June 22, 2011: The Secret to Successful Book Reviews

PAGES READ Thursday to Wednesday: 87
CURRENTLY READING: Life by Keith Richards and The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan
-3,114 PAGES

So it seems that nearly everyone except me is willing to abandon a book they’re not enjoying. My sister recently pointed me to a blog post on the subject in which the author, Andrew M. Brown, firmly espouses the view that life is too short to waste on a book you’re not enjoying. Brown in turn directs his readers toward the French academic Pierre Bayard and his seminal work How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read in order to illustrate the point that not only should you not finish a book you’re not enjoying, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from forming and even vocalizing an opinion about the work. Bayard’s tips for reviewing a book you haven’t read: Put the book in front of you, close your eyes and try to perceive what may interest you about it. Then write about yourself.

This changes everything, doesn’t it? Should I launch a series of wholly uninformed but no less opinionated book reviews. Maybe I’ll start with Bayard’s book. Stay tuned.

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