This is another question from the guest post hat. Janet (of BuddhaKat fractaliciousness) found one which grabbed her fancy.
Do you read the reviews of a book you are interested in reading? If so, why? If not, why not?
If I may, I’d like to share my perspective of reviews both as a reader and as an author.
From all perspectives, yes, I do read reviews. I even go in search of them. Before I decide whether a book is for me (finally having realized I can’t read every book out there) I love to see what others have to say. I don’t let them decide for me, but a concept or idea that might just catch my imagination could be the reason I decide to open up a book and read it.
For one reason, I want to write reviews myself, so I want to get a feel of how a good (or not) review should look. This has been most helpful to me in reviewing a book of poetry (Pathways to Illumination) – which I hadn’t done before. What I found most helpful was the style of quoting bits of the book in my review, especially to make a point. For example, if I’m talking about strong and active words, I should show what I mean by showing such words from the book that made me think of that feature.
I love to read reviews of book I’ve yet to read. Not so I decide to or not to read the book, rather so that some facts are presented that help me decide if the book is well written enough to move me. I want to find an emotional connection in every book I read, as well as every book I publish. Whether that connection be through poetry, prose or images, a good book to me captures not only my attention but my heart. Are the characters believable and interesting, such that I care about what happens to them? How about the plot? Of course, I don’t want any spoilers, but I’ve got to have some idea of what happens in the book. I’m more interested in what happens in a book than what the book is “about”.
A good review can actually inspire me to read a book I might not have otherwise read. That has happened more than once, and I’m glad it did. Tell me about how a shy guy will save the world. Tell me how an abuse victim frees him/herself from the cycle of abuse. Tell me in prosaic words that unfold into a beautiful, heartwarming story. Or in original and powerful poetry that allows me to see the experiences being described.
This is why anyone and (hopefully) everyone would be a good reviewer. Each of us has our own perspective. By seeing what someone else found in the work, the sadness or joy experienced I have been given another set of eyes with which to see the book. And that is why I read reviews before and after I’ve read a book. Before, it gives me landmarks to keep an eye out for. After, I look back at the passages, activity that might not have impressed me, but I see it enhanced by someone else’s perspective.
Now, my book is slightly different, in that there are very few words to read, rather it is a collection of some of my art, specifically fractal-based art, the few words being their titles. I have been passionately working with fractal and digital art for so long I can’t remember when I didn’t. And each individual piece, as it progressed and became a “finished” (is any art really finished?) piece. There were many emotions involved, many yearnings, many fantasies, many colors that have touched me deeply. And my goal is to share these captured emotions with others that they might also be inspired to these feelings or even to try out the art form itself.
So, to wrap this up, I’ll offer a free e-book of Fractal Dreams to anyone willing to trade a free ebook for a review posted to RedmundPro.com. Just send your email address to me at email@example.com and watch for a .pdf download link to follow shortly.
Of course, should you choose to buy the book (that would be über cool!), I would still love to hear what you have to say about it. Did you like the art? How did it make you feel. How about the titles. Were they helpful or inspiring? Did you have any favorites? Which ones (if any) did you not care for?
The hardest part of writing a review is making the time to read the book! I have so many books on my “to read” list. I finally thought I would decide what books do I want to write reviews for and make time daily to read at least a few pages of the book I next want to review.
I have written reviews for the books listed below (except my own)…
Janet Russell: Fractal Dreams
Christy Birmingham: Pathways to Illumination
Red Dwyer: Killing Us Softly
Gail Thornton: The Girl in the Iron Lung
Robert Hookey: The Bellman Chronicles
H. E. Ellis: The Gods of the Asphalt
Give Janet a warm round of applause and tell her what you think.
Do you review books? Why or why not? Would you review Fractal Dreams?
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