I was asked a while back by some colleagues how I review a book. I feel I am still on a learning curve about this and so would love to interact with others who both write and read reviews.
1. First of all, I really do read the whole book. I don’t write a review until I finish the book. Maybe I’m compulsive, but it somehow feels like cheating to review something I don’t read.
2. I often “lead” in the review with something that particularly intrigued or interested me in the book that I think might connect with others.
3. I usually summarize the contents. This comes in part from my original purpose of writing reviews–providing myself with a reminder of what the book was about. I find this also seems helpful to others in deciding if they want to read the book.
4. Often, I will briefly engage the book–what I like (or more rarely dislike or disagree with) about the book. This could be a matter of plot development in fiction or particular ideas in the book with non-fiction. I do sometimes highlight good or bad writing. I must admit to detesting writing that is convoluted and obscures what I think the writer is trying to say.
5. Sometimes I will include a recommendation for which audiences a book might be useful.
6. Most of the time, I keep reviews to 3-4 relatively short paragraphs. I’m writing for online rather than print audiences.
7. I write my reviews on my GoodReads page, which I now have linked to this blog.
I’d love to know what other reviewers and readers of reviews think about this. And as you read reviews I post here, I would be glad to get feedback about how to make these more useful