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Introduction to My Book Reviews


     Well, The Paper Critic here (or Ryan if you want to go by my real name), and I would like to first thank you for taking the time to at least stop by and read. I am starting this Blog as a critic and well frankly trying to do a few book reviews of a few books that I’ve read and in the process of reading.

     The types of books will change from time to time. I tend to enjoy the variety of Young Adult, a few romance, dystopian, etc. novels, but most of what I look to read comes from other suggestions and ideas of what I’m remotely interested in. The books generally should have some familiarity, because really I’m one person, I have a general set of tastes in a book that I enjoy and well, I don’t think that’ll change till I’m a bit older.

     Anyways, it’s probably best to show how I will rate each book and explain how I am going to conduct it. I will be unbiased, and treat each book as its own individual; even if it is part of a series. Because many of the books I read are in fact part of a series, I will as well try to give a best expectation if I think the next book will be worth reading and how anticipated I am in picking up the following one as well.

     There will be a set of five categories that I will rate on a scale of zero through two. I will allow myself to do halves; ie: 0.5, 1.5, 2.5. At the beginning of the section I will do an overview with the total accumulated score (10) and then break the book down in the five categories; Character Development, Theme, Plot, Style, and Environment. The basics of these categories are best described by a Los Angeles Valley College who use this format for review books and frankly I fell in love with it. Their rubrics look something like:

1.       From what sources are the characters drawn?
2.       What is the author's attitude toward his characters?
3.       Are the characters flat or three-dimensional?
4.       Does character development occur?
5.       Is character delineation direct or indirect?
1.       What is/are the major theme(s)?
2.       How are they revealed and developed?
3.       Is the theme traditional and familiar, or new and original?
4.       Is the theme didactic, psychological, social, entertaining, escapist, etc. in purpose or intent?

1.       How are the various elements of plot (eg, introduction, suspense, climax, conclusion) handled?
2.       What is the relationship of plot to character delineation?
3.       To what extent, and how, is accident employed as a complicating and/or resolving force?
4.       What are the elements of mystery and suspense?
5.       What other devices of plot complication and resolution are employed?
6.       Is there a sub-plot and how is it related to the main plot?
7.       Is the plot primary or secondary to some of the other essential elements of the story (character, setting, style, etc.)?
1.       What are the "intellectual qualities" of the writing (e.g., simplicity, clarity)?
2.       What are the "emotional qualities" of the writing (e.g., humor, wit, satire)?
3.       What are the "aesthetic qualities" of the writing (e.g., harmony, rhythm)?
4.       What stylistic devices are employed (e.g., symbolism, motifs, parody, allegory)?
5.       How effective is dialogue?
1.       What is the setting and does it play a significant role in the work?
2.       Is a sense of atmosphere evoked, and how?
3.       What scenic effects are used and how important and effective are they?
4.       Does the setting influence or impinge on the characters and/or plot?

     I enjoy their setup and how they suggest books should be reviewed. I will adhere and try to answer many of their questions and delve deep into the book and give an honest, opinionated response and review. I don’t want to sway you to read or not read the book, but at the same time I don’t want to give you a fluffy useless response that you more than likely won’t use or have stick in your mind. I want to help, but not make the choice for you.

     As well, I don’t want to make getting a ten star rating easy. In fact, I would greatly appreciate it if only 1% of all the books I review to get that rating. I want to strive to be a good critic, but not someone that will throw ratings and stars around like they are candy. Granted as I am typing this now I know of one book that will more than likely rise to that occasion, and NO it’s not The Hunger Games…

     Either way I’ll be working on the first book soon, I hope you all stay attentive and find my review and interpretation of the paper and books I read, rather useful. Thank you again!
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