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My Year of Critical Thinking: Why I am going to review Australian books.
I have known for a long time that I’m not a book reviewer. My lack of formal education on the subject of books and reviewing was my first clue. Having never wanted to review books before, nor sought out Book Reviewing as a profession, I was almost convinced. It wasn’t until I realised I had no previous experience on the matter nor had I tried in any way to learn about book reviewing that I knew; I was / will never be a Book Reviewer.
But when has that ever stopped anyone from verbalising their opinions on things they know nothing about? The internet is a testament to the under skilled / under qualified making it big by saying it loud. All you really need these days is a debit card and a basic understanding of html. <sarcasm>Everyone deserves to have their say about everything</sarcasm>
This year I have decided that there is no way forward for me if not through the marsh like swamps of the book review world. I must start critically reading and thoughtfully reflecting on the books I consume. I must start seriously learning from those around me. I do it not for the glory, but for the expansion and mental exercise of my brain muscle.
I am burning through books at the moment, consuming them as quickly as I can before moving on; thinking that this would teach me something simply by osmosis (Ok so part of that is actually true, by reading a lot, I am getting much better)!
Everyone tells you, writers should read a lot. I have been reading, but I have not been reading critically. I want to actually think about books, and stories, and writing, and authors, and where books are placed within a writers’ life and career.
I want to really look at the vocabulary within a book, at what that book can teach me about stories and literature. How was that book received when it was first released? And how is it seen now?
How to Review a Book?
I really know nothing about book reviews. I love to read them, but have never really pulled them apart before either! (Ohhhh curse my sluggish-post-university-Netflix-saturated-mind!) The Book Pages are the first part of the paper I read. It is my favourite part of the paper on the weekend. I love adding new titles to the ‘must read’ note in my phone, now so long it spikes adrenaline within me just opening the tab.
How does one review a book? Do I have to spoil the ending? Do I have to tell you everything that happens? If so, how much information is too much? I don’t want to drop too many spoilers but what is a spoiler? Is telling you the book is crap the biggest spoiler of all? I have so much to learn.
I will do a little research and get back to you….
Here is what my reviews will look like…
I am going to review books from the perspective of an Emerging Writer, by pulling them apart the same way any Emerging Writer would (should). I am going to look at the whole book. I want to know what that book could teach an Emerging Writer. I am going to look at how that book fits with in the writer’s career and the story, if there is one, about how it was published.
THIS HOUSE OF GRIEF, by Helen Garner
THE LAKE HOUSE, by Kate Morton
THE WORLD WITHOUT US, by Mireille Juchau
RUSH OH! by Shirley Barrett
BURIAL RITES, by Hannah Kent
BREATH by Tim Winton
THE THORN BIRDS by Colleen McCullough
CLADE, by James Bradley
To have your Australian fiction novel REVIEWED, inquire here.