How do you review?

reviewAs a part of my reading goals for 2016 I wanted to start thinking critically about books, attempt to keep up with this book blog and to write at least a few sentences about every book that I read this year and post them on Goodreads.  I write longer reviews on this blog when I feel like I have something important to say.  For instances, in the review of Epic by Conor Kostick, I wanted to discuss the lack of female characters in a story where there is no reason for there to be a lack of female characters.  Two of my recent reviews mentioned how the authors had instances of forced/non-consensual kissing to make a point that this is assault, not romantic. Another review mentioned the issue I have when a dystopian futurist book puts woman in a subservient role which is unrealistic and frankly boring.   

As I work on these goals I have found myself taking down notes on my thoughts about the book I am currently reading in order to help me write a better review.  I have seen others write inside their books and others still that do sticky notes to mark pages so I know I’m not alone in wanting to keep track of my thoughts.  Yet, I have been thinking about this practice recently.

On the plus side this helps me to keep my thoughts ordered or at least remembered for when I go to write a review.  This is a big plus as my thoughts are semi-organized and just need to be fleshed out and ordered before I post them.  Sometimes I don’t even do that and just write up my bullet notes and hit enter.  The time I save by not staring at the computer screen trying to think of that one very important thing I thought I was going to remember because it was very important but have since forgotten is eliminated.

On the minus side it means I need to stop reading to write done these thoughts – and find the little note book I have been writing them in, which if I don’t have it with me is a bit of a pain and I need to remember to grab it if I leave home.  On one hand most of the time I have something to write down it has already brought me out of the storyline so taking a few minutes to write it down doesn’t hurt much.  On another hand, most of my ‘thoughts’ are negative.

Good reviews should have a mixture of positive and negative critics/thoughts/opinions.  I know my reviews often lack in the positive side of things because when a book/writing style/etc works, it works and you don’t think too much on it.  But when something does not work you are often brought rudely out of the train of focus you have on the story and this is when I put pen to paper to comment on why it happened and my thoughts about it.  This is something I am trying to work on and hopefully I will get better at over time. 

 

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