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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Book Reviews: The Good, The Bad...And The Downright Embarassing

               Bella and I contemplating our next book review...
We're proud to say that we get asked to review lots of  pet-related books, and in some cases, we've contacted the publisher's directly to pitch our blog for a review and giveaway. If memory serves, we pitched the publishers for both Rin Tin Tin, The Life and the Legend, by Susan Orlean and  Wayne Pacelle's book, The Bond. We have been, and will continue to be, thrilled to bring you our opinions on as many books as we can keep up with, and offer you a chance to read and enjoy them too. We don't know whether you've noticed or not, but we have universally raved about the books that we "review". Although Parental Unit has published a few book reviews for our local paper, we've chosen to review only books that we're pretty sure we can rave about for Bocci's Beefs, because frankly, we don't want to criticize someone's hard work.

But that means that we turn down a number of books for review, simply based on what Parental Unit considers her high standards-or perhaps it's just common sense:-).  Before we actually discuss a book and offer it for a giveaway, we of course, read every word, and even double check some of the research (unless it's an author we know we can trust). Although Parental Unit "ain't no genius", she does feel that she knows solid research and writing when she reads it- she taught college research and writing for the last six or so years, and recently attended some highfalutin writing conferences as part of her teaching and freelance writing. Now this doesn't make her an authority, but maybe it lends her a bit of credibility.

We're mentioning this now, because Parental Unit is feeling bad about a book that she just received for review, and simply can't find much, if anything, good to say about it.  Although she doesn't believe that you  have to have a "bunch of letters after your name" to be a credible author (and many of the best and most successful writers don't), there has to be a decent amount of research to back up what your saying, accompanied by some hefty analysis of the facts and opinions found in that research.

For example, one of the books that we recently reviewed, Pukka's Promise, The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, is not written by a veterinarian, professor, certified nutritionist or any other officially credentialed person, but Ted Kerasote's  research was extremely deep, broad...and documented-with much of it taken from in-person or telephone interviews from recognized experts. And he took the time to analyze that research to back up his opinions. When we said that we loved his book and would tout it as recommended reading for any dog owner, we meant it! And by the way, we do the same research and soul-searching for the products and services we review and giveaway.

So now you know how we feel about, and approach, our book and product reviews-we just had to get that off our chests! We'd love to know how you deal with this issue-have you turned down books or products for review for similar (or wildly different) reasons? Please let us know!

P.S. On a lighter note, please stay tuned for a very special post tomorrow! We had the good fortune to chat with Bill Berloni, Broadway's own Tony Award winning animal trainer, about his work on the latest production of Annie-yes, the adorable Sandy is a shelter dog! We can't wait to share with you his behind the scenes' stories!


GizmoGeodog said...

Our blog has reached the point where I'm being offered a lot of products to review...I'm being very particular and will only test and review products that I would actually use...meaning I've turned down products and hope that there's no hard feelings...I had one kind of funny experience where a product I received did not meet my standards...The maker was very aggressive and rude when I chose not to review the product...I sent him a draft of what I would write if he insisted...it was not flattering, and he declined my offer to publish...he then demanded i return his product! so I requested he send me the cost of shipping, which he did, and I sent the product back...i've been offered books to review that were not "dog" books and i decline those as they don't fit the theme of my blog

Unknown said...

I have to say that being honest has worked pretty well for me, if you choose your words carefully and just let them know it just isn't really your "thing" or "style" that usually is sufficient. I love to read but have very limited time lately but I have a friend that realllly is bugging me to read a book I have no interest in at all. So, I finally just resorted to nicely telling her that I just can't read things that don't really grab me and interest me but told her of someone else I thought the might be more interested in that topic. That said, if the book is just crap, you just can't do it...maybe just "it really wasn't for me" is enough. Gizmo's experience made me laugh! People are just nuts sometimes :)

Unknown said...

There are a couple of times that we were approached by some companies for doggy products reviews; however, when they were told we live in Malaysia, those people disappeared. :)

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