Thursday, January 19, 2012

On reviewing

My first book review appeared on ERB this week. Here's an excerpt:
When I read a book, it’s as if I’m on a date. Some dates go well. We discover common ground, and the book and I stay together into the wee small hours of the morning. Other dates are like early scenes from a Hollywood romantic comedy, where the evening twists and turns and misunderstandings create distance.
Words to Eat By: Five Foods and the Culinary History of the English Language by Ina Lipkowitz made a great first impression. The book promised to explore our Jekyll and Hyde attitude about what is good to eat by examining the history of five types of food: fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, and bread. It would explore human history, church history, the Bible, linguistics and modern examples to make its case.
Based on all this, I said yes to the date. The introductory pages reinforced my decision. The author revealed herself as witty, a little self-depreciating, self-aware, knowledgeable about history, food, and the culture at large. Then we got into her thesis.
(You can read the rest here.)

Writing a review was harder than I thought. A friend of mine who has reviewed Bible software in the past put it well when he said that you have to show why you hold your opinions. That's what I tried to do in the review of Words to Eat By: share a digested experience (ahem), not just (double ahem) spew opinion.

For more of my book-related writing, please check out To Tame a Friend at Curator Magazine.

No comments:

Post a Comment