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Book Review Philosophy

Soon after we started our book-reading projects, one of the things that really stood out to us both was the absolute rarity of what seemed to us to be true book reviews. So much of what’s out there gives it all away in the review, either outright spoiling events in the book or defining all of the elements in the book such that nothing is left to the imagination – or left for the reader to discover. If, in reading your review, I already know what’s going to happen in the book, why then would I read the book?

So we resolved to provide a better example ourselves, by writing the reviews we wished to see. That presented us with its own challenges. If we’re writing reviews that are free of spoilers, what do we call an analysis that DOES contain spoilers? After some googling (and a lot of reading) we decided on the term “critique”.

What is a Review?

To us, the most important question a Book Review should answer is “Should I read this book?” With that in mind, all reviews we write endeavor to answer that question for readers without giving anything meaningful away. A typical review will attempt to tackle related questions, such as “Did Byron enjoy this book” or “Who does Ardis think this book would appeal to most”. You can expect a review to give you a sense of the book’s genre, style, as well as the author’s voice, all the while staying intentionally away from spoiler territory.

What is a Critique?

You can safely assume that any Critique will be chock-full of spoilers. Don’t read one of our Critiques unless you have already read the book, because when it comes to Critiques nothing will be spared. To our minds, a Critique is an in-depth analysis of the book and everything is fair game.