Sunday, October 05, 2014

Just Jottings: A reviewer's notes


I started this blog close to 3 years back. And today when I am staring at touching 1000 posts soon on this, I cannot help but wonder how soon it all happened. It is said that when you do things that you love it doesn’t seem like work anymore. This blog was born out of my love for reading ad photography. It has undergone many changes in the recent past and may still but for me it will still remain my second baby who this year even managed to get entry into Indian Blog Directory amongst some of the biggest names in the blogging world. Yes! I am extremely proud of my baby:)

After some 180 reviews one question I always come across is how I review books. So I decided today to write what works for me as a reviewer and what doesn’t. I was introduced to books as a child. I remember spending my entire summer vacations reading books. Even during my exams I remember begging mom for a half an hour book where I could read some chapters of my favorite novel. There are few books which are by heart to me, that’s the number of times I would have read them. I can narrate it to someone scene by scene and still I love reading it at times, that’s the magic of books and my madness about it. And THIS is the reason why this blog doesn’t rate books.

Source: Google Images


I have always believed there is no bad book or good book, there is always something you can take back from a book – it’s just a matter of perspective of whether it’s a do or a don’t for you. When I hold a book in my hand the first thing I notice is the effort an author has put behind it. 

Toiling behind a story and giving it the shape of a novel is no mean task; and after that finding some publisher for it to give it the form it deserves, that of a book is another herculean task. An author needs to be appreciated for this thing. It is this effort that deserves to be respected and more than anything else encouraged.

If you ask me what works for me then perhaps this is what comes to my mind:

o I believe the characters of a book have to undergo some change by the time they reach the end of the novel.
o Language, diction, grammar and tenses play a very important role in shaping up the story.
o Characters – I am in love with them somehow. I need to feel them, I love it when they come alive in those pages and that is why I love stories where authors put in extra effort behind character sketches, which connects me to the story at a very deeper level.

What doesn’t :

o Abusive language – I feel there are various ways of expressing anger and displeasure at least in a book.
o SMS / Daily conversational language – In our day to day life we might have many lingos which are for our ease, but reading them in print is somehow a huge turn off for me.
o I had read somewhere the best advice to a writer is “Don’t say in 3000 words what you can in 500.” – I believe in it a lot and hence hate stories which are stretched to be made into a novel’s length while actually they could have been given a tighter narration making it a decent read.

Overall I am madly in love with the written word so I am falling in love with almost every other book I read. Basis the varied tastes people have in reading a book that appeals to me, might not appeal to someone else hence I have chosen to give a very unique rating in terms of Foodie Verdict where I compare the book to a food item simply for a reason that if you like eating that food item you would love the book too. Because it is difficult to gauge someone’s book interests’ basis the kind of books one reads, especially one who is a reviewer.

P.S: This is a new segment on my blog where I will share random thoughts related to various aspects of what I do as a reviewer, editor, writer and interviewer.