Friday, May 8, 2009

The Evolution of the Book Review

Not so very long ago Kelly over at the YAnnabe blog posted an article titled, “3 Ways to Get Me to Read Your Book Review.” She recommends: 1) Have a rating system; 2) Give a succinct summary at the beginning; and 3) Keep your review relatively short.

I’ve got #1 handled—note the literary grading scale. To date, the highest ever given was an A+ (some of which deserved an A++) and the lowest was a D+.

I’ve got #3 handled (most of the time). Sometimes I get a little wordy, especially when I’m trying to justify a low grade (because I feel bad doing that to a fellow writer and don’t want to just come off as a blow-hard loser, but as an intelligent reader with thoughts and meaningful opinions).

Where I’ve been falling short is #2. My summaries are usually from the back jacket or, a couple of paragraphs, all of which is too long. I vow to change. Don’t believe me? Check out the review below for Inexcusable by Chris Lynch. I’ll prove that I can evolve.

Addition: I'm also going to start including the first line of the book... I think that can tell you a lot. (Check it out below and let me know what you think of how Lynch started out. Should I have been able to predict my eventual feelings?_


Marie said...

I don't do ratings, but maybe I should.
Re: Fun Home, my review is here: I loved it. In fact I'd say it's essential reading! :-)

Kelly said...

Aw, I'm so honored! ;-) Your reviews look great to me...totally, 100% readable! I really like the grading system because it's more universally understood than the number system, y'know? Maybe I'll switch one of these days...

Heather said...


Thanks for the recommendation... you've put me over the top.

Kim said...

I love putting in the first sentence of a book in my reviews and like reading it in others' reviews--good choice! Number 2 is also hard for me--I almost always use a summary from amazon---I just plain have a hard time summarizing a plot succinctly!
I enjoy seeing ratings on blogs and that is something that I keep thinking I should incorporate in my reviews.