August 17, 2011

John Hodgman on Bookstores

Last night John Hodgman appeared on The Daily Show to discuss with Jon Stewart the End of Borders...and how brick and mortar bookstores might compete in the digital age with Amazon. Although I take exception to being called a snarky nerd (I left the snark at home when I worked at B&N), this is brilliantly funny.



Kathy said...

I discovered AAR because of you and really enjoyed your reviews of books over there. I always knew they would be fair and balanced, and your voice over there is very much missed by me.

I know this is completely off topic, but what can you suggest to someone like me who has read a lot of books but has a hard time putting my thoughts about books into some semi-formal format. There are many times I have wanted to submit "guest" reviews, but I just didn't because I don't know where to start.

What do you do in preparation for reviewing a book - aside from reading the book, of course. Do you make notes? Where do you begin?

It seems a little stupid to be so confused, because after all a review is just an opinion of a book with supporting documentation. But I'm tired of reading half-baked reviews full of snark and no substance, and I'm kind of playing around with the idea of starting a blog review of my own.

Laurie Gold said...

Kathy, I never used to take notes when reading a book for review, but in more recent years I have, particularly because page cites are required for my PW reviews. Prior to that I'd generally just bookmark certain pages.

I think the best way to begin is simply to write some sample reviews, at both ends of the grading spectrum, and see how you think they are. A good review, IMHO, should be honest, well-written, and entertaining. It's not the same as writing academically or for a technical or business audience, and if you do any of those kinds of writing, you need to be able to move into the entertainment mode. Take a look at reviews you like, analyze them to see why you like them, and use that to help critique what you've written.

Kathy said...

Thanks, Laurie. Good information and a good place to start.