Sunday, 6 September 2009

Weekly Geeks - Reviews and Rating

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Geeks.

Shannon Hale (author of Austenland and The Actor and the Housewife, as well as many other books) recently posted on her blog about reviewing books. Take a moment to go read her post, in which she talks about going beyond saying simply whether or not you liked a book when writing a review.

P.S. The green highlights are my answers

 

For this week’s Weekly Geeks, we challenge you to respond to the questions Ms. Hale asks in one of three ways.

1. Find a negative review that you have written. In your post, link to or include the original review and then rewrite it to answer these questions:

  • Why did you react negatively to the book?
  • What was it about the story or characters or style that hit you so strongly?
  • Are you reacting to any fears or insecurities?

2. Write a new review about a book you loved, keeping in mind these questions:

  • What was it about the story that resonated?
  • Would you have loved this book as much ten years ago? Five years ago?
  • Will you keep loving it in the future?
  • Where are you in your life that this is the story you wanted and needed?

3. At the end of her post, Ms. Hale posed six questions for those who review books on their blogs or other sites. Write a letter to Ms. Hale explaining your position on each of these questions, then return to her post and leave a comment with a link to your post. And remember her request to speak freely, but kindly and respectfully!

  • Do you find that the anticipation of reviewing the book has changed your reading experience?
  • Are you rating the book even as you read? Or do you wait until the end to sum it all up?
  • Does knowing you'll be reviewing it (or rating it) publicly affect which books you pick up in the first place?
  • Does the process of writing the review itself change how you felt about the book?
  • What is your motivation to assign a rating to a book and declare it to the world?
  • If you review a book but don't rate, why not? What do you feel is your role as reviewer?

 

 

 

Q&A

I had a go of as much of the questions as possible

 

1. Find a negative review that you have written. In your post, link to or include the original review and then rewrite it to answer these questions:

I don't do negative review – So I jumped this question..

  • Why did you react negatively to the book?
  • What was it about the story or characters or style that hit you so strongly?
  • Are you reacting to any fears or insecurities?

2. Write a new review about a book you loved, keeping in mind these questions

 

Positive

Where do I begin – straight off I love this book – never thought I would, but after all is said and done, a fantastic read.

Firstly Ms. Vickery either has first hand knowledge of either wilderness techniques or she did a lot of first hand research – I was not only impressed but amazed at the wealth of info that went into this book.

The characters were from the outset, protags that stuck with you and never let you forget them. Cord –ex-military, stubborn, with an attitude, but also has enough experience and common sense to know when to work towards a common goal rather that puff up and be the Mr Big Man in the wilderness.

Stacey – you would almost say she was little Ms. Perfect until you realise that her madness was not only ingrained but she genuinely believed in everything she does and stands for – a woman I have the highest respect for.

The protags were developed – I knew then, when they cried, when they got angry, when they were happy and more over when it came to major decisions – I was rooting for them.

Surviving With Love © Rebecca J. Vickery

 

  • What was it about the story that resonated?

The outdoor aspect of the book attracted me – and it also resonate with me as well because this  was a very realistic portrayal of what wilderness technique is all about. The cast themselves was a class to follow, I was easily, easily caught up in the life’s, the loves, and the adventure of these people. 

  • Would you have loved this book as much ten years ago? Five years ago?

Yes – I firmly believe if I had read this 10 years ago I would have loved it – because at that time I was reading chunky thriller, romantic suspense and a whole ton of fantasy – and this book I think could have and will stand the test of time.

  • Will you keep loving it in the future?

Yup

  • Where are you in your life that this is the story you wanted and needed?

When I read this book a few month ago – I was at a phase where I wanted something heavier and eerier to read. This book did the job for me with a touch of romance and a solid, solid plot to have me actually thinking and jumping a time or two when the scenes got too real. Now I am reading a whole lot of romantic suspense and crime fiction. 

 

3. At the end of her post, Ms. Hale posed six questions for those who review books on their blogs or other sites. Write a letter to Ms. Hale explaining your position on each of these questions, then return to her post and leave a comment with a link to your post. And remember her request to speak freely, but kindly and respectfully!

  • Do you find that the anticipation of reviewing the book has changed your reading experience?

No – I do anticipate the fact that another in the series I am watching is out or an author I am following has released a new body of work – but it doesn’t really change my reading experience. Expectation is another thing however and this I try to keep a firm handle on, as sometimes a good author tosses a spanner in the works and produces a not so wonderful book and that’s when I have to look beyond the obvious to find out what made that author a good one for me in the first place.

  • Are you rating the book even as you read? Or do you wait until the end to sum it all up?

I don’t rate – and I do try to review each book on it’s own merit, not compare it to anything else.

  • Does knowing you'll be reviewing it (or rating it) publicly affect which books you pick up in the first place?

Nope – I read what I want when I want and I can probably say I am an impulse reader. So it’s not unheard of for me to drop everything if I am attracted to a book cover or just the blurb.

  • Does the process of writing the review itself change how you felt about the book?

I don’t thing so – as I just write what I feel about the book and of course look at some of the basic stuff that make any book a book, eg, Plot, Character development, flow, dynamic of the characters etc.

  • What is your motivation to assign a rating to a book and declare it to the world?

I don't rate

  • If you review a book but don't rate, why not? What do you feel is your role as reviewer?

Firstly I find when you are caught up in the trap because that is how I look at rating system – you have more or less boxed yourself in and not allow yourself as a reader to think outside of those parameter. As a reader I am allowed to not even like the premise, the plot or character but still give the book highest acclaim because the author has heavily invested in other areas to make the book absolutely stand out.

I rarely read reviews with any master plan to buy the book, if the review is stellar, the opposite is probably true of me – trash a book and I am bound to buy buy, as I firmly believe there is always something positive about a book – it can’t be all bad.

I read a whole lot of book in a month and for me  I could not imagine doing any sort of constant rating as I am too object a reader and I will find that one spark of sunshine in a book even a book that has been absolutely trashed. Over time as well I have learn from other peoples experiences good and bad and I write what I feel about a book and what makes the book that little bit of magic that I took the time to read.

 

4 Speak To Me:

Kerrie on 6 September 2009 at 12:41 said...

I find that the rating system I use gives my reviewing a bit of discipline and does force me into clarifying my reasons for giving it that. I guess my teaching background (marking all those history and english essays) makes me a bit more comfortable with rating, although I am not actually "marking" the book. I feel that I want,in the long run, to rank one book against another, and it solves a few problems like finding my top 10 reads for the year etc. So it is a bit of a prop too.

Brandy W on 6 September 2009 at 13:25 said...

Interesting questions to ask. I kinda like it. I don't rate either but then I gave up calling what I do reviews. Its what I thought about the book and I don't do it for every books I read either. I should but I've been bad lately.

Donna [Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings] on 6 September 2009 at 19:09 said...

Enjoyed your answers and I agree with them all! Although, sometimes I do catch myself thinking of what I'm going to say in a review when reading. Something I'm trying not to do, because it does take away from the reading experience for me.

gautami tripathy on 8 September 2009 at 18:15 said...

Like how you answered. I don't rate any book.

Weekly Geeks: Reviewing and rating