Why I review books (and other things)

by on Nov.15, 2011, under Observations

A few people have questioned why I have started publishing reviews of books. They point out that this appears to be a very busy field, and there’s no money to gain.

There are the obvious simple answers: I enjoy doing it, and others have expressed appreciation for my review style. But there is a much more important reason that I’d like to share: I don’t see many reviews done the way I appreciate, so I’m putting my mouth where my interests are.

Far too many reviewers (for my taste) do one or more of the following in their reviews:

  1. Summarize the story – A summary of a story provides no value to the reader. You can’t tell the difference between a well-written and a poorly written story from the summary. And fairly often it ruins the exploration a reader might do when they read the story.
  2. Use the review to advocate – This point of a review is not about the reviewer, it is about the thing being reviewed. I grow weary of seeing a reviewer use a review as a stick to chastise the creator because of a difference in beliefs or approaches.
  3. Forget to answer the question: why would I invest in this? – This is the primary question of a review — who might appreciate this thing? Why might you want to invest time or money in the object being reviewed?

This is what drives me most to do reviews. I want to let people know why they might enjoy or find useful something. And honestly, I’d like to see many more reviewers do the same for me. There’s some great stuff out there, let’s talk about it.

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