I remember as a child burning the midnight oil to get a book read to do the dreaded book report. Even though I loved reading, I hated book reports. I’d wait until the last minute to finish my book. It never occurred to me that the teacher may have never read my book of choice. I couldn’t bring myself to make stuff up like some of the others did. Blurry-eyed I wrote my prose: title, authors name, genre (in grammar school it was referred to as kind of) and a brief retelling of the story. In the upper grades teachers had specific things you need in your report- the theme, what the author was saying in his work and lots of other really boring things to suck the life right out of the story for me.
Book reports turned fun reading into drudgery. By high school the books the teacher assigned as require reading became a millstone around my neck. Those I loved like To Kill a Mockingbird were spoiled by the process of analyzing the content. And others like The Turn of the Screw were painful. I remember the title forty years late because it aptly describes how much pressure a book report put on my teenage mind. I’m ashamed to say I broke my own rule with that book and took to skimming chapters to answer the questionnaire. Even today I couldn’t tell you what it was about or even the author. Only that I was forced upon me along with Shakespeare and Greek Tragedies.
Free at last
Once I was freed from the shackles of required reading I discovered many of the classics to be a delight. Entering into the pages of the story and embracing the characters created by Dickens, Austin, Twain, Bronte, Montgomery and so many others. Enjoying the nuisances that would have escaped me in my youth. Not being forced to read something brought back the joy of reading. It stoked my love of traveling along with characters and being lost in the word pictures.
Writing a book review became easy once I realized I could pour out my passion for these written adventures on the paper. Sharing with others why this romance was delightful or that mystery gave me chills is great fun. Encouraging others to open the pages of an unexpected story brings me joy. Warning readers of the author’s edginess or lack of creativity is part of the responsibility I take on as a reviewer. If I’m disappointed in the storyline or its presentation I feel compelled to give others a heads up.
So I am doing a little happy dance when I realize I have posted almost 100 reviews on Amazon. One hundred opportunities to share my thoughts on not only new books, debut novels but their authors as well. Book reviews build community. Authors request reviews, readers rely on reviews to help them chose a book from the millions available.
Try it, you might like it.
If you’ve never written a book review but think you might like to give it a try come back on Wednesday when I’ll post 10 Tips for Writing Book Reviews. Yes, I do write reviews for non-fiction books and will be sharing tips for those as well. I’ll also share a few tips for writing reviews for a paying market.
Do you love to write reviews? Read reviews? I’d love to hear your thoughts.