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Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's snowing, the holiday parties I was supposed to attend are cancelled, so I've been drinking tea, reading, and pondering my book reviews.

I’m still feeling my way to nailing down a specific review style- I waiver between sounding like I’m defending a thesis statement and THIS BOOKS ROCKS BECAUSE REASONS. Truly, I always want to have specific reasons for my ratings – sometimes the book isn’t the deepest or most complex but I was really entertained and/or it featured a trope I enjoy, sometimes a book is technically good but it leaves me cold. I find the hardest reviews to write are the 3-star ones. To me that isn’t a bad rating, it’s just one that edges toward the neutral. Usually it’s either: this novel was flawed but entertaining (usually a 3.5) or this novel is technically sound but I wasn’t affected in any way. 4 star books for me are books I really enjoyed but have nitpicks or didn’t affect me quite deeply enough. 5- star books are books I love or would re-read, they made me think or cry or change.

On the more negative side: 2 stars are for the severely flawed, either in story or prose. Lately I DNF the books I feel are in this category or I would have more of this kind of review, they are very easy to write, and I usually include one positive aspect of the novel. The reason for 2 stars tends to be boredom or annoyance at the writing. I choose all my books expecting to enjoy them but sometimes I’m mistaken. 1 star books are those I find severely problematic. I’ll finish reading a book that makes me angry out of fairness but I’ll be blunt in the review.

I know mileage may vary when it comes to bloggers' ratings so I like to be clear. What does a 5- star rating system mean to you?

Some more questions: should I add to my About Me Page some details about things I tend to enjoy and things that will make me angry? I feel like full disclosure of any biases will help any readers of my reviews.

Also, what is more helpful: conversational reviews about feelings/impressions (ex. This character could use a good throat punching, somebody call the whaaaaaambulance) or reviews with statement & defense (this book explores these themes of the human conditon, it exemplifies thingamabob , demonstrates this such and such well, it has these flaws, if you like such and such you would like this)? * What style do you feel you lean toward? 

*These questions brought to you by my reading Divergent, a book where I was really feeling the romance (wink* wink*) but was plagued by thoughts like WHY would a society be organized this way? IT’S NOT PRACTICAL.

P.S. I apologize for not replying to comments, I've been trying tweak my layout because Blogger is being a pain about the "reply to comments" option. I see them and they are always appreciated. 

2 comments:

Pamela D said...

Before I talk about reviews, I need to say that I completely agree with you about Divergent. I recently read the first two books, because I kept hearing great things about them, but I was so frustrated the entire time I was reading them. I didn't understand why a society would be organized that way.

I read a lot of different blogs, and everyone seems to have their own way of doing reviews. They all have their pluses and minuses for both the reviewer and the reader. I find all sorts of reviews to be helpful, not for the actual words on the page, but the underlying tone of the review. Is this person excited about this book or is this person trying to say something nice about a book that he/she agreed to review.? I think it is important to explain your rating system (which is something that I desperately need to do), so readers can get an idea of how you rate.

Brittany S. said...

It's tricky to find a review style that works for you! I think it took me a while to get into the swing of things and I change my style quite a few times until I found something that I really loved and felt like it was true to my feelings about the book. Some of my review turn out more casual with flails or raging and other things I get super serious and end up talking about literary aspects and plot devices. I think you just express how you feel, no matter how it comes out! :)
As far as disclosures for your readers, I wouldn't think that's necessary! Maybe if you have a "niche" like snarky reviews or full of flails or something that's very "identifying" so to speak, that would be something to add in there but otherwise I think your readers will latch on to your specific review style, whatever it may be :)
Good luck!! Hope you find something that works well for you! :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Review Discussion Misc.


It's snowing, the holiday parties I was supposed to attend are cancelled, so I've been drinking tea, reading, and pondering my book reviews.

I’m still feeling my way to nailing down a specific review style- I waiver between sounding like I’m defending a thesis statement and THIS BOOKS ROCKS BECAUSE REASONS. Truly, I always want to have specific reasons for my ratings – sometimes the book isn’t the deepest or most complex but I was really entertained and/or it featured a trope I enjoy, sometimes a book is technically good but it leaves me cold. I find the hardest reviews to write are the 3-star ones. To me that isn’t a bad rating, it’s just one that edges toward the neutral. Usually it’s either: this novel was flawed but entertaining (usually a 3.5) or this novel is technically sound but I wasn’t affected in any way. 4 star books for me are books I really enjoyed but have nitpicks or didn’t affect me quite deeply enough. 5- star books are books I love or would re-read, they made me think or cry or change.

On the more negative side: 2 stars are for the severely flawed, either in story or prose. Lately I DNF the books I feel are in this category or I would have more of this kind of review, they are very easy to write, and I usually include one positive aspect of the novel. The reason for 2 stars tends to be boredom or annoyance at the writing. I choose all my books expecting to enjoy them but sometimes I’m mistaken. 1 star books are those I find severely problematic. I’ll finish reading a book that makes me angry out of fairness but I’ll be blunt in the review.

I know mileage may vary when it comes to bloggers' ratings so I like to be clear. What does a 5- star rating system mean to you?

Some more questions: should I add to my About Me Page some details about things I tend to enjoy and things that will make me angry? I feel like full disclosure of any biases will help any readers of my reviews.

Also, what is more helpful: conversational reviews about feelings/impressions (ex. This character could use a good throat punching, somebody call the whaaaaaambulance) or reviews with statement & defense (this book explores these themes of the human conditon, it exemplifies thingamabob , demonstrates this such and such well, it has these flaws, if you like such and such you would like this)? * What style do you feel you lean toward? 

*These questions brought to you by my reading Divergent, a book where I was really feeling the romance (wink* wink*) but was plagued by thoughts like WHY would a society be organized this way? IT’S NOT PRACTICAL.

P.S. I apologize for not replying to comments, I've been trying tweak my layout because Blogger is being a pain about the "reply to comments" option. I see them and they are always appreciated. 

2 comments:

  1. Before I talk about reviews, I need to say that I completely agree with you about Divergent. I recently read the first two books, because I kept hearing great things about them, but I was so frustrated the entire time I was reading them. I didn't understand why a society would be organized that way.

    I read a lot of different blogs, and everyone seems to have their own way of doing reviews. They all have their pluses and minuses for both the reviewer and the reader. I find all sorts of reviews to be helpful, not for the actual words on the page, but the underlying tone of the review. Is this person excited about this book or is this person trying to say something nice about a book that he/she agreed to review.? I think it is important to explain your rating system (which is something that I desperately need to do), so readers can get an idea of how you rate.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's tricky to find a review style that works for you! I think it took me a while to get into the swing of things and I change my style quite a few times until I found something that I really loved and felt like it was true to my feelings about the book. Some of my review turn out more casual with flails or raging and other things I get super serious and end up talking about literary aspects and plot devices. I think you just express how you feel, no matter how it comes out! :)
    As far as disclosures for your readers, I wouldn't think that's necessary! Maybe if you have a "niche" like snarky reviews or full of flails or something that's very "identifying" so to speak, that would be something to add in there but otherwise I think your readers will latch on to your specific review style, whatever it may be :)
    Good luck!! Hope you find something that works well for you! :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you, comments are appreciated :)