Today I am going to tell you how to write a book review.
I am constantly surprised by the number of people I meet who have never written a book review, or, if they have, did not realise they were doing it at the time.
It is different with novels.
All of you, of course, will have written a novel by now.
Some of you may even have had it published and remaindered.
So you will know all about the art of fiction, which consists in telling the reader about your characters.
But what is book reviewing about?
Book review writing is very much the same, except that instead of telling people about characters, the idea is to tell the reader all about YOU.
But surely, I hear you protest, the idea of writing a book review is to tell the reader all about the book under review, and the writer.
Oh, please. This is no time for naivete.
It's a short, fun read, so click over there and check it out. I'll wait right here.
[Crickets chirp. Brenda reaches for her cafe latte and stares out the window as she sips meditatively.]
Hey, thanks for coming back. Mr. Kington was being a little silly, but he made some good points, don't you think?
I don't review books here at NRJW and I don't critique manuscripts or judge contests for unpublished authors. I have absolutely no talent for those things, and I believe talent is required to do them well. Sure, I can tell you if I liked a book; I can even tell you why I liked it (or didn't). What I can't do is tell you, for instance, why a book is bad. I just know it's bad, that's all.
I read the same way I write--purely by intuition. Don't ask me to find the topic sentence in a paragraph containing two or more sentences.* Don't ask me to describe the character arc in a romance novel, even one of my own. I can't, and when I tried in the past I edged uncomfortably close to insanity, so I gave up.
I know some of you nutty people get all thrilled over analyzing the structure of novels. I admire you, truly. I'm just glad that you're you and I'm not. And I will continue to leave my share of book-reviewing and manuscript-critiquing to you. Thanks.
*I have long been baffled by paragraphs. When I first started writing, I assumed my editors would correct my improper paragraph breaks, consolidating some paragraphs and dividing others as necessary. But they've never done that, and I mean never, which leads me to conclude (1) that I am accidentally getting it right, or (2) that proper paragraphing isn't an exact science, or (3) that the whole paragraph thing isn't nearly as important as my teachers wanted me to believe.
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