Monday, November 3, 2008

Blog guidelines

- Use the book name and author as the title of your post.
- Start with a short summary of the book - don't give away the ending!
- Why did you choose to read this book? Is it an old favourite or a new discovery?
- Did you love it or hate it? Give it a star rating, 1 to 5.
1= not good, 5=outstanding.

Information to consider including in your review and get you thinking:

- How does the title relate to the book?
- A favourite quote from the book.
- Did it stay with you long after you'd finished or make you think about the topic in a new way?
- Analyse the themes of the book. What are the the important themes of a book and consider what premise the author started with. What themes - motherhood, self-discovery, wilderness, etc. - recur throughout the book? How does the author use these themes? Do they work?
- Get to know the characters. Think of them as you do the people around you. Think about their faults and their motives. What would it be like to interact with them? Is the tone and style of their dialogue authentic? How believable are the characters? Which character do you identify with? Is it possible to identify with any of these characters? Is the protagonist sympathetic or unsympathetic? Why?
- Notice the structure of the book. Sometimes an author uses the structure of the book to illustrate an important concept or to create a mood. Notice how the author structured the book.
- Are chapters prefaced by quotes? If so, how do they apply to the content of the chapters?
- How many narrators tell the story? Who are they?
- How does the sequence of events unfold to create the mood of the story? Is it written in flashbacks? Does the order the author chose make sense to you?
- Make comparisons to other books and authors. Compare the book to others by the same author, or to books by other authors that have a similar theme or style. Often, themes run through an author's works that are more fully realized by comparison. Comparing one author's work with another's can help you solidify your opinions, as well as define for you qualities you may otherwise miss.
- What types of symbolism are in this novel? What do these objects really represent? How do characters react to and with these symbolic objects?Think about the broader social issues that this book is trying to address. For example, what does the author think about anarchy versus capitalism as a means of life? How is a particular culture or subculture portrayed? Favourably? Unfavourably?
- How does the arrangement of the book help or detract from the ideas in the novel? Does the arrangement contribute to themes or symbols? How is the book structured? Flashbacks? From one or multiple points of view? Why do you think the author chose to write the book this way?
- Does this book fit into or fight against a literary genre? How does the author use [science fiction, humor, tragedy, romance] to effect in the novel? Does this book typify a regional (southern, western) novel? How?
- How does this book relate to other books you have read?
- Would this book make a good movie? Is there a film adaptation of this book? How does the film compare to the book? What is brought out or played down in the film version?
- Is the setting of the book important to the theme? Why? How realistic is the setting?
- What did the author attempt to do in the book? Was it successful? What is the author's worldview?
- Were the plot and subplots believable? Were they interesting? What loose ends, if any, did the author leave?
- What is the great strength - or most noticeable weakness - of the book?
- Don't be afraid to criticize a book but try to get beyond the 'I just didn't like it' statement. What was it about the book that made it unappealing? The style? The pacing? The characters? Has the author written other books that you liked better? Did it remind you of another book that you liked or disliked?

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