How to Write a Book Review — A Writer’s Path

by Doug Lewars Book reviews are a fact of life. If it’s your book being reviewed, they’re nice if they’re positive and decidedly unpleasant if they’re negative. Every book is going to have a few negative reviews. That’s a fact of life because people are different, have different interests, enjoy different things, and […]

via How to Write a Book Review — A Writer’s Path

1 Comment

  1. Doug Lewars, Hello. Having spent over 15 years as a Book Critiquer for the “Louisville-Courier Journal” in Kentucky, and as the Book Review Columnist for “The Women’s Record” (Books for the Record) in Long Island, New York, and reviewing both fiction and nonfiction for several other publications, including “The Washington Post,” I find your instructions about how to think about book reviewing, what to consider when reviewing books, well-meant but
    somewhat over-complicated.
    I believe the purpose of a review is to candidly reflect to potential book buyers what you, as the reviewer, got from your reading. You can’t pussy-foot around, e.g., worrying about what the author may think of your review, what the publisher may think of your review, nor any other minutiae that is irrelevant to your duty as a book critic.
    You MUST be incisively honest. Else, what’s the purpose of your review? You can’t be influenced by any other considerations but the flow of the story, the accuracy of facts, the quality of the writing. Your duty is to the reader of your review. Period!
    Doug, I don’t recall you mentioning this, though: My pet peeve is that far too many so-called “reviewers” relate the plot of a fictive work. That’s definitely not helpful for the author, who may lose potential book purchasers because the disclosure has given too much away. The reviewer must not be a synopsizer of the work.
    The reviewer’s duty to the potential book buyer is to project the feel of the book, an overview (not the plot) from the reviewer’s impressions, a surgical look at the writing quality and how it relates to the subject matter. And let the chips fall where they may.
    I am Helen Borel,RN,MFA,PhD


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