Sunday, March 4, 2012

Writing Reviews

So, I haven't been posting much the last week or two, mainly because I've been playing catch-up after my two unplanned trips so far this year. One thing that's kept me busy the last week and a half of February was a book review. Normally this wdn't be a problem, except that after having arranged to do the review last May, I completely forgot about it until asked how it was coming, just before its deadline. I've now read the book, completed the review, sent it off, and gotten a provisional 'looks okay' -- so that's done, barring any changes that might need to be done at the proofing stage. But it's got me thinking about reviews in general.

For me, it's always easier to review a good book (this is great! you shd rush out and buy it!) or a bad book (stay away from this one, folks) than a so-so book (not terrible, not great; pick it up if you're particularly interested in its subject, otherwise check out a library copy). This particular book fell mostly in this third category. I'm also more self-conscious of what I write just now, since I recently discovered there's an 'Open Letter' posted on the website of one author whose work I reviewed last year, protesting against my incompetence and malice. I don't think I'm either, actually; I just happened not to think much of his book, and said so, and explained why, as clearly as I cd. I'm not surprised he's annoyed, though; no one likes a negative review.

Having just been asked to write yet another review, this time a much shorter one of a book I'm predisposed to like, I've been mulling over the problem and realized I cd avoid such trouble in the future by only reviewing books I like, and boiling my review of said books down into seven words:

Scholar like books.
This book.
Scholar like!

--John R.


N.E. Brigand said...

Wow -- that "Open Letter" is a hoot! (I'd only seen the shorter version in Beyond Bree before now.)

Pax said...

Why not just a rebuttal without the personal stuff? To loosely paraphrase a certain radio personality, "It detracts from the message".

John D. Rateliff said...

NEB: what issue of BEYOND BREE? Must have missed that one.
--John R.

N.E. Brigand said...

October 2010, p. 9.