Sunday, February 5, 2012

Post: Why I Review

Post by Ingrid

We've never participated in The Sunday Salon before, but since I had a topic in mind I thought today would be a good day to start.

The Sunday Salon.comWhat makes a good review? It seems like everyone has a different answer to this question. Last summer Jeff at The Reading Ape wrote a post on the reader centered review, which sparked a great conversation in the comments. I reread this post today as I've recently been thinking quite a bit about how I frame my own reviews.

The Blue Bookcase is coming up on its 2 year anniversary in March. Over these past 2 years we've cycled through different reviewers and started to participate in and host new memes. The main content of this blog, though, has always been book reviews. In her one year anniversary post last March, Connie wrote that her original purpose for the blog was to keep track of the books she had read and to exchange reviews with her friends. We've tried to keep the tone of this blog casual and accessible, and though we have expanded quite a bit since those first few months, we hope that The Blue Bookcase will always remain this way.

I was still in school and inculcated in academia when I first started to review here, and I remember how I tried to write my reviews from a more scholarly point of view. (The Comparative Literature department I studied in was known for its elitism, and though I tried not to let it affect me, I realize now that it kind of did.) However, now that I'm more familiar and comfortable with the book blogging community and the other girls that write for this blog, I realize that in those early reviews I came off a little bit arrogant. I truly hope that I've been able to move away from that tone as my reviewing style has evolved. On the other hand, as I've read back over some of my more recent reviews, I wish I had been able to discuss the books I've reviewed in more depth instead of just quickly listing off what I liked or didn't like about it. Part of me misses that academic frame of reference that school provided for me, and I wish I could somehow still bring that into my reviews.

So, as we move toward our second anniversary, I hope to be able to strike a balance between maintaining the fun, casual tone of this blog as well as digging a little deeper in the way I write about books. I also hope to apply to graduate school this year, and I want to use this blog as a platform to improve the way I write and think about literature. I love the fun, laid-back book discussion this blog has provided, and I believe the atmosphere this blog has created is truly why I review.

Of course, we also have the lovely and intelligent Connie, Christina, Lucia, Liesl, and Christine-Chioma who also regularly write reviews for The Blue Bookcase. Part of the fun of this blog is the fact that we all approach our reviews in different ways. Hopefully these girls will share in the comments their point of view on this topic.

What about you? If you are a book blogger, why do you review? What do you look for in reviews you read from other book blogs?