Reviews. How hard can they be? Quite difficult, actually, which is why I do my own version of the things, carefully avoiding a lot of intelligent musings on a variety of literary stuff. In short, I don’t know how, so I cheat. But I do know not to just list the plot, step by step, or to tell the end in detail.
I never did get round to reading the Striped Pyjamas, because I hated being told the ending in the Guardian review. Didn’t even see it coming. These days I squint carefully at a review if the book is still waiting to be read hereabouts. In fact, I was a little annoyed at being told too much about Running Wild a few weeks ago, too.
The Guardian review of Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals seemed to be only a list of what happens. Couldn’t work out if the reviewer even liked it. I wonder what people get paid for that kind of thing? I could easily summarise novels in 600 words for payment. I’ll even throw in 100 words of opinion if required.
The other question can be what to review. I was very pleased to see that the Halloween issue of the Guardian covered two of my selected Halloween books. Generally we don’t seem to attach importance to the same books.
What length? The Guardian does a crime column with about four crime novels very briefly reviewed. Barbara from Scandinavian Crime Fiction recently felt that that was just too brief. But better than not at all, I feel.
Crime and children’s books; always forgotten or ignored. Except here, naturally.