Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How I review books (and why)

I just updated my LibraryThing library entries for the Flashman series with review links that all linked back to my single review of the Flashman books. Since some people might think this is rather odd, I'll explain a bit how (and why).

The "why" is fairly straightforward. I enjoy books in the way that Jefferson did; "I cannot live without books". And since I have been helped by many in my quest to find and enjoy books, I feel that one way I can help others is to post reviews.

The "how" I review books is different than the way I would have a decade ago. Nowadays, in the advent of online resources like, it's easy to find the publisher's description of the book. So what I like to do is add some opinion about the book to give the readers a feel as to whether the book is one which they might enjoy. I might summarize or give a brief outline of the book's contents, but mostly I am focusing on the experience of reading the book. For instance, is it a fun read? Does it feel like a bit of a grind, like leveling up in World of Warcraft? Or is it a scholarly challenge, intended for reference and listing in someone else's bibliography?

Additionally, are there unique aspects of the book's style that make it more enjoyable? Recently I finished reading Victorian America (link to my review). I didn't really enjoy the book that much since the writing style made reading it more like research. However, currently I am reading Victorian London (link to LibraryThing entry) and the style of Liza Picard is much more enjoyable (I'll have a review soon).

I'm just in my first week of this blog, so I am still defining and developing my review style, but I hope that at least I have made my intent clear.

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