New Book Review Formats

April 16, 2014 Whitney Uncategorized 2 Comments

Last week I read a blog post written by Kimba The Caffinated Reader on review burn out and mixing it up.  While I have not gone through review burn out I think it would be grand to try something new.  The post made me reexamine all the book reviews I have prepped and personalize/tailor them to the synopsis/genre.  I actually looked back on a meme I have been doing off and on, Femme Fatale Friday, a focus on femme fatales in literature.  I wrote letters, suicide notes and eulogies to describe these characters/stories.  I was creative.  While my freestyle review formula is fine and does work, I’d like to branch out and express a little of those creative juices floating around somewhere.

I’ve currently set my fallback as a breakdown with “initial thoughts, fond of, not fond, final thoughts”  but other ideas (some taken from Kimba)* are:

  • Speed Dating*
  • Journal Entry
  • Medical Report
  • Obit/eulogy
  • Suicide Note
  • Bullet Point*
  • Top Ten (David Letterman Style)
  • Tweet it! 140 words or less*
  • The 5 Ws and H
  • Character Compare/Contrast Circles
  • Acrostic Poem* — take one word and expand off of each letter (Book Log OGreatness)
  • Newspaper article
  • Ad
  • Wanted Poster
  • Brochure
  • When my brother was in elementary school, he started every single paper with “Have you ever wondered?”  and no matter what the subject concluded with “Well if you ever wondered now you know.”  In homage, I could expand off of that.
These are just a few, but there could be many more.  How do you review? do you have a set formula or do you mix it up?
Now I have one last inquiry, I’ve notice lately that several bloggers include a rating and an “About The Author” on their review posts.  Do you think either are an essential.  I’ve debated including a rating but I have always thought it gives your impression/overall view on said book too affirmatively, but maybe that’s just me.  What do you think?


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2 responses to “New Book Review Formats

  1. My review style is similar to your original one – and so far I'm pretty happy with it. But I do like to read reviews that change things up – it does make things interesting and it must be more fun to write! I think I stick to this old review style because it's something I can post around on Amazon and Goodreads.

    I like having ratings just so the blog reader can get an idea of what I thought of the book – but the review is much more definitive of what I felt about the book. Author bios I don't really read on other reviews, so I don't think they are very necessary.

  2. Mixing it up helps, especially when you find a book difficult to review; a change of style might do the trick then. I mostly review the classic way – similar to yours, but sometimes, when I'm struggling or just to freshen things up, I use bullet points. I liked you other ideas, too. I can see how one could use them for different genres/sorts of reviews. For example a journal entry style for an adventure/fantasy, or a suicide note for a particularly bad book.

    I do use ratings. I think they are useful to give a reader a quick overall assessment, but for a better idea, one needs to read the review. However, the rating is often what draws me in to read the review, so from this aspect the ratings are useful.

    On the other hand, the ratings can be misleading. Firstly, because you can't really compare the two book – 5 star rating for LOTR and the same rating for a contemporary YA romance just can't mean the same. Also, my idea of the book changes over time, and sometimes I give 5 stars just because I was overwhelmed. Also, I may give 1 star because of a squick that might not bother someone else. As far as I go, my numerical ratings are much more subjective than the actual reviews I write, so the review is where the truth lies. And the same goes for the review's I read, I may be dawn in by the rating, as I said, but I form my opinion based on the actual review.

    I almost never read author bios in the reviews, so I don't think those are necessary.

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