Saturday, April 26, 2008

what a week! SUnDay SaLOn!!

Busy week this week, not really physically, but I got a lot of reading done which I am very proud of. Here are what I have accomplished:

Links to my reviews for this week:

187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border by Juan Felipe Herrera
Voice of Ice by Alta Ifland
Sarajevo Marlboro by Miljenko Jergovic
I really liked them all, but Sarajevo Marlboro is EXCELLENT! A great read.

Kids Book Reviews:
A Spoon For Every Bite/ Una Cuchara Para Cada Bocado by Joe Hayes
These are two bilingual children's books that are really fun even if you don't know Spanish..the pictures are insane, really seriously...beautiful.

Crafting Book Review:
Making Stuff For Kids by Victoria Woodcock
If you are stuck on ideas for fun kids stuff, or just want to have some fun craft books around..this is a keeper. Good for all ages, to breed an atmosphere of creativity and overall fun times.

And after reading and reviewing all those books this week...I am wanting to ask the question..WHAT CONSTITUTES A GOOD REVIEW???? I know there are some that I love reading, and some that are harder for me, subject matter does seem to be important, and if I am interested in the book or not, or is it if you know the blogger/reviewer and have liked their reviews in the past? What makes you want to read reviews? I love reading books, but sometimes reviewing is hard. I feel like all I can do is say that I don't like it or that I do. Any input? advice? what do you like to read? Do you like a more personal approach or a more unbiased account of the basic premise and some thoughts on the writing? What do you look for that really grips you?

(brag time sorry...I have to!!)I am so proud of my Orbis Terrarum Challenge mates! We have visited so many countries already during this world challenge...I love it, here is a map that shows how amazing the progress around the world is that we have all made together: Orbis Terrarum Challenge Map
Oh, if you have no idea what challenge I am talking about, here is the info post. It is very exciting, we have 45 challengers!!!


Julie said...

What makes a good review? That is such a good question! For me, I don't want to know too much about the plot. Just give me the basic hook or premise in a couple of sentences. However, I do like personal reactions very much. I like people to be as specific as they can about why they liked or didn't like the book. And I also like to have a quote from the book so I can get the "flavor" of it.

I am bookmarking this post and I hope you get a lot of answers! I've been thinking of asking the same question on my blog.

Trish said...

I agree with Julie--I usually just skim the plot parts of a review. I often have a difficult time reviewing books as well, and I think mine lean more towards what I like and didn't like. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not--but I know that I like reading other's bottom lines (what they felt about the book rather than what the book is about). Sometimes I get a little irked if the review is all summary!

Great question! I wish someone could say to me, Trish...your reviews would be better if...

Wendy said...

Ditto for what Julie and Trish said. I don't like to read reviews that just rehash the book - I like to read a brief, on paragraph on what the plot is (without spoilers), and then I like to hear the reviewer's opinion. Why or why not they enjoyed the book; what readers would mostly like want to read it, etc...

bethany said...

julie: I keep wanting to comment on your page, but there is no link. I would love to visit! I feel the same way, about reviews...I like the human aspect of them.
THanks for bookmarking the post, please let me know where your blog is, I'd love to see!!

trish: yes, I would like that too...but then are you scared of what they would say? that is my case a little, but I guess the final product is worth it, right?

wendy: for sure no spoilers! and yes, mostly opinion. I am an opinionated person, I love reading other's opinions.

Beastmomma said...

You certainly had a very productive book week. I have been struggling to figure out the way to write a good review. In the blogging world, this seems to be the holy grail. I will look to other commenters for their advice.

J. Kaye Oldner said...

Hey Fellow Saloner!

Oh yeah, what's a good review? This has plagued me, so much so I've come up with a rating system. It's by no means complete, but it is simple. I NEED simple since my brain has refused to expand.

Anyway, I totally love the book you posted: Making Stuff For Kids by Victoria Woodcock. I'll see if I can find a copy. If not, I'll ask our library to purchase one and then keep my fingers crossed.

Trish said...

Yes, a little scared, but if it would increase my readership and be helpful to others then I'd like to know. Before this the only reviews I had written were for school--but they were very different types of reviews.

Julie said...

Bethany, thanks for asking. Please do come & visit! :) I think it's a Blogger bug that links to non-Blogger blogs aren't blue and underlined. But if you click on my name above my comment you'll get to my blog just like anyone else's. In case it doesn't work: I'm here.

As far as reviews go, another thing I like to do when I'm reading someone else's review is check whether they've reviewed any books I've already read. If we agree on one, I'm more likely to pay attention to others.

I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with writing about why you "liked" or "didn't like" a book -- especially if you take the time to think about WHY you liked or didn't like it. If all you do is give a book a number of stars (or whatever) that's not helpful. But if you really examine your response to the book and try to figure out what made the book "work" for you -- that's very valuable both for yourself and for your readers. Now, if I could only practice what I preach. I tend to go off half-cocked and "review" books before I've even finished reading them, which does no good to anyone. :)

Ramya said...

i keep wondering about the same question too.. sometimes, it is tough to write about a book without letting the plot out but then again.. in some books, the plot just isn't important.. eventually, i land up writing everything that comes to my mind when i sit..

Mrs. B. said...

I usually like reviews that give a little insight into what the premise of the book is. I don't just like an "I liked it." or "I didn't like it." I want to know why!
I usually like to know a bit about the writing style as well.
But I like a review to be short and sweet. Not long and rambly. I tend not to get through the excruciatingly long ones that sounds like people are just trying to flaunt their knowledge. (Don't worry...yours aren't like that! ;)

tanabata said...

I love the picture of the old book you have at the top of the post!
I agree with what others have said, that it's nice to know why a person either likes or doesn't like a book. Generally I don't like the really long ones unless I've already read the book. I struggle with my reviews too. It's hard sometimes to know what to say.