There are two reasons why it is totally impossible for X to tell the truth about the books he gets. To begin with, the chances are that eleven out of the twelve books will fail to rouse in him the faintest spark of interest. They are not more than ordinarily bad, they are merely neutral, lifeless and pointless. If he were not paid to do so he would never read a line of any of them, and in nearly every case the only truthful review he could write would be: ‘this book inspires in me no thoughts whatever.’ But will anyone pay you to write that kind of thing? Obviously not. As a start, therefore, X is in the false position of having to manufacture, say, three hundred words about a book which means nothing to him whatever. Usually he does it by giving a brief résumé of the plot (incidentally betraying to the author the fact that he hasn’t read the book) and handing out a few compliments which for all their fulsomeness are about as valuable as the smile of a prostitute.
— George Orwell, “In Defence of the Novel“
It’s fortunate that I’m not a book reviewer, because I find this to be true. Most books that I read don’t inspire me to say anything about them, and I would always rather pass them over in silence than manufacture dishonest or pointless sentences for the sake of a word count or deadline. A glance down at the Goodreads widget will confirm to the reader that I go through books like a bandsaw, but few of them provide material that I consider worthwhile enough to excerpt here. Yet they’re not bad books; it’s not that I regret wasting my time on them or anything. It’s just that they’re “Nice. Nice. Not thrilling, but nice.” The topic was interesting, the writing was well done, but nothing stood out as a good conversation starter. It could very well be that the fault is with me, though. You’d think reading a hundred books a year would provide a lot more inspiration. Maybe I have some kind of cerebral tapeworm that absorbs all the intellectual nutrients and leaves me just as ravenous and empty as before.