Those who know me know the passion I have for book reviews. It’s not about the judgement or even capturing the essence of the book – it’s the expression of what the book made you feel that most catches my eye.

Every reader has her own interpretation of what she reads about and this feeling is what’s valuable. Let us for a moment cast aside political correctness and what must be and the examples we set through our opinions in book reviews. I want to share the why of book reviews at the most basic gut level.

I follow a lot of blogs and subscribe to newsletters only for book reviews. Mind you, I don’t want to read all those books. Some talk of books in far flung areas or of subjects that wouldn’t elicit a reaction from me. I don’t want a verdict (though I am guilty of writing that in my reviews) of how good or bad it is and whether the pace slackens in the middle or the end has all threads neatly tied.

What I want to read are the bits that stood out for you. The description that made you stop and stare wonderingly out of your window, thinking back to some other time. That same fear, or hatred or guilt or shame you recognise in one of the characters. And suddenly you feel understood and validated.

What we read shapes us, our thoughts, emotions and their expression in real life. When we recognise the patterns of what hits us the most in a book, that’s a teeny weeny step closer to our own selves. Your review of a book may not express that revelation but you have marked the places which felt very real to you.

That’s why I pick quotes from books and add the highlighted passages in my reviews. That’s why I say why a book cover looks endearing, not because of the design elements but because it speaks to a part of me. I don’t want book reviews to be just useful to my readers, in helping them choose what to read next but in letting them decide if this is the book they would open their hearts to.

A review can be as beautiful as the book itself; a piece of art on its own.

When I talk of books I talk of myself too.

Share the link to a favourite book review that you or someone else has written.

This post is part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.

2 thoughts on “The Why of Book Reviews

  1. I love this. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like reading reviews because they all follow a format and don’t really take me on a journey of the reader’s experience. And when I find a review that tells me that it helps me to choose a book rather than the final rating.

    Liked by 2 people

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