Monday, August 31, 2009

Article | Change of book review format...

So…. Me and my eternal brainstorming have come up with a new format for book reviews. I have noticed that while reading there are a few different stages to discovering a book.

There is the initial reason for choosing the book – what was the first attraction.

Part A of a book: The first date. You know the first time you crack it open and its first impressions that it leaves on you.

Part B of a book: The middle interlude, the second impression. This part it tricky. It is the wean off from the set up of the situation into the final melt down of the ending. It’s that part in-between were sometimes it can lull a bit, but that lull could also just be the quite before the storm. This is the part that if the initial part sucked and you kept reading the book with hopes that it might get better, it can go one of two ways here. Option one: It keeps on sucking and so you give up. Or if you are like me and can’t give up (for various reasons left to another post), and it takes 3 months to read a book that shouldn’t take longer than a week max. Option two: It picks up momentum. It drives you to the ending.

Part C of a book: The ending. There is that final dash to the end. That climatic high you reach were the world could be blowing up around you and you don’t even notice. Or if it was a sucky book and it’s three months latter, you sigh that finally you are done with this rotting tomb in your life. Either way it’s over, and there is an impression that you are left with. This is possibly the most important impression, because if part A and B rocked but the ending blew, you will forever not recommend the book because the ending blew ass. Whoever says “read this book up to page 200, but then don’t bother with the ending. It blows.” No. You would say something like. “Try this book. It was a slow start, but the ending really pulls it all together in a way that you would not expect that totally rocks your socks.” Some people may not give it a change because they don’t want to waste their time on the initial suck, but if you say that it rocks socks, they may be willing to give it a chance.

Then there are the questions. And the hypothesis about situations. Like why did this character do this when they could have done this. And there is the criticizing of tone and voice and pace. And all those nitty gritty little details, that may or may not fit in with the above sections, but I am left pondering at the end of a book. What I learnt from this style of book. If I thought it should have been more graphic or less graphic. What I might have done different and how I thought those changes could have shaped the story into a better book. I think about those things when I read a book, or at least I think about it at the end when I am mulling it over.

I will also somewhere try to do a brief synopsis of the book, but I may just steel it from Amazon and quote it too, because they are better at brief than I am. Or I may just link to Amazon and you can go there and read the review (I have been linking all book titles to Amazon). That way I am also able to deal more with the emotional set up of the book and how I reacted to it at various time.

There are definitely three stages to a book, and upon examining several other reviewers and their styles I find they don’t hit on this so much. That the whole review is an afterthought after their minds are muddled with the last impression. I am unsure if I will post the review up in sections like: Why this book; Part A; Part B; Part C and the final hypothesis, brainstorming and questions. Or I may save it all for one big honking slot. We’ll test this out and see how it works and like everything else here, work on it by trial and error. I realize that his is a much larger undertaking breaking it up like this but I think of things as I read a book and try to remember it at the end, and that initial observation isn’t the same tainted by the ending like it is. I am not trying to bash endings, but sometimes the journey is far better than the end result. Someone needs to stand up for that first journey of a book. And I want to be that someone. After all, reading is an adventure. And it’s just as important the obstacles on the way to slaying the dragon as the dragon being slain in the end. Both deserve equal merit.