Monday, 26 January 2009

The Process of Reviewing

Reviewing is something of an art. Not the art of words. But deciding which books to review and which not to review. Also working out why I felt the way I felt about a particular book. Perhaps it is me. The mood I'm in while I read a book or what is going on in my life at the time. Or perhaps it is the book itself. The subject matter. Or the way it is written. It's omissions or its details.

In the end, I feel whatever it is, the review is legitimate so long as I explain why I feel the way I feel about the book. Reading is not objective. It is an individual experience. We bring to it all our previous life, our experience, our moods and emotions and make it our own version. We bring it to life. Or not. Or partly.

I have twice received books that I have said, sorry I can't review this. It's not my thing. One book I tried to tackle and struggled to get beyond the first chapter because I felt it was written badly. I am not going to force myself to read a book just for the sake of a review. Another time, I backed out of writing a review of some poetry that I knew I couldn't review fairly because it was from a poetry faction that I'm not keen on, and I knew some people might love the book, but not me.

My latest review is a struggle with myself and reviewing. It is my discussion with the book, and my decision to post it was about honesty, even if others disagree.


Fiona Robyn said...

As I've said off-line, Annie, I happen to agree with you on this one - but I find it very tricky to say anything less than positive about my response to something and take the cowards route of saying no to the whole review! Here's to (careful and balanced, which I felt your review was) honesty.

Michelle said...

Honesty is sometimes the hardest thing, Annie. Bravo.

annie clarkson said...

Thanks x