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believe it or not, I do occasionally think about post length.

I admire my professors who worked to whittle my words down to 500-or-less, 300-or-less, a paragraph. Diction becomes more of an issue, concisely stated sentences, and attention-span. The thrust of a short well-crafted shot can be effective.

I have luxuriated in the abandonment of slaving over Response Papers and Journal Entries. Thank you for indulging me.

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I doubt that I will go far in shortening my “reviews” for a while, but I am considering ways in which I might.

a—workable definition of Review.

b—if I went completely, dependably, spoiler-free. maybe.

c—monitor the word count; which means publish at least a 3rd draft.

d—I could have Notes and Reviews leaving Notes to the meatier reads, or ones ubiquitously well-reviewed elsewhere.

e—apply a defined structure to a Review Format. Some blogs do this rather nicely. I always know which parts to skip aren’t applicable to me.

f—what assumptions can I make about my audience (who I’ve felt, until more recently, was only myself, the husband, and a personal friend or two).

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I am of two minds about Book Reviews. Jekyll: I like the two-to-three paragraph summary of the plot, one paragraph commentary on the characters/themes, and concluding paragraph on personal response. Hyde: I dislike the summarizations, the singular paragraph on the writing, and the oft tepid and recyclable reactions that in the end come off as obligatory.

I follow many excellent book blogs. They vary in style and genre and intent. In most all cases, I couldn’t do a Review better. A post on a book I’ve read could easily be  a list of links with an accompanying sentence each pointing out a particular aspect that caught my attention.

With so many excellent options and bloggers who’ve the greater ability to create synopses, I feel I should find another form.  I am contemplating what sort of lovechild my Notes and Reviews might create.

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I am ever evaluating my intent, my motive.

omphaloskepsis. navel-gazing. preoccupation with self-interests (?).  I am reading and writing (and watching), and writing about what I am reading (and now watching).

This blog is primarily a matter of self interest. It is a place to collect my thoughts on the books I am reading. A place to work on coherence and articulation; which is a work in progress.

Yet. I am conscientious of conversing with someone other than myself—at the very least provoking thought–possibly boring, annoying, or amusing.  Admittedly, I would like to put great books into readers’ hands.

More than finding  a niche, I’m looking for a toe-hold.  Insecurity of voice—could I be more cliché?

My amusement is taking on an edge of seriousness. When I write about a book, I am not intentionally careless. Critical reading and (re)viewing does not equate with carelessness or insensitivity. I Love Books and Writers. The belated edge of seriousness to which I refer has to do with taking my skill/my self seriously on this blog.

I realize that my thinking I am not serious enough may not come across to many, as I often seem entirely too serious. More specifically I suppose I am referring to my lack of discipline. While I concede that I may have created a voice on omphaloskepsis, I am hardly anticipatory in other ways.

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Such are the things I have been thinking about; spurred of late by a few of the Writing jobs I have found listed.

The post on Marcelo in the Real World is coming. (I stepped away from the notes a few days and then my mind has been elsewhere.) I really want to share that read.

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Yesterday, Sean had a great post on this couple he admires who sold everything and took to the road on the bicycles touring the U.S. and its bike culture. Check it out.

Also, remember that Carl V. has the Sci Fi Experience going on. Check out the links to the various posts collected from around the blogosphere and add your own. Sean and I made a list of films to watch last night, after which we viewed Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element (1997). I plan to read some Sci Fi, too. I spent some of the afternoon into evening flipping through Cinema Studies textbooks/guides for references/sections on Science Fiction in Film, hope to incorporate some of those findings into the Film Responses.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Interesting. Very interesting. Personally, I don’t care how long a review is if it’s of a book I’m somewhat curious about. The real challenge is what makes me curious about a book? Title? Author’s name? Cover art? Interesting premise? Hype? There are too many things and they’re variable.

    Still, seeing how other people review a book is one of the joys of book-blogging, and if they were all alike, I think I’d stop.

    Nice title, by the way. Word count?

    1. L says:

      I do acknowledge that the length of a post doesn’t necessarily translate as entertaining or dull…

      if I were desiring to lure a reader into reading about a book that I am reviewing, knowing that there are all of these variables, what successful hook might I use. I’ve heard the 1st sentence argument, which is still knowing your audience. The more genre/age specific book blogs must have an easier time of it.
      Overall, it must be that there is something interesting about the blogger themselves, some connection made. And/Or that they read consistently interesting things?…because you are right, there are all kinds, and I, too, am glad there are.

      what about clever titles as possibly peaking curiosity?… haha, I knew you would figure it right, Logan. It was the word count.

  2. ibeeeg says:

    First off, I like your style of reviewing; it is different. Length of reviews? I have heard the whole 3 paragraph thing, and I have tried, and I have failed. Concise, I am not. Some books lend themselves to lengthy reviews while others not so much even when I really like said book. Anyway, the point truly is…write your reviews the way you are led to write them, and not necessarily for what you think others want to see in regards to length and all that. I think if you continue to write with your passion then it speaks better to the reader vs a formula. Word count? seriously…nope. I do have a format to my reviews mostly to help me stayed focus, and to have some common things that I want to track for myself.

    By the way, how do *you* define a review?

    1. L says:

      You encourage me, thank you.

      I like that you use different formats for different things; and I can appreciate the structural support completely.

      Word count has me thinking because of the work potential for sites/journals/zines and what-not…. and for the occasional self-inflicted challenge.

      as for the definition of a review… the subject of many a debate, especially when journalists worry over the encroachment of bloggers… I’ll let you know when I find a concise statement.

thoughts? would love to hear them...

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