The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing by Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards. Kingsport, TN.: Twilight Times Books, 2008. 180 pp. ISBN: 978-1933353227
Why should a reader write book reviews? What is the difference between a book review and a book report? How to write a book review? Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards answer these questions and other questions in their book, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing. This is a much needed book for beginners and for those who have some experience writing book reviews. The authors are published authors and reviewers.
The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is divided into three parts: "The Art of Book Reviewing," "The Influence of Book Reviewing," and "Resources." The bulk of the book is part one which covers "The Art of Book Reviewing." Some of the things covered in this part are "The Five keys to being a good reviewer." These five keys are a good command of English, "clarity of thought," "honesty," "objectivity," and knowing how to say something appropriately. The authors note multiple times, "honesty is what defines a reviewer's trade" (14). The authors argues that the reviewer owes an obligation to the reader to be honest about the value of the book.
Calvani and Edwards provide instruction on the basic ingredients to a good review: a hook, summary, and an evaluation. They also distinguish between a book review and a book report. A book report is just a summary of a book. A book review includes an evaluation of the book.
The Slippery Art of the Book Review is helpful because it provides examples of both good book reviews and poor book reviews. The authors also distinguish between blogs, reader reviews, and professional reviews. The authors observe that some have been critical of blogger reviews because of these reviews being overly positive.
The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is a good guide for writing reviews. It gives excellent advice about how to get started writing reviews. It provides resources where book reviews can be published. This is a nuts and bolts kind of book on book reviewing. It is recommended to all readers who are interested in writing book reviews.