Since I do Book Reviews in this blog, I found this article, or blog entry very interesting, and I wanted to briefly comment on the 5 points the author discusses:
- I always try to do this -- this is one of the most important goals of any review. But, during this process, you must also personalize your review, meaning, you should tailor it to fit your perceptions of what you read. So, I do disagree slightly with the point, but overall, both the blog author and John Updike are correct.
- I probably don't do enough of this, i.e., give enough quotation of the author. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well, many times, my reviews come days after I have finished the book. I actually have four books sitting on my desk right now that have been finished that I have not published the reviews for... this is a problem, I need to rectify. The sooner I publish the review, the fresher the book will be in my mind, and thus I might be able to quote passages from it. Although, I did quote passages from "Shantaram"!
- See # 2. Again, I totally agree with this thesis, to an extend: I personally prefer to write things in my own words. To describe things that happen in the book, rather than "quote" from the book.
- I don't believe, I have ever spoiled a book in my summary. When I thought I was coming close to spoiling it, I warned the reader to skip ahead and used other tricks, or minimized the damage. But, this is a really important point.
- This is the greatest point here. I remember one of my best reviews on Amazon. It was for "The Bear and the Dragon" by Tom Clancy, a book I did not like, and something I pointed out during my review. Do not be mistaken by the fact that I adore Tom Clancy as a writer, and I already miss Jack Ryan. I wish we were lucky enough to have a president like Jack Ryan sometimes. But this book got the politics and the action all wrong, compared to a book like Ralph Peter's "The War in 2020".
So, very good Blog Post, and very good rules to leave by. Rules, a reviewer must live by in order to be successful.
At any rate, I have linked to this post here, and I will continue to look for posts of this nature elsewhere, as I believe successful book reviews, help people make good buying decisions and support the publishing industry in promoting the kind of books that need to be written and we all would like to read.