Isabelle Joshua

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Crazy Reviews

I write reviews for books, but I can never come up with more than just a few sentence even if I absolutely loved the book.  I probably can come up with a more thorough review when I actually do not like the book.

Then I joined a book club (excited to talk to fellow book lovers), and I expressed my amazement at other reviewers dissertations on books. I hate when reviewers rewrite the blurb that the publisher or author wrote because that is easily found usually further up the page on Amazon.  But then the reviewer spends the next eight lengthy paragraphs intimately dissecting the book. How??

I mean where does all that come from.  I thought maybe I lack this skill because I speed read.  I can usually read a 300-400 page in a day, so the elaborate descriptions that the author painstakingly created are breezed by to get to the meat. Anyway, I've gotten off topic.

What I am amazed at is the level of detail in the reviews.

I googled "how to write great book reviews" and here is a smattering of the advice and links.

Of course, WikiHow weighs in, and it feels more like an academic exercise.
Step 1: "Read the book and take notes. If possible, read the book multiple times, as repeat reads tend to lead a reader (or reviewer) to view aspects of the story, the setting and the character(s) in a new or different way."  OMG, hello, I am not taking notes while I am reading this book, talk about getting out of the story.
Step 2: Think about the book's genre and/or field of study.  
Really, it's YA Fiction, or Romance, or Historical Romance, or Suspense, etc. Again, this doesn't really help me.
Step 3: Determine the major themes of the book. 
This step might have some merit, but I don't read a book for the theme. The characters, yes, but usually not the themes.
Step 4: Consider the author's writing style. Yes, I probably do this some and more depending on the book.  Like Shatter Me, I loved the author's writing style or the protagonist's voice which was lyrical, what many describe as purple prose, but I think it worked.
Step 5: Think about how well the author develops the major areas or points in the book.
Eh, maybe.  I probably talk more about how the character develops within the book or progresses, but I don't think I cover this.

Anyway, I didn't read this whole WikiHow because I realize it has three parts with a total of about 15-20 steps.  Shit.  Sorry, I'm not spending any more time on that site, but I have the link if any of you are interested.

The next one is probably closer to what currently do but mine are freeform, and I hate as I mentioned earlier the Step 1 on the list below.  Usually, because a better description of the book is on Amazon or other book sites and I don't want to waste my time with a book summary.

BookTrust - Writer:  Luisa Plaja
1) Start with a couple of sentences describing what the book is about
2) Discuss what you particularly liked about the book
3) Mention anything you disliked about the book
4) Round up your review

So if these other bloggers or reviewers follow a mix of this or some other guide for the book (some provided for book clubs), I wonder why.

Do you as a reader find long reviews helpful?  What steps do you think are vital?  I write the review within a day or so of finishing the book and most of the time within the hour when it is fresh in my mind.  What am I missing? Or are you happy with the reviews?  I can't say that I will change much but I might.  I'm not too old to learn new tricks!  Thanks!


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