blogging world and listing the answers here. This is a massive just for fun exercise and do join in with comments and tales of your own. I'll even accept drunken university tales in lieu of actual replies to the questions.
So... I have never lied in a book review. Straight up. What you see is what I feel. If I loved it I gush. If I hated it I say so - the only concession I will make is trying to make it at least a little constructive rather than just vitriolic hate towards a book.
I asked this question on Twitter and some people kindly allowed me to use their replies!
The simply gorgeous Adele (especially now she's smiling and kick ass in her Twitter profile pic!): "No, but I have thought I might have reviewed something differently in light of stuff I've read since." (I actually agree a little here with Adele - having read more books in particular genres, I almost want to revisit books I read and gave harsh reviews to, to see if I feel differently).
Self-proclaimed scruffy bastard Paul Graham Raven: "Yes, when I first started. You don't want to be the new guy hatin' on stuff that the big names like, do you? :)" (Well, I scoffed rather at a few points in Joe Abercrombie's debut novel, so I don't think I follow this line of reasoning *grin*)
Glamorous and very tall Ewa said: "When I wrote a few reviews for a local paper as a teenager, definitely. I was unnecessarily positive." (Please blog more, Ewa - PLEASE!)
Andrew - still fairly new to blogging, welcome him! - said: "I've never lied in reviews, but I hate pointing faults out. I would say "not for me" or "not my age group"." (I think that pointing out faults is essential in order to be honest - but there is a right way and a wrong way to achieve this. Sometimes I manage to achieve this, sometimes I don't!)
Blogger extraordinaire Civilian Reader (seriously, if you're not reading this blog, why not?! He does a great line in Black Library reviews) explained: "Never lied; but same as @gavreads, though less a lie than change in situation. Sometimes change mind after review, with hingsight. Actually, in some ways yes; I often tone down praise - I'm put off by hyperbole, so often my reviews seem drier than they should."
Another fairly new blogger, Lisa, said: "I've never lied, but I've definitely felt guilty saying anything mean about an author's work b/c I know how tough criticism can be" (I think Lee Harris from Angry Robot put it best when he said that any person who has managed to complete a novel deserves praise in terms of that, even if the novel itself doesn't succeed on particular levels. I do believe us book reviewers sometimes fail to remember that - and therefore the guilt in giving negative reviews should remain, since it tempers the harshest criticism).
Jo from Once Upon a Bookcase said: "Nope, never. I've never seen the point. I'm as positive or negative in my review as I actually feel about the book." And Mr Cheesecake agreed with this: "My posts are just my opinion. No point in lying. I want people to read what I think not what I think they want to hear."
I think the overwhelming response was similar to that provided by Adam from the Wertzone (pre-eminent fantasy blog): "No. However, hindsight, reading experience or just plain age sometimes changes things. 12-year-old Wert loved Eddings, 32-year-old Wert less keen."