Saturday, September 7, 2013

Meta interlude: why do reviews?

A fair whack of what I've written on this blog consists of reviews. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Reviews sharpen opinions - it's a way of working out how I think or feel about something. Or how I feel about something now, in the case of some very early posts about fantasy novels I used to treasure by Donaldson, Eddings and May.

  • Communicating my enthusiasms to others. I accept that I'm not anyone's primary source of information on, say, Iron Man 3, but the best recommendations come from friends, right? And I just might be someone's first encounter with Ulver or Spider Robinson, or provoke an equally enthusiastic response.

  • Making a broader point - sometimes a review spills over its boundaries and allows me to board a wider train of thought, like the wierd as an antidote to post-Tolkien cliche in fantasy, or the rugged modernism of metal music.
One final point: I very rarely write a wholly negative or take-down review. Life's too short to waste on reviewing bad product, unless its so mindbogglingly terrible it feels like a public duty or an act of personal cleansing (hello, Your Highness on both counts)

Edited to add: I read a lot more than I actually review, so I've just signed up to Good Reads to share my reviews there, rate books I read but don't review, and see if I can pick up some more recommendations for my fairly eclectic tastes.

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