Book Reviewing – Share the Fun

Are people reading less?In January of this year Steve Jobs told the New York Times:”… the fact is that people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.”Don’t believe it.If people are reading less why are there more book reviews than ever online? Today you can find hundreds of websites that feature reviews, as well as traditional newspapers and magazines. Just Google book reviews. Somebody out there is reading the reviews and buying the books.Reviews are proliferating because readers still find books to be an enjoyable entertaining escape and they want to share the experience with other readers. The internet has made it easier than ever to pass on the excitement after closing the book on an especially good story.Many sites will let you submit your own review; some will even send you the books. You might even set up your own website or blog. If you do decide to publicize your opinions here are a few things to remember.First let me clarify — a book review is not a book report. A report summarizes the subject matter and presents it in an objective manner.The book review on the other hand provides a brief synopsis and the reviewer’s opinion of content and technique. It’s subjective and it’s meant to help a reader decide if they want to spend their time and hard-earned cash on it.Each publication or website has their own requirements. Some may want only a simple plot summary while others require a more complete synopsis. One may ask for an opinion while others call for a numbered rating as well. Make sure you read the submission guidelines and follow them.These tips will apply to all reviews.1. Read the book, the entire book. You may be tempted to put aside a novel you find boring. Don’t. Give the author a chance to captivate you. They’re not all bestsellers. Other readers want to know why. If you don’t finish the story you won’t be able to tell them. If it was that awful, be honest. Admit you could not finish it.2. Do not read other reviews. At least not until you’ve written your own. Don’t let someone else’s opinion influence yours. Come to your own conclusions and have confidence in them.3. Be objective. You may not be reading your favorite genre. If you love romance and you’re reviewing true crime try to evaluate on style, structure, technique and content. Don’t take off points because it’s not a love story.4. Criticize without being nasty. Try to find one redeeming feature and start off with that. Remember this is someone’s baby.5. Make notes while you read. Jot down page numbers or quotes that will help you when it’s time to write your summary. Back up your opinions with examples.6. Do not give away the ending.Most of all have fun. Enjoy the pleasure of sharing something you love and the fun of coming across new authors and books that you might not have discovered otherwise.