Writing the review that knocks their socks off. What makes a blue ribbon book review? How would you do that? You can read all sorts from five stars to one. Some reviews are pretty sour and award a book only one star because the reviewer has to award ‘something’ to get to the state of review. Some are so gushing about the wonder of the book that you are pretty sure the author’s mother wrote. And you wonder just how many accounts the old gal has!
One author has noted that one or two star reviews happen for the reader who got ahold of the wrong book. There is something to that when reading the complaints — if the reader felt so strongly why read this type of book at all. The same writer said that the three star reviews were neutral ground because the middle of the road, fence-riding reader wouldn’t commit to loving or hating the book. Probably someone trying to run their review numbers up to get a better reviewer rating. Authors bask in the attention of the four and five star reviews which confirm this author has a reason to exist.
What about passion in the book review?
- Passion for negativity. What stinking things can the reader disagree about?
- Passion for detail. Reader comes disguised as editor (sometimes a much needed editor)
- Passion for analysis and layers of the message. Warped by a high school literature class determined to learn ‘what the author was trying to say.’
When the Warrior Reader so so roused by the book as to find all of the nasty little nit-picking offensive things and laboriously list them in an outraged, flaming review, you know you have a reader! Sometimes the negative passion Very likely a 2 star review or worse, but think about it — this person is a READER and we don’t see very many of them. The sad thing that can happen here lies in a difference of opinion or conviction where the reader castigates an author and insists that NO ONE would like this book. Nonsense. I am seldom without a book in hand, yet there are styles and genres I either refuse to read or which I stop reading when I figure out what I’ve been tricked into.
The Editor Readers who passionately EDIT and note every typo, mis-named character, plot thread dropped and inaccurate historical note have clearly been drawn in to every page or they couldn’t find all of that stuff. Sometimes the reader will see the value of the story and give more than a couple stars for that, but they do scorch an author’s hide.
The Analyst Reader who delved deep into the story can be a problem because they might spill the beans to other readers — action commonly called a ‘spoiler’. For many years (and sometimes to this day) I’ve read a few pages of a book, then skipped to the end to find out ‘who done it.’. I will go back and read a well-written book, so if the author can spin a good tale, spoilers won’t scare valuable readers away. The ones who read and walk weren’t good readers who would be standing in line to get the next book from this author. The analyst usually is pretty generous with the stars. There will be some piece of the story that moved the reader — a political position, a social issue, memories good and bad. Analyst reviews are often long and detailed without being the ubiquitous play by play book report.
I don’t read and absorb a ‘book review’ whose writer sees that term as ‘French’ for a dastardly BOOK REPORT! I don’t want every scene reported before I have a chance to get into the book myself. I want the passionate reviews, even the passionate haters. And I want to write reviews that will intrigue you, perhaps interest you in the book for your own reading pleasure. I often miss the mark.
When you write a review for a book, it is fine to be honest. I think that authors and publishers who send out books for pre-launch reviews crave a bevy of stars, but they know that the reviews with passion will speak for their own passion in writing a story to inform, entertain and engage MANY readers. When as a reader you get into a book that doesn’t light your fires, think for a moment why this is happening. This website is dedicated to ‘flinch free’ reading. There are a few books reviewed here which are not totally ‘flinch free’, but have shown me some redeeming value. Personally, I like an elegantly told story where the formula is disguised. But, I know others have different tastes, different reading time and energy…sometimes a low-voltage and heavy formula book helps the person who has to read a book in 2-3 page increments and would lost their place without the repetition. It is wonderful to be honest, candid and passionate, but think about being a little generous as well.
I now others who refuse to read anything but learning type non-fiction books that offer business tactics. Their ‘eye time’ is reserved and no light stories are allowed. I like to read business books, but the book review for business is much more difficult to write.
I like Victorian novelists from time to time. I have a few golden oldies on my Kindle Fire and a stack of volumes which probably deserve to be part of an antique book review.
The greatest and ugliest statement you can make about a book is NO BOOK REVIEW.