Read52 ponderings – what makes a good book review?

A reading challenge from http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup

I intend to do one or two book reviews a week here. But I don’t seem to be keeping up with myself at all at the moment. I’ve read lots – list on my Read52 page (you can also get the badge for the challenge if you feel like joining in ;) ) So obviously, instead of writing up a review, I thought I’d talk about what makes a good one.

First of all, I don’t like spoilers. It can be really difficult to discuss some books without them though. I tend to assume that anything that’s in the blurb on the back or online bookshops is fair game, though sometimes even those go too far for me. And let’s not even talk about the ones that get things wrong. (Unless you’ve got any really funny examples.)

But how do you do a good detailed review without spoilers? Is it possible? It’s particularly difficult when what you’re reviewing hinges on a plot twist – I guess there aren’t actually that many books without any plot twists at all, but some of them are so big and central to your enjoyment of the ending that blowing them is downright irresponsible and unpleasant.

I’m now striving to think of an example that is from far enough ago that most people will either know about it or just not care. Um. And failing.

Moving on. I’d love to hear what people look for in a review. Personally, I want to know about the voice, the characters, the development. A little about the setting or the genre of the book. I’m not so worried about the story – that’s why I’m going to read it. I want to hear opinions, but I don’t want to be told what to think. And I’ve now discovered that I’d like lovely pictures, like the ones on My type of thing. I shall be improving my book photography ;)

So what do you reckon? What do you look for in a book/film review? Got any to share? How are you getting on with your reading challenge reading? (I’ve read 20 books, I’m quite pleased with that so far.)

Feel free to stick your reading challenge/ book review posts in the linky.



About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for ten years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

Comments

  1. I’ve started reviewing books and will be on a regular basis so this has been helpful.Is there a format or layout you stick to?

    • Jax Blunt says:

      There hasn’t been so far Aly, but I’m exploring a variety of different plugins that might help, not unlike the recipe plugins that people use. I do build affiliate links into my reviews, but I’ve been building them by hand, it would be nice to at least have the layout sorted out for me. What sort of thing are you reviewing? Will pop over and take a look :)

  2. I think you are right in the ‘no spoilers’ rule. Enough of the jist of the story to hook people in, a bit about what grabbed you about the book and if anything of substance isn’t forthcoming then take a pretty picture to compensate ;0)
    I find I tend to have friends/fellow readers who I trust. I know we usually rate the same books highly and if they say they enjoyed it and it’s worth a read, then I make a note of it.
    Thanks for the mention.

  3. I’ve been thinking of doing more book reviews but its difficult to give a good review without giving too much away!

    • Jax Blunt says:

      It is, isn’t it? I’ve got a couple of books I’ve read that are going to be particularly challenging.

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