Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Word on (My) Reviews

So, as of today, I will start reviewing here.

I don't know if anyone ever noticed this (probably not), but there aren't any actual reviews on this blog. I've recommended some and gushed over a fair amount of my favorites - but I've hesitated to review.


I don't like to be critical in a public place.

Especially when I don't know how the recipient of said criticism will receive that feedback.
Especially when nobody even asked for my opinion.

So, I made a little rule for myself, on this blog, so that I would just avoid the situation altogether: I just wouldn't review.

But I kept wanting to write about the books I just read - and not just as the last line in a Friday Five either.

Thus, as a compromise, each of my reviews must follow certain criteria.

Requirement: I can't know the author or have any sort of personal connection with them.


Well, if I told you blog readers how I knew the writer, you would think to yourself, Oh, she's just saying that, because the author is Shelby's agent-sister/Shelby's mom's best friend/that girl Shelby met at summer camp thirteen years ago. Her opinion is totally biased.

And you know, you wouldn't be wrong. Knowing the author does tend to influence my opinion of their book.

(This, however, does not mean that I won't gush over books of authors I know, and telling you all to buy them. I'm just not going to call it a "Review.")

Requirement: I must use the Best Versions of Themselves (B.V.O.T.) scale, which is as follows:
  • 1 out of 5 - The author of the book had no inkling of what kind of story their book wanted to tell.
  • 2 out of 5 - I liked bits of it, but the good stuff was marred by the frustratingly bad.
  • 3 out of 5 - A balance between the good and the bad, or maybe just a whole lot of mediocre.
  • 4 out of 5 - The author could've tweaked something major, but it still goes down on my list of Very Worthy Books.
  • 4.5 out of 5 - The author could have improved it a bit, but I can still love it to death, (minor) warts and all.
  • 5 out of 5 - The author perfectly told the best version of their story. I have no qualms about gushing to my heart's content.
For more info on the B.V.O.T. scale, go see this post.

The book must score a 4 or higher on the B.V.O.T. scale.


Because there's a limit to how much criticism I can dish out without feeling horribly guilty.

Requirement: I need to like the book.

This is not the same as it scoring well on B.V.O.T. scale. I have read plenty of perfectly written books that I just didn't connect with personally.

(But this one is easy, because I won't waste time reviewing a book unless I love it. :-P)

Which means:

a) They will be (mostly) positive, because I already love them.

b) There won't be THAT many.

Also, note: Everybody's taste is slightly different. You might want to take a look at my favorite books (listed here) to see if your taste is anything like mine.

Why am I telling you?

Because you're bound to notice sooner or later that I seem to give good reviews to EVERYTHING. Which will be true.

Now, you know the reason. :-)

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