On Thursday, the seminar room on the ground floor of the National Library was comfortably crowded with book enthusiasts whose pursuits and professional backgrounds ran the gamut. Literary aficionados, novice reviewers, authors who have both reviewed and been subject to the critic’s pen — all were engaged. As a humble book review blogger with no claim to professional training in the art of the review (unless a voracious and insatiable appetite for both reading and writing counts), I was thrilled to witness and share in the wide range of participation.
- It is not necessarily so valid to sparsely state that we either ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ a book; there is far more merit in contextualizing these feelings with a wealth of personal analysis and close reference to the book itself.
- Bearing this in mind, sharing direct quotations from the reviewed title is essential — surely the readers of your piece deserve a taste of the writer’s work?
- Do not be afraid to cultivate your unique writing style as you review. Remember, people will enjoy your reviews, not simply based on what you say, but also on the manner in which you say it.
- Read widely. Read deeply. Read a writer’s entire oeuvre, if you can. Read writers who influence the writers you admire. Reading in this way enriches your reviews, underscores their effectiveness, and makes it easier to recommend similar (or disparate) titles, based on your current review.
The Tweet-length version of these thoughts? Anyone, with enough passion for the subtle art of the review, can immerse themselves in this work. Surely the varied attendance at this, one of the two workshops conducted on the first day of full Bocas festivities, speaks volumes to that — and that deserves a grand ‘thumbs up’.