This week’s weekly geeks is about the format of our book reviews.
“…do one, some, all or none of the following:
1. Explain your review format – if you have one. Or maybe your rating system?
2. Highlight another book-blogger’s review format by linking to a favorite example – don’t forget to tell us why they are a fave!
3. Do a review in another book-blogger’s format of your latest read.
4. Highlight a past review that you are particularly proud of and why the format or structure may have had something to do with it.”
My review format is rather non-restrictive. The only rule I follow is that I post a short synopsis (or the blurb) of the book. After that I just start to talk about the book as if I was telling a friend about it.
I don’t mind talking about plot details and including spoilers – I give a warning beforehand though. There was a discussion about this on the Obsidian Bookshelf blog the other day about whether people mind spoilers or not. I personally find it very difficult to discuss a book without going into certain details and this almost always includes spoilers. Knowing about a plot beforehand never spoils a story for me, so I can’t really relate to people who mind spoilers. Knowing about let’s say a certain situation from reading about it in a review and reading the scene in the book are two totally unrelated things to me. Only yesterday, however, I talked about a story where I had to stop myself because posting the spoiler would have ruined the whole reading experience. So, you see, I do have a little bit of self-control.
I never post book covers for various reasons. First of all the genre I’m talking about comes up with some pretty hideous book covers. Admittedly there are some beautiful ones as well, but it’s not fair to post some and not others. And some are so terrible that I don’t want to ruin the looks of my blog with it, seriously. Second, covers are not important to me at all. I might have bought some books based on a nice cover, but a bad cover never stopped me from reading a book. So for me the book cover is neither here nor there. If people move on without reading a review because there is no image to look at, so be it.
Edit 05.31.2009: I decided to add book covers that I find appealing. It might not be fair, but this is my blog after all and I can be as fair or unfair as I want.
Things I didn’t like in a book are the most important thing, because that’s what I’m looking for in other reviews. What a reviewer doesn’t like gives me an idea about whether one of my pet peeves is in the story. I know, not everybody has the same ones, a lot of people like what I don’t, and vice versa, but I’ve often stayed away from a book based on negative points in other reviews, e.g. certain plot devices, certain circumstances etc., not a general “didn’t like it”.
Some time ago I introduced a rating system but gave it up again. It was too bothersome to think about whether anything is 4 stars or 4.5 or only 3.5. Those ratings don’t do it for me. Even if a book got 5 stars at another site I might totally dislike it for a specific reason that nobody else cares about. So the star rating is irrelevant for me.
Most of the books I review are ebooks and I link directly to the publisher’s site. If a certain review made me buy the book I link to that review so people can have a look at a second opinion. There is no problem, if someone would like to have their review linked either. More about that is in the Weekly Geeks post about linking reviews.
One of my favourite reviews I wrote is the one for “Take my picture” by Giselle Ellis. It hasn’t got much of a structure but it makes up for that with enthusiasm.
Keyboard image is from just4you at Stock Exchange.