Top positive review
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If you review books, whether for gain or for pleasure, GET THIS BOOK!
on July 10, 2014
This is a wonderful resource if you're at all interested in writing book reviews. I read like a fiend. Back when I was in elementary school (eons ago), the librarian at the public library in the small town where we lived gave me a library card with the name "Librain." Wish I'd kept it to show my grandchildren. There are books in every room in my home. My Kindle account has over 3,000 books on it (most of them, fortunately, were free). I like to read.
Recently I decided it was time to start writing reviews of some of the books I read. I've started posting those reviews on my own blog as well as here on Amazon, on Goodreads.com and elsewhere. This book has given me a road map for how I should be writing those reviews. (We'll see whether I'm able to follow that road map...)
Calvani offers some of the obvious tips -- you need a good knowledge of grammar, syntax, spelling and punctuation, you must be able to express your thoughts clearly and you must be honest. Readers use book reviews to decide whether to read a book. "A reviewer’s honest judgment is his stock in trade." Together with that honesty comes objectivity. You don't have to agree with the author. That means "ideally, you shouldn’t let your values, beliefs, and way of life influence your review." Finally, if you don't agree with author, at least be tactful in your criticism.
She offers a structure for what to look for when you're reading, including the various aspects of plot, narrative and flow, pacing, characterization, dialogue, description, symbolism and allegories, point of view, theme, tone and atmosphere and spelling and grammar that you should be looking for. Likewise, she provides a similar structure for reviewing audio books, non-fiction, graphic novels, works in translation, etc.
The book also includes a number of sample reviews, annotated to show you what a review should accomplish.
Calvani offers suggestions on how to handle some typical problems you might encounter after reviewing a book. If you got a free copy to review, is it okay to sell or give away the free book? What if the author or publisher sends a nastygram expressing displeasure at your negative review? What do you do if an author or publisher says they are sending you a book to review and you never get it? How do you handle books you receive -- but didn't ask for? And how do you handle someone who calls you every few days to ask if you've read their book yet?