Thursday, November 30, 2006

Reading and Reviewing

Ask a librarian what they like to do and most often you will hear the word “read.” I cannot imagine a librarian who doesn’t like reading. What they like to read may and will differ. Some like to read fiction and others like non-fiction. Then there are genres or subjects to choose from. Many like me will read from all genres just to keep up-to-date.

I like reading non-fiction and just finished LONDONISTAN by Melanie Phillips. Being a first generation immigrant myself this was a scary book to read. But I am not writing about politics so I won’t go into any details about this book. It is probably this love of reading that helps librarians in their day–to-day job. They know of books, read some of them (of course the perception is that they have read every book in the building), order them for their library and will easily put together a book list for readers. There will be help from Novelist too.

Reviewing a book is a different area altogether. I have, so far, reviewed two good books. The first was a young adult fiction and the second was young adult non-fiction – a biography at that. I am reading the third one right now. In my experience, reviewing a fiction is not as hard as reviewing a non-fiction. One likes the style of fiction or doesn’t, one finds it believable or doesn’t. Characters are real or aren’t. The research that has gone into the book is also something to consider while reviewing books. If the book is set in Victorian Era and the kids are talking about Jimmy Neutron, then something is wrong here.

While reviewing the biography I read the book and then read biographies written by other authors. I will admit I don’t read every book (that I read for reference) cover to cover. I would highlight important dates and events, just to ensure that all stated facts in a biography are correct. But since it is a young adult book the author might have decided to keep it short and sweet. How many young adults want to read a 500 page biography? Besides, if they are doing any homework on this person they would have to read more than one book anyway.

So my point is? Obviously I enjoy reading and reviewing books. If you like reading, why not review a book too? It makes you read the book more thoroughly – concentrating on the plot, character development and in case of a biography historically important events, dates and real-life personalities. And your review helps others decide whether or not they want to read this book. And you have one more thing to add to your resume.

Make reading enjoyable.