Trends keep on changing in this Era like change of clothes. Be it Mr. Prime Minister's Swachch Bharat Abhyaan, be it Orange Colour as fashion, be it No Shave month for Men, be it Selfie with daughter and many more. These are all trends that have suddenly emerged in our day to day lives. Coming to writing or literature world, setting up publishing houses, readers corners have come up. And the latest in this field is "Book Reviews".
Yeah, I have grabbed your attention with my inverted commas. So what according to you a Book Review is? For some people its just the feedback what we give after reading the book. So the feedback right? Then it means you need to rate it whether its good, better,best ,okay or worst. Is that a book review is? Many of my fellow writers cum book reviewers think that it is merely a short summary of the novel or any writeup. While writing their reviews they end up revealing the secret. I mean are you guys crazy that you just revealed the whole suspense of the novel for which a writer might have struggled hard for months or rather say ages. The novel is not just a story for the author. It is his life which he has invested in it. Rather consider it as his baby which he kept it in his womb like a mother and weaved his story till it gets ready to be published. He has impregnated his thoughts in it. Therefore, the novel is more precious than his life because that's the piece which can make him immortal even if he dies someday. People might forget him as a person but they wont forget him if he gives something valuable.
I am also a book reviewer. When I was a novice to this particular form, I have made blunders. I ended up revealing the things as I never knew the knack of Book Reviewing. And the ironical part was, I was appreciated everywhere for my book reviews and God knows what they saw in my trash. Yes, I call it a trash now. Had this been told to me last year I would have felt offended but now I have learnt from my mistakes. This sudden learned thinking came when once I showed my book review to my Phonetics teacher. I have always admired her true reviews so I was very excited and expected a "Wow" or some "good work" but what I got was a shock. She told me that I need to learn the tact of book review and my book review was a summary not the analysis of someone's work, infact I had ruined the suspense. She sounded very blunt but that was the point which made me realise. The next part was I asked her to teach me this book review technique. She gave me the mantra and now I follow it. But its just me who knows it now, what about the others who are still novice and end up making blunders which nobody realise because they hardly know about it. This post is dedicated to those novice book reviewers because I feel the right guidance and knowledge will improve us.
Some basic points that we should keep in mind while book reviewing:
NO STORIES: One thing should be kept in mind that you are hear to critically analyse the novel not to re write a summary of it. This is the biggest mistake we make.
DON'T REVEAL THE SUSPENSE: The author has worked hard on his suspense and revealing the suspense will spoil the mood of the reader. If he will know the whole story then what is his need to buy the book and read it.
DON'T RATE: Yes rating. Who are you to rate his work? Now the answer will be book reviewers. And your rating will give a negative remark to the reader. Suppose you didn't like his work and you gave the less rating and this will affect the sales of the book and indirectly spoils the image of the author. You are here to review, then simply do that , why you becoming teachers as if you are some scholistic person. Yes, you are not. Review is given according to the view point. You might like some point but I might hate that point. Then how can a rating justify anything? Does it justify that you didn't like the plot or a certain segment of it? No.. So kindly avoid it.
BE FAIR ENOUGH: Since you are the reviewer then its your biggest responsibility to be fair in your judgement. Just say the truth doesn't matter if its bitter. While reviewing you are just the reviewer not anyone's friend, sister, mother or girlfriend or vice versa for male people.
NO NEGATIVE POINTS, POSITIVE POINTS: I don't think there is a need of separate points for good and bad parts in the novels.You can mention at one place. Plus no repetition of remarks.
WHAT TO WRITE THEN?
Oh.. these are the No's and I exactly do these things. Is that you are thinking? Trust me I am too good in reading minds.(winks) Don't repeat the things after reading this post. It will surely help you improve.
Critically analyse: You need to critically analyse. Try to make headings starting from the cover of the book. Then go for the title, plot, its techniques, narrative, style, diction. This is the first step and use seperate headings for these things. This will make it brief and precise.
Paragraphs : It is not necessary to follow the heading technique, you make up seperate paragraphs too as they suggest a new idea or add transitional paragraphs to develop your previous paragraph.
ADD OTHER REVIEWS: This is optional.You can add other reviews from newspapers or various blogs and if you are going for newspaper reviews then go for THE HINDU as they are technical.
REVIEWER'S COMMENTS: You can't rate it so what to add? Is it what you thinking? Yes, you are!
Add your true comments including the likes and dislikes. You can even add your suggestions for the improvements, there is no harm in it. Please be specific what you like the most and what you didn't. For positive and negative you can add two different paras in order to avoid confusion.
ADD YOUR FAVORITE LINES: While reading the novel, mark the favorite lines. The benefit is nothing. It will just make the author happy and he will be on cloud nine. Its obvious it will motivate him.
So, I am done with these techniques. I have been reading book reviews a lot and I felt there is a need to guide you. And I had no intention to target someone or embarase you because I am also one of you. I don't say blindly follow. JUst read it, react on it. It is on you whether you take the advice or not. Take it or leave it. Sorry if I sounded bit harsh at the first but I had to take it out. I couldn't handle wrong things.