MUSINGS: What Is A Book Review?

Are mainstream book reviews written by self-conscious and steroid-driven individuals trying to flatter a friend or build their own reputation?  

book review

When you read a book, it isn’t just a nice thing to give it your personal review…it helps the author (or, it can help the author see the problems so they can provide another edition with the needed changes)

BE FAIR TO THE AUTHOR AND TO PROSPECTIVE READERS

Don’t Give Readers sound bites, cocktail-party one-liners, banal anecdotes that only serve as caricature of the book you’re reviewing… rather help the prospective reader understand why s/he wants to / needs to read it.

What Is A Book Review?

> IT IS A literary criticism that analyzes a book based on content, style, and merit with a BRIEF review of the story line for readers, being careful not to give away anything that would lessen the suspense for readers

> IT IS your statement of how successfully the author achieved those items.

When a prospective reader reads reviews, we want to know all of the above plus

> PROVIDE THE TYPE of book it is — fiction, non-fiction, biography, etc.

> STATE IF the book provided solutions to the general problem it addressed

>STATE WHAT you found interesting, memorable, entertaining, or instructive and Why…and then add anything significant you learned…what you believe was omitted or missing…etc.

When you write a review, say something interesting about the method, the influences, or style

>A BOOK REVIEW IS NOT the book hook from the back cover or inside cover flap

> A BOOK REVIEW IS NOT a few paragraphs about the story and nothing more

> A BOOK REVIEW IS NOT saying “I loved / hated this book” without an explanation why…

NEVER LEAD READERS ASTRAY SAYING A BOOK IS THE BEST THING YOU HAVE EVER READ IF IT IS NOT

> DON’T READ 4 or 5 pages and write what a horrible book it was.

>DON’T GIVE THE PROSPECTIVE READER a book report…something we all learned to write in elementary school…you remember: an introduction, a summary, details about characters and plot, and conclusion…

> PLEASE DO NOT PROVIDE your baseless comments

When readers see these types of comments, I hope they ignore them…not because the reviewer didn’t like the book, but because the s/he failed to critique it, instead they made personal and unrelated jabs.

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