Something I have found fairly interesting (and quite pertinent to this group) is how book bloggers actually write, review, pontificate, etc. about the books they're reading.

Do you summarize? How much opinion? Do you include the bad with the good? Do you use a regular format?

And of course as we're all readers, is there a certain method that you prefer to read (assuming it's not also the one you usually write in)?

Tags: book, reviews, writing

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I usually do a short summary and then give my opinion. I don't like book reviews that are too long or give away too much of the plot.
I usually post the book synopsis then add my opinion. I will usually rate it 1 to 5 stars and add a guick note about what kind of reader I might recommend the book to (historical fiction fans, etc.). I have no problem with saying I didn't like a book and why I didn't like it. I will occasionally post an actual review if it is a book I received from an author or publisher and I am usually more gentle in wording my opinions of those.
I do and I shared my process on Novel Journey. Here is the link:

http://noveljourney.blogspot.com/2005/11/book-review-format-for-you...
It depends on what I'm reviewing. When I'm reviewing something for kids, I'll give a short blurb with a cliffhanger about how it ends, what age group it's appropriate for, etc.

If it's something an author or publisher sent, I'll include quotes from the jacket or website describing the book, and then my opinions about it. If I really didn't like the book, I may read a few excerpts to my book club and find out if it's something they might read if it were a club pick, to get varying opinions.

I try to to write the same way for everything. Sometimes, for a kid's book, I might focus on the illustrations, if that's what got my or my son's attention the most.

I've been tossing around the idea also of getting the book group questions for some of the adult fiction I read and picking a few questions to answer to see if it gets people to pick up the book.
You know, it's funny, if you'd asked me a while ago I would have said I don't exactly follow a structure. But just a few days ago I was looking at my first few blog posts, and they are so differently! I think I learned to structure my posts better from reading everyone else's blogs. My first few posts seem to assume that the reader knows the book in question. These days I don't do that anymore.

What I do is start by introducing the book with a short plot summary, and then point out what I liked and disliked about it, what worked for me and what didn't. Sometimes I share a favourite passage or two.
Typically, I give a short summary of the basic plot/characters of the book, but I'm careful not to reveal anything. I keep my reviews short, under 300 words. I like keeping it simple. I do include my personal opinion of why I enjoyed the book, but I keep it brief as well.
I typically just offer my opinions about the books. I'm not good with summaries generally, plus I feel like there are a lot of options for people just wanting a synopsis.

I prefer to read more opiniony type reviews as well. I find myself skimming over reviews that have a large amount of summary because I'm more interested in what people thought of the book versus what it's about.
We don't actually review books at Book on the Nightstand, we recommend them. When I started working in publishing, I quickly realized that not every book is for everyone, no matter how critically acclaimed or how "terrible" I might think it is. For that reason, we stick to posting about books that we love, or books that we know our readership has a good chance of enjoying. We try to stay away from too much plot, and we don't give a number grade or otherwise rate the book. We try to write our recommendations as if we were a friend who has similar reading tastes to you -- in fact, I have just such a friend, and when I am writing my posts, I am often "talking" to her in my mind as I write.
I don't review, but rather book talk. I pick a character, usually the main, and become that person. Then speak as if I'm telling readers the beginning or a key event in the book.

Another booktalk method I use is to write from my own experiences that happen to correlate with the story. I do this a lot with nonfiction. It makes it a personal experience.

I think, since I write for the local press, I tend to promote rather than dog a book. There are times I do not like a book personally, but feel it is worthy of being read. Call it something that doesn't appeal to me, but others might find pleasurable; thus, the booktalk will reflect a positive experience.

I do a weekly column, and often do not have the time to read more than one book which forces me to talk about the one in hand. If I'm in a bad mood should the book reflect it?
I also tend to bend over backward to give a good review, or at least to find something good to say. I'm honest, but if I think that something other than the quality of the book influenced my negative reaction, I try to say something about that, too.

Recently I did a post on a handful of books that I just couldn't get into. Summer slump? Paranormal overload? Could be.
Funny you should ask.... I just posted on the topic!

http://alphaheroes.blogspot.com/2008/08/how-i-write-my-reviews.html
I don't normally stick to any specific method. I always include the synopsis from either the book jacket or from Fantastic Fiction. After that I give my opinion on the reading, trying to cover pace, character development or whatever strikes me. I never include anything that may spoil the plot. If I didn't like something particular I will include it, an honest review is the best review IMO. I will also include a note if the book contains alot of profanity, sex, violence or drug/alcohol use, just to let the more sensitive reader know what they may be in for. At the end I like to include some info about the author linking to their website too.

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