Saturday, May 2, 2009

Weekly Geeks: This How You Do It

Our assignment for this week is to talk about review formats.
From Care: And now, thanks to the awesome team that is so good to continue hosting our Weekly Geeks activity, I am honored to guest present the idea. I only ask you to do one, some, all or none of the following:

1. Explain your review format - if you have one. Or maybe your rating system?

I've only recently begun reviewing books on my blog so I'm still experimenting. I have discovered a few formats and reviewers I like though these are not necessarily formats I want to emulate. I think what I like most about my reviews and what I've been most consistent about is allowing my personality to come through and keeping the reviews informal. For a while, I was apprehensive because I was putting pressure on myself to write polished, professional reviews. Thank Maude I came to my senses and gave myself permission to lighten up. Please don't misunderstand, I do enjoy the in-depth reviews.

2. Highlight another book-blogger's review format by linking to a favorite example - don't forget to tell us why they are a fave!

I'll start with the formal reviews. I read a lot of YA these days and admittedly I no longer read as many literary works as I'd like but when I want a fine read, I turn to Eva at A Striped Armchair. Eva's reviews are thorough, considered pieces replete with passages and insights. And while Eva's reviews are formal in style, she is personable and warm. Her reviews may lean toward the academic but Eva can't help but inject some of her personality into the review. Read Eva's review of The Bee Keeper's Apprentice and tell me if you don't agree that she strikes a good balance.

If you like reviews that read like literary works themselves, then read Eudaemonia. Lisa Kinney is an aspiring writer who takes craft seriously. Rather than link to a review, check out her most recent article about what she looks for in a good book. It gives you a real sense of what her reviews are like. Let me warn you, Lisa is not for the lighter fare reader or anyone who is in a hurry. Get comfy and have a full mug beside you when you read Lisa.

I read Lisa and Eva when I want to immerse myself in the art of writing, when I want an essay with legs to borrow a term from wine tasting. At other times, I want something quick and informative, quirky or light. These are qualities I look for most when I want good reviews on YA and children's books. My first stop is HappyNappy Bookseller . At HN, I get the rainbow. Doret is a bookseller and she knows her product. Her blog is streamlined in both content and layout: reviews and occasional articles that supplement her focus on books. Her reviews are concise and helpful, and she consistently reviews books other bloggers overlook. She covers what's new, too, but Doret and I think alike: books don't have expiration dates. My reading habits aren't driven by release dates, and I appreciate a reviewer who is more interested in introducing readers to good reads rather than focusing on promoting new releases. You want to get a sense of who Doret is and why her are reviews are fun, check out her review of Pure by Terra McVoy.

I haven't been reading Natasha from Maw Books long but I am impressed. What I like about Natasha's review of Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson is how much information she includes for the reader. Not only does she cite the text but she lists other titles she's read by the author and provides a link to similar books. I'm considering adding similar reads in future reviews.

That's it for me. I'm off to read others' contributions.


Steph Su said...

Thanks for this post, susan! It was very interesting and I'll be sure to check the mentioned bloggers out. :)

Doret said...

Thanks Susan, I really enjoy MawBooks as well, and I love her interviews. I will have to check out the other blogs.

tea said...


I just noticed your Dardo Award. What a wonderful award to receive. You deserve it.

Serena said...

great post...thanks for the insight

Anonymous said...

I love Eva's reviews, too! She's one of my litmus tests - if she's in the blogroll, I can usually trust the blog!
Happy Weekly Geeks, -Care

Lisa said...

Thank you so much for your kind words!

susan said...

Lisa, what? I only said what's true. :-) You're welcome.

Eva said...

Susan, I'm sitting here and can't stop grinning! Thanks so much!