Not Just Another Grouchy Grammarian

Musings about language, books, grammar, and writing in general

Why I Review the Way I Do

I have been noticing lately that my reviews often differ from those of a lot of other posters. So, I started thinking about what I write about when I review something, and why I choose those things.

To me, one of the most important things is the impact a book has (or not) on me. Sure, I could explain the plot like others do, or try to talk about every character, but there are others who can do that much better than I ever will. What I can do is share why a book has an impact on me – whether it’s a beloved classic or something totally out of my wheelhouse. That is the service I can provide best, although the “normal” review elements do peek in from time to time. I am more concerned with why you would want to read the book I’m talking about than with the book’s specific details.

As far as I can see, we read books for many reasons. Some we read like dessert – the light, fluffy treat at the end of a long day. Others we read because there is meat there. We suck the knowledge out like we suck marrow out of a soup bone (does anyone remember doing that as a kid?). Still others are some combination of the two. I believe that my job is not to reconstruct the book for you, but to let you know why I think it’s worth your time or not to pick up a particular book.

If that’s not what you are looking for in a book, so be it. I never thought I could please everyone. Go in peace and enjoy your reading – I honestly will not judge you. However, if you think my method is good, I am delighted to see you and share what I have learned, And, I have never stopped learning — every book I read teaches me *something* — even the light, fluffy ones have something to say that leaves an impact on me. Hopefully, I can communicate that impact well enough to help you make your reading decisions.

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