Thursday, January 29, 2009

How to be a reviewer

The art of reviewing - books or movies or music - is truly an art that is completely ignored in India.  Read the New York Review of Books or the reviews in Atlantic or the New Yorker, for instance, to see what good reviews look like. A recent example is:

While the review is about the Twilight series of books, it does not restrict itself to just talking about the book or recounting the story...the reviewer puts a lot of herself into the review - how she loved books as a teenager, what books mean to her and other teenage girls and how the Twilight books are helping teenage girls to deal with their difficult teenage years.  It, thus, gives a broader context to the book while elucidating how the author herself reacted to the book and the series.

A review can be objective and factual and stick to the book/movie/music being reviewed or try to be broader and give a historical and social context.  It can be impersonal or be extremely personal (and give up any false illusion about being objective/scientific) and reflect the reviewer's life history, likes and dislikes and reaction to the book/movie/music being reviewed

I am trying to learn how to do reviews in the broader way and see if I can write good, if not great, reviews.  A small first step is to write brief reviews online, to get started.

There is no reason why we can't have good reviews in India. 


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