I was recently invited to write a guest review for Pattinase’s blog feature ‘Friday’s Forgotten Books’. I selected John Fowles’s 1963 debut novel The Collector. If you’ve never read this novel, it really is a forgotten classic–maybe even a forerunner of the psycho-thriller genre– but often overshadowed by Fowles’s later novel ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’.
One of my favorite aspects of book blogging is writing book reviews. Maybe it speaks to my background as an educator–constantly evaluating and analyzing. Whatever it is, I love to write reviews and with the advent of the internet have gone beyond reviewing solely books. In addition to posting my reviews here, I also submit them to Amazon.com.
Last year I joined Trip Advisor (nat-n-ant) and have since published a few reviews of the hundreds of places we’ve traveled to during our annual summer road trips. Though Trip Advisor has been recently criticized for review integrity, I love the site and have found many wonderful places to visit and restaurants to try that I might have otherwise missed. I have notes on so many great places (pictures, too!) and fully intend to post more reviews when I have some free time.
I also write short book reviews and recommendations for my local library. Brevity is the key to those mini-reviews–written on an index card–something that can be elusive to a chatterbox such as myself! I love suggesting great books to other people and recently got some great feedback from a teen volunteer who read Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty at my recommendation. She told me that she loved the book and read the remaining books in the series to find out what happened to the characters.
At restaurants, I always fill out comment cards complimenting on the good and noting the not-so-good. When given constructively, feedback is a valuable tool for any company that deals with the public.
So, how about you? Are you a reviewer of books or other things on sites beyond your blog? Do you write for Yelp! or some of the others that offer public opinion?
Second in a series, The Plight of the Darcy Brothers finds Fitzwilliam Darcy making hasty travel plans to the Continent to save yet another Bennet daughter from scandal.
It’s been an unintentionally (though enjoyable) Austen-esque summer here at Chez Book, Line, and Sinker. In addition to Altman’s terrific sequel, I’ve been (slowly!) working my way through the Spanish version of Pride and Prejudice and finished Prada and Prejudice, at the recommendation of another blogger.
part of my 'on the nightstand' stack
It seems that Jane Austen fans can be divided into roughly two camps: the purists and the rest of us. Austen purists may struggle with contemporary authors serializing Pride and Prejudice (or the other novels), but I think that if the author does his or her research and tells a solid story, these sequels can find success and have a place in the literary world. (Take my poll at the end of this review and tell me how you feel about serializing classics!)
Marsha Altman is one such author, creating a realistic continuation of Pride and Prejudice while seamlessly incorporating new characters without detracting from the original story. The Plight of the Darcy Brothers is the second installment in her continuing series and though I haven’t read the first book, had no difficulty following this story.
The novel follows Darcy and Elizabeth as they travel to the Continent, Italy specifically, in an effort to save the reputation of yet another Bennet sister. Along the way, Darcy comes to learn several shocking things about his father and the Darcy family. As they travel on, Darcy wrestles with internal conflict, trying to come to terms with what he’s discovered.
Altman’s skillful use of narration helps the reader understand what motivates each character. Told in the third-person omniscient, we can see into the minds of the majority of characters and it gives the story greater depth and authenticity. Austen herself also wrote in this narrative style.
Altman doesn’t skimp on details and fills readers in on all the characters from the original novel. The subplots keep the story moving and it’s a quick and entertaining read. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and have plans to read the first book shortly. Readers who can’t get enough of Pride and Prejudice should give Marsha Altman’s series a whirl.
Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks for this review copy!
Here at Book, Line, and Sinker, I make a valiant attempt to review four or five books each month. My review books come from a variety of sources and to help me keep on track, I started using a calendar. (So high-tech, right? Are you disappointed!?!)
Now don’t think for a red-hot minute that I’m using any of the electronic calendars available at my fingertips. Nope, it’s a good old fashioned Sharpie marker and paper calendar for this technical savant.
Yes, it’s true. This is an actual photograph of book review schedule for May and June 2009, complete with scribble-outs and various notes on a camera I wanted for my birthday.
My last post had something to do with guilt over TBRs and one blogger, SuziQ Oregon, amused me to no end with her comment about her TBR Spreadsheet. It sounds way more organized than my feeble attempt to keep things straight over here.
So, how do you keep your book reviews organized, or do you bother? If you commit to reviewing books for publishers, publicists, or authors, do you just jot it down on your hand or do you have a fancy spreadsheet? Spill the beans!