Let's Talk is a new weekly feature here at i swim for oceans. I think it's important that we all have our say, and there's something to be said for raising our voices. Simply put, here on the little old blog, I like to host some of my very own discussion posts because, well, I like to converse with you all.
And so, Let's Talk will feature questions or prompts, which I will answer, too. Love it or hate it, weigh in or don't, it's my hope that Let's Talk will at least get you thinking...and maybe even get you discussing with the rest of us!
Question: What do you look for in a book review, and what makes it good?
You know me, guys. I like to stir the pot on issues that we, as a community, should discuss. Bloggers often find themselves under a microscope in the publishing industry in terms of reviews. Some are criticized for writing negative reviews. Some are criticized for writing reviews that are too fluffy and positive across the board. Still others are criticized for simply writing opinions.
Are any of these actually wrong? In my humble opinion...no. We, as bloggers, have established our sites as a public forum of personal opinions. However, when we take the next step and try to forge relationships with publishers and authors, there are some things that we have to bear in mind. If we want to truly call ourselves book reviewers, that means that we must actually review the book. This means a few things:
- Reviews are personal opinions backed by elements of the story
- Reviews are NOT solely posts with endless series of GIFs
- Reviews delve deeper into the novel, rather than simply scratching the surface and saying "it was good"
- Reviews tell you WHY it was good, or WHY it was bad
I am by no means a professional reviewer. As I've stated many a time, my reviews are my own opinions, but I always try to take a decidedly professional approach to them by articulating the strengths and weaknesses, the writing style, the characters and anything else that stands out. I'll be the first to admit that when I see a post that simply bashes a book with endless pictures and misinformed facts, I get utterly annoyed because, to me, that is not a review.
It is up to us as individual bloggers to develop our own individual reviewing styles. What works for me might not work for you. However, when I read reviews, I can tell you that the "good" reviews stand out because they have deep thought and evidence-backed opinions. Some bloggers that consistently provide reviews that make me want to investigate books further include (but certainly are not limited to): Jenny at Supernatural Snark, Asheley at Into the Hall of Books, Bailey at IB Book Blogging, Ginger at GReads! and Mary at The Book Swarm.
The common theme between these bloggers is that delicate balance of opinion and fact, as well as presenting a book in a manner that is intriguing or cautionary, while still allowing me to form my own opinion. Again, book reviews are a matter of deep scrutiny, but for me...this is what I believe constitutes a good review.