Length of Review

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Length of Review

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huhtikuu 4, 2008, 3:01pm

Do you have a tendency to write short or long reviews? Also, which do you prefer when reading them?

Personally, I prefer to read fairly short reviews, that give me a good overview, without giving too much away.. so that's what I tend to write too.

huhtikuu 8, 2008, 5:16am

I try to write at least 600 words ... which puts it in the typical size for a newspaper column ... but have gone as short as 350 or so and as long as 1200+ words.


huhtikuu 8, 2008, 9:28pm

I like to read shorter reviews, too (about a paragraph or two), though I have written several longer ones. Basically, what I want out of a review is:
1) An opinion, and
2) What prompted that opinion, in more than a word or phrase -- but in less than another book

I tend to be of the opinion that a book review doesn't have to be a masterpiece of literary criticism. It just has to tell me enough to get a sense of what I'm (possibly) getting into.

huhtikuu 8, 2008, 9:50pm

Perhaps this is obnoxious of me, but I tend to write long reviews. I want my reviews to contain analysis, as much as possible - perhaps a holdover from grad school days of writing lit reviews and papers about novels. I want to be able to go back and read my reviews and know the specific details of what I liked and didn't like about a book. I hope others enjoy them, but in the end - even though they are public - I feel like they are more for me than for others. Still, I do try to make them comprehensible to other people.

huhtikuu 8, 2008, 10:06pm

I reckon you have to write a few paragraphs. "I liked it" doesn't tell anyone anything. You need some space to explain and justify yourself.

huhtikuu 8, 2008, 10:48pm

You need some space, but more than a two or three paragraphs can be a little much for most books. As far as I'm concerned, more than that should go in a blog post (which can be linked to in your review with a "For more see..." and some HTML).

huhtikuu 19, 2008, 6:02pm

I like to read short reviews (if they're online), so I write short reviews. I have learned that if you write short posts (if you review in blogs as I do), people will read several posts if they enjoyed the first. But a long review gets them moving off the site too quickly.

When I read reviews in newspapers, magazines, etc., I enjoy something more wordy.

kesäkuu 4, 2008, 4:30pm

I agree with the short review preference. Just want to get a quick idea what it is all about and if it is any good.

kesäkuu 4, 2008, 4:54pm

More to the point, it won't tell you anything when you go back to the book a year later and can't remember what you liked about it.

I write long reviews; 600+ and often 1000+ words. But they are always published elsewhere, and I keep them in LT for my own archival purposes.

elokuu 16, 2008, 12:09pm

There has to be something to get your teeth into, but not too much that will send you to sleep. My word count varies from 70 to 540, with a mean of 230 and a median of 216. I like to read two or three paragraphs, with something about the story or contents, and something about your reaction.

elokuu 16, 2008, 12:18pm

>10 Noisy: ditto that! Mine are about the same length although I do occasionally do longer and short ones.

Some people don't like the ones where you talk about the book, but I have to put it in. The review really wouldn't mean much to me if it can't remind me what the book was about. I've been reading so many books since joining LT that the majority blend together. I do try to avoid anything that would be considered too spoilerific.

syyskuu 18, 2008, 4:22pm

brevity or exponential elongation: neither matters. What matters is the book is put out there so the potential reader can "know what he is getting into," as one wag above so aptly put it.

Try this differentiation:

Review #1. "Moby Dick" is about the enmity between (a possibly mad) Captain Ahab and this big white whale.

Review #2. Herman Melville's classic "Moby Dick" is much, much more than the long struggle for dominence between the Pequod captain, Ahab, and Moby Dick, the great white whale.

Literarily, the book broke the novelic formulae by maintaining the integrity of the protagonist, Ishmael. He is the same at the end of the book as he is at the beginning -- floating alone in the sea of life.

Thematically, Melville must have a eschatogical reason for naming characters after the Old Testament figures. That modus operandi is what is dissected in the graduate schools of English Literature around the world.

Whether the "dark visage" of Ahab means he is evil, and the albino whiteness of the white whale makes him "good" is analyzed infinitum by grad students, but what is not noticed very often is the sociological impact of the book.

That impact is the bringing together several cultures and some new ideas in the social fabric of relationships. Is it not scandulous for Melville's time to have a white Christian sleeping with a colored savage like Queequeg?

Unless the reader wishes to embrace cetalogical knowledge, he is encouraged to skip the chapter on the cultural biopsy, if you will, of the whale. Other than having a content of constant over-zealous descriptions and a lack of editorial parity, the book is a must for all litarary readers.

Both the above are "reviews." Which one would you like to read?

syyskuu 18, 2008, 6:37pm

I like a review that touches on what the book is about and I'd also like to know how the review writer felt about the book. Did they think it was over dramatic? Did it make them want to go sailing? Did it bore them to tears? That kind of thing. I do understand that it is the opinion of the review writer that the book could have (and maybe should have) been shorter, less descriptive or better edited, but it is written in a way that is kind of imposing and not very clear cut.

I guess I'm way more simple minded than the person who would be writing or reading review #2. The trivia is kind of nice, like the part about the names but basically this would be a review for your more "literary mind" type, not your average Joe Schmoe such as myself.

I guess reviewers should also keep in mind who their audience will be. If you're reviewing for a college journal how you want your review to read would be much different than reviewing for a romance novel blog.

syyskuu 18, 2008, 9:00pm

Re. #13: "I'd also like to know how the review writer felt about the book"

I am often guilty of writing reviews that deal more with how the book bounced off my previous reading and opinions than strictly speaking picking apart the book itself.

This is why I rarely post my reviews to Amazon, as the "me chatting about something I just read" format works fine for my blog (where I can expect to have at least some segment of "regular readers"), it would seem a bit odd in a context like Amazon.


lokakuu 1, 2008, 4:57pm

I also like the short to medium length reviews, I like them to have a little of a synopsis of the book and then their opinion of the book. Too much of either and I don't get past the first couple of sentences. But, I also don't like it when the synopsis get too much of a spoiler feel to it. Most synopsis' (IMO) should be written about the first half of the book only, that gives enough of an idea to me so I know if it is something I would be interested in but doesn't finish the story too much.

I typically don't read other peoples reviews till after I have written mine that way I am not influenced by what they had to say. Good or bad, the reviews I write are mostly for me but I would like to inspire others to read books that I have greatly enjoyed, especially if it is the genre that they enjoy.

lokakuu 1, 2008, 6:01pm

Here is one reviewer who writes very short reviews. Specifically, this user has posted 350 reviews, all in haiku! Based on the titles we share, s/he is very skilled at capturing the essence of a book in this short form.

lokakuu 1, 2008, 7:19pm

Amazing reviews.

Who would have thought of haiku?

Such a joy to read!

helmikuu 14, 2009, 2:25am

A normal review for me is about 600 words, though my reviews on LT are shorter -- couple paragraphs, three at the most. If I write something longer than that (which is the norm for me), it's either at my review blog or at Blogcritics Magazine. Seems like shorter reviews are better for a forum like this, while more involved reviews are for dedicated sites.

I would think it would also depend on the book. I always try to give a basic plot outline (with no spoilers) in the review, but there are some books where that's not necessary.

toukokuu 15, 2009, 7:53pm

I'm more of a blurber in many ways when it comes to reviews than a full on review writer. I'll write a longer piece on occasion, but most are short off the cuff reactions.

maaliskuu 24, 2010, 4:07pm

My reviews vary depending on the length of the book and how the book impacted me. I have never counted the exact numbers of my reviews. I try to write a few paragraphs for my reviews.

Personally when I read a review I don't care for the extremely long reviews. A review should be something I can read in a few minutes.

maaliskuu 25, 2010, 12:39pm

Just in case one is wondering about what one's word count is (and aren't using a wordprocessor that would give you a figure), there's this handy site: http://www.wordcounttool.com/ ... you just cut-and-paste in your text and it tells you how many words you're up to. I find it very useful when composing into a text box on the web!


maaliskuu 7, 2014, 6:19pm

Anyone happen to know the maximum word count for a review on LT? Thought I might found on this LT wiki page, but no luck there: http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/Review

maaliskuu 7, 2014, 6:36pm

>16 oregonobsessionz:....I thank you for mentioning this reviewer!
Wish I had the same skill.

(I do not like reviews that detail the plot.)