(Random pic I chose from Instagram)
My vacation is almost over. I’ve decided to act like a grown up about it and not cry. Something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, that I wanted to start doing on this blog last year, is book reviews. To do book reviews you need to be reading. I have been in a long non-reading phase. I tried to break it a couple of times last year and ended up reading The Typewriter Girl which I couldn’t finish for several reasons, one being that I’m not fond of the word “cock” or scenes in which tongues are urgently thrusting and exploring and “flicking”.
My main goal in doing book reviews is to be sharing more new authors and independent authors with others. I’m not interested in writing reviews that tear authors down. I want to build them up. I think it’s possible to write honest reviews that aren’t mean. Here are the aspects of a book I want to cover in a review:
Genre: did it live up to my expectations based on the genre the book claims to be? Or does it belong in a different genre? Or is it true cross-genre?
What was the most engaging aspect of the story for me?
Who was my favorite character and why?
What was the biggest theme of the book?
What is one thing I would like to have seen more of in the story?
What is one thing I would like to have seen less of in the story?
Describe this book in five words.
I want to address research and development too, but I’m not sure how to do this without sounding like a bitch. It’s like when one of the readers of Cricket and Grey questioned how Cricket got ammunition in a post apocalyptic world (are bullets readily accessible, for example) and I was annoyed because there’s a scene in which I specifically showed Cricket refilling bullet shells with a tool people use to do this at home. Something I actually did research on. Sometimes you can do research but somehow still leave a reader unconvinced you know what you’re writing about. Sometimes you just don’t do enough research. And this is important, few things will tear a person out of a story faster than some unrealistic action or a reader catching the author out in a poorly researched subject that the reader knows more about than the author. I will have to think on this more.
Historical novels that get the fashion wrong seriously irritate me. Victorians actually showed very little boob, for example. Cleavage was something you only saw on prostitutes or with ball gowns. In day-garments you would not see cleavage and the corsets were so tight, generally, you would be hard put to see a woman’s chest actually heave. But in the regency period, the foundation garments were different and you might see more cleavage during the day. These details matter. They matter because if you’re going to write about a tediously documented time period, you need to know the tedious details as an author. If you don’t want to stick to the details then you need to write in a genre that allows you to make shit up and do what you want that works for your story. Steam-punk is a good example of that. It’s Victorian-like but not.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on reviewing books. I also want to do author interviews. I want to do them where I ask every author the same questions. Things I always want to know about a writer. Here are some of them:
What are the 3 main themes that show up in your novels?
Do you write in the genre you love to read the most? If not, why?
What’s your favorite part of the novel writing process?
What’s the hardest part for you in writing a novel?
Tell me 3 of your own characteristics you always give your main characters?
What is one characteristic you have given a main character that you don’t possess yourself but wish you did?
What’s your favorite book of all time and what about it do you love the most?
What’s your least favorite book of all time and what about it did you hate the most?
What drives you to write novels?
What is your biggest pet peeve that novelists commit in their books.
What do you think is the biggest pet peeve readers might have that you commit in your own books?
List your 5 favorite words.
List your 5 most hated words.
What is your best/favorite writing tool?
Favorite place to write?
What’s your preferred steam level in books?
1) G-rated, as in: no one is getting any
2) PG-rated, as in: people are getting some but once kissing gets heavy the curtain falls on the scene
3) R-rated, as in: people are getting thrusty and hard and you’re watching with popcorn
4) X-rated, as in: so explicit you have to put the popcorn down and actively participate
There you have it. I’m off to a pub now. I will refine these questions in time to start with my first book review of “The Parting Glass” by Katherine Lampe