Blogging as a Writing Challenge
Remember those new handbooks I featured in my first Bargain Books Bonanza? I was flipping through Write on Track in between tutorial sessions one day, glancing at the sections on writing different kinds of documents, when I found one on book reviews. Of course I paused to read it more carefully.
And I was delighted at how beautifully it breaks down the dreaded book review form . . .
Book reviews usually answer three questions:
1) What is the book about?
2) Why do I like this book?
3) What main idea did the author share?
These three questions totally explain why I haven't cared for most of the book reviews I've stumbled upon since I started blogging.
Some reviews are clear about what the reviewer thinks of the book (#2), but not what the book is about (#1) or what the author's main idea is (#3). Others make both the book's content (#1) and the reader's opinion (#2) very clear, but say nothing about the theme that holds everything together--not just all the elements of the text, but also all the reactions of the reader. And that can make their reviews very two-dimensional.
This section of Write on Track includes a collection chart with helpful guide questions for each of the three "pillars" of a book review. Here are the guide questions for the main idea:
What main idea did the author share?
Fiction: What did you learn in this book?
Non-fiction: Why do you think the author wrote this book? What did you learn?
When I started this semi-bookish blog a year and a half ago, I rebelled against what I perceived as a poor form by refusing to write anything that fit it. And now I see I was unfair to the form. It's a perfectly decent, if secondary genre, and I find I want to try my hand at it as well.
Image Source: Write on Track