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    ALL BOOK REVIEWS

    1 July, 2013

    WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO I HAVE FOR DOING BOOK REVIEWS?

    Gulp! None. Well, almost none.

    Goodreads site has some twenty million members, and most of them either write reviews or rate books. They don't have to have any qualifications to write reviews. And you soon notice there is a wide divergence in what the reviewers think of the same book.

    A properly qualified reviewer might be an editor, a professor of literature, an author, or a literary agent. Such a person might see more in a book than the average reader. Where we see a description they might see iambic pentameter. Unfortunately, a profound deep analysis with extravagant praise does not mean that the "average reader" will enjoy the book.

    To make matters worse, such a professional reviewer would probably not review quite a few genres of books — particularly those deemed "trashy", that is: Romance, Western, Detective, Erotic, and perhaps SF, even though zillions of people read them.

    My meagre qualifications are that I have similar appreciation of books as the "average reader" rather than a professor of literature. Of course there is no "average reader" — every reader is unique and brings their own experiences to the interpretation and enjoyment of the book.

    My opinion is simply my opinion, and many might disagree. I have had the pleasure of reading over 1,000 books during my lifetime. I have also written some books, and on occasion been paid for writing. Everyone has the same right as I do to review books, to say what they enjoyed, what they disliked, what they did not understand.

    Reviewing or even commenting on books takes some time and energy— for a start it is a big help if you have actually read the book! So I am reviewing books for you, books you might want or not want to read. A reviewer can give you an inkling of whether it might appeal to you or not. It could save you reading a book you don't like. Yes, I have done that plenty of times. I usually try to plow on to the end, regardless, hoping that it might take a turn for the better.

    It's best not to take reviews too seriously. I just started to read a book that was given 5 stars (the highest rating) by almost everyone on Goodreads who read it, that's pretty unusual. One person gave it one star, the lowest rating. So I started reading it with high hopes, but after 10 pages, I am with the one star reviewer. That's the way it goes. As long as the reviewers are honest an unbiased, I am happy with a review.

    Marcus Clark