Tag: reviewing

Thoughts on Book Clubs

Posted June 27, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 6 Comments

I am not sure if you have noticed but I love books and I love talking about them to excess. I think my wife tends to get sick of my talking about books so I’m lucky to have a book blog where I can focus most of my bookish energy. If my book blog isn’t enough and I still need to talk about books, I often turn to social media. Also there is one other avenue that I use to satisfy my bookish obsessions and that is book clubs.

Now I have an addiction to the book clubs on Goodreads, I’m involved in a few of them but some how ended up being moderators for all of them. Most of them I started because I felt there was a gap in the wide range of Goodreads book clubs that needed to be filled. I would be happy if someone took over as moderator but I’m also happy to be a part of any Goodreads book club that is doing something unique. My primary focus on Goodreads is obviously the Literary Exploration book club, where we get a chance to read from different genres every month. This is the only book club I feel I have to read the book assigned every month.

However I’m also apart of a book club hosted by my local indie bookstore, I love the real life element of this book club. I know this may surprise people, the socially awkward introvert enjoying being out in public but I do all right if I talk about books. I like that the bookstore tends to pick books I don’t know about or had not thought about reading. As a literary explorer this book club has really pushed me into books out of my comfort zone. This has an added bonus; I love being the person that has a different opinion to everyone else. More often than not I’m the one that loves or hates a book while others think differently; I’m not always alone but I like that my opinion is different.

I enjoy hating a book almost as much as liking a book, I just love books and it doesn’t matter my opinion of the book. I find it freeing to write negative reviews and talking about what is wrong with a book. Almost to a point where the idea of a bitchy book club was talked about on social media, a place were people talk about the flaws of a book rather than what they liked about the book. This idea never took off; I doubt there are many people interested in this approach to a book club but I think it would of being fun.

There are negatives about book clubs as well but nothing to dramatic. I personally would love to see more critical thought put into a book when it comes to book clubs. Goodreads book clubs tend to be very basic and there is never any in depth analysis to the books being read. I would love to find a book club that explores literature in great detail; I am still trying to learn how to read critically and I think a place that can help develop these skills would do me a world of good. I have ideas for a club like this but I lack the skills, I’m a novice and I think that makes me wrong for the job.

I digress and need to get back on topic; I use book clubs as an avenue to feed my bookish obsessions but also to help develop my skills. I mentioned that I’m a socially awkward introvert and going to a book club that meets in real life has helped me communicate my bookish love. When I first started I was quiet and didn’t say much but the more I go, the better I have become at talking about books, expressing my opinions about the books. This has been a huge help, not only socially but I think it has had a positive effect on blogging too. I can talk about books with ease online but this book club has helped me develop different ways at looking at a book. I think other people’s opinions on books can be an asset in developing your own skills.

Now I want to ask the readers about book clubs, do they go to a book club, what works and doesn’t work, and anything else you wish to say on the topic. I am particularly interested in ways to find develop my critical reading skills, I know practise makes perfect but I would love to find a way that both nurtures and pushes me. Goodreads doesn’t seem to have that, or I haven’t found it there, so I wrote this post as a way to ask the question and talk about book clubs in general.

ArmchairBEA 2013: Ethics & Non-Fiction

Posted May 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 26 Comments

armchairBEANow this is a hard topic, firstly I’m not sure if I know enough about the book blogger code of ethics (there should be one set in stone or in hardback at least) and I often struggle with reading and reviewing non-fiction. First of all, ethics; I don’t think I’ve experienced much to do with plagiarism but I think it is important to always give credit where credit is due. I like to tag my posts make it clear if I’m reviewing an ARC, just so people know that the book has been given to me for free. I think it is important to be transparent with our blogging so we can be viewed as an honest and trustworthy blog. I have had some positive and negative experiences with authors and my reviews; I think it is important to have bad reviews so people know what we like and what we hate. Now I try to be critical and constructive in my reviews but authors still take offence. There is nothing against the author, you don’t have to unfollow me on twitter and most of the time I’m willing to try another of your books. But if it doesn’t work for me, I want to write why, I never want it to feel like a personal attack; authors just have to accept that not everyone is going to like their books. I hope I didn’t get too sidetracked but I think we have an obligation to write negative reviews as well as positive.  I want to start being more vicious with my reading and abandoning books so I don’t waste to much time on the books I’m not enjoying but I also want to document my reading journey here as well so I’m looking for ways to implement abandoned books into this blog so people get a full picture of what is happening in my reading.

Ok, when it comes to Non-Fiction, I struggle to get into most books and I’m really trying. I want to learn more and I’ve been reading some books about the Romantics lately, but how do you review them? With fiction it’s easy to breakdown a book and say what you like and dislike but when it comes to non-fiction how do you give an overview of the book without sounding like Wikipedia? I’m sure you can talk about what works and doesn’t work in that non-fiction book but only to a limited extent, these are real events you can’t really say “here is why the holocaust didn’t work for me”. I want to open up this post to both ethics but more importantly to Non-Fiction.

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Banner by Nina of Nina Reads and button by Sarah of Puss Reboots