What do YOU look for in a book review?
Way back in January 2011, Peter Rose, editor of the Australian Book Review, described what he looks for in new reviewers. Of course, he’s writing about reviewers for a serious journal, but it got me thinking about what blog readers look for when they visit litblogs. And so, I thought I’d ask. I know what I like, but what do you?
First, do you look for something different in a litblog review from one in a newspaper? And, whether yay or nay, what do you want in a litblog review?
- A summary of the plot or a longer description of the story? How important is it to avoid spoilers?
- Information about the author and other background material to the book? In the review, or as a link to another site such as Wikipedia?
- An objective analysis of the book in terms of its literary merit or a more conversational chat about what the reviewer likes?
- Lots of quotes/excerpts, few or none?
- Essay-style or headings and dot-points?
- Long or short?
- Awards won?
- A discussion of well-known easy-to-get books or lesser-known and perhaps harder-to-find ones?
- Tags/Categories/Labels? If so, what sort of categorising do you find most useful for delving into a blog?
- Reading challenges?
- Publication details?
- Links to other reviews?
- Information about where to buy the book?
- And, for fun, the Oxford comma or not!
I know most of these are not necessarily either/or propositions, and you don’t have to answer them all, but I’m sure you have preferences.
Mind you, I’m not guaranteeing I’ll do what you say. This is my blog and I’ll write what I want to … but, who knows, we might find a fit, so I just thought I’d ask …