I’m very critical of other authors.
My high expectations of grammar and spelling (even though I evade that spotlight myself doesn’t mean I don’t shine it on others) mean that I can sour on a book for just one wrong homonym, and my keen psychological insight (if I do say so myself) makes me interpret, say, the over-mentioning of a prior career, or a description of an altercation with the spouse, as: he/she still feels illegitimate as a writer, or he/she’s just trying (still!) to get the last word, in print.
Homonyms are my personal bugaboo, as a matter of fact. One while for a wile or bore that should be a boor and my scalp crinkles. It’s very, very common, and it makes me seethe inwardly. I know there’s better things to seethe about, but for me, it’s homonyms. I just am who I am.
This makes me feel hypocritical and uncharitable, because I haven’t done the work of producing a book from my heart, and if I get catty and review a book “honestly”, then really, the strongest effect that’s ever going to have is upsetting the author in question when they’re googling themselves. That does not bring more love into the world. Some books do just piss me right off, but did I have to finish them? Do I have to publish exactly what I think?
On the other hand, I highly value the clear and unstinting expression of opinion. Some of my favourite people spray insults as freely as Febreeze, and I love that you can always be sure exactly where you stand with them. Not to mention, if all that you say is sugar, then it gets diluted. Even the positive loses its credibility. How to reconcile?
“And all this time I thought Googling yourself meant that other thing!” – Marge Simpson