Title: The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing
Author: Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Book reviewers have a bittersweet disposition. We can encourage potential readers and buyers to purchase a book or not. Does that mean book reviewers are powerful? No, not at all, it simply means that if you are a fair and respectable reviewer, your opinion about a book or author will be taken into consideration. If you would like to learn how to be a respected book reviewer with the right skill set to review any type of book, Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards can help you achieve your goal.
According to Calvani and Edwards writing a book review has 5 requirements: 1) Command of Language 2) Clarity of Thought 3) Honesty 4) Objectivity 5) Tact. From that point each reader will get an in depth view on what a book review consists of. This section is the most important piece of the book. Calvani and Edwards offer a generous amount of information on how reviews should read critically. A list of helpful questions is provided as a guide for truly understanding and pulling information from what was read by the reviewer. For example:
Plot = is the plot original? Has it been done many times? If not original, is it written from a fresh angle?
Narrative and Flow = is there too much telling instead of letting the characters talk to the reader?
Point of View = does the author jump from one point to another in a way that disrupts the readers suspension of disbelief?
Reviewers also have the job of providing a ‘hook’ for their review. According to Calvani and Edwards a ‘hook’ is: “A hook is any set of words that will attract a reader and hold their attention long enough to get them to read the complete review.” Information on how to rate books on popular sites such as Amazon are explained in great detail. Samples of reviews along with sample formatting for setting up a document are very helpful for new reviewers. Readers will find sample reviews for articles, children’s book and anthologies.
Another section I found to be very helpful is the “How a Review Differs from a Book Report, a Critique and a Press Release.” Calvani and Edwards explain that in time reviewers will quickly learn how to recognize the differences of these techniques by acquiring some experience. A list is provided breaking down the difference between a review, book report, critique or press release. For example:
Review = an individual’s opinion
Book Report = a book report is objective and not consumer-oriented
Critique = A critique is an individual’s opinion. The focus is critical and evaluative.
Press Release = the press release is an announcement to the media. It is media-oriented and never negative.
Everything you can ever imagine a book reviewer needing help with or any question that would need to be answered can be found in these pages. Calvani and Edwards discuss what not to do as a reviewer, teach readers how to deal with the feelings of the author, how to start your own book review site, how to present your review for publication and how to tactfully write about your dislikes. These are just a few of the many things that can be learned from reading this book. The back of the books has tons of print review publications and website resources for posting reviews. As a reviewer I found this book to be very informative, educational and resourceful. This guide can be used by a new reviewer or someone who has been doing it for a while.
About the authors:
Mayra Calvani is a multi-genre author of adult and children’s books and has been a reviewer for most of the past decade. She is co-editor of Voice in the Dark Ezine and also keeps three lit blogs, Mayra’s Secret Bookcase, The Dark Phantom Review, and Violin and Books. In addition, she teaches book reviewing at the Long Story Short School of Writing. Visit her website at www.mayracalvani.com.
Anne K. Edwards enjoys writing mysteries, but dabbles in children’s stories and other genre. She reviews for some publicists and web zines and is co-editor of Voice in the Dark ezine. She is a member of Pennwriters and Books We Love. Her website is http://annekedwards.com.