Once a month I write a review column for Meridian magazine www.ldsmag.com and my June column is posted today. I only review new LDS fiction . I have a lot of fun with this, but it's more than fun. I think it's important for the reading public to know something about the new books published each month in the LDS market. Most readers have a limited amount of money to spend on books and a limited amount of time to read them, so if they know a favorite author has a new book out or have a chance to catch a glimpse of the contents of a story, there's a better chance they'll spend their time and money profitably.
I asked column readers last year what specific things they'd like to see in reviews and many said they wanted a warning of poor copy editing, so I try to mention the error rate in books where the errors missed by the copy editor distract from the story. Most also said they wanted to know who the target audience is for books so I mention that too.
Often readers who have already read a book I review agree with my views, but sometimes they don't. Either way many people would like to comment on a book or on my review of it. There's a place on Meridian to submit a letter to the editor, but anyone who would like to discuss a book or my review is welcome to do so here. I'm always open to suggestions for improving my column as well.
You've heard the saying "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." That's generally good advice, but isn't too helpful in writing a review. First of all it doesn't generate any interest in reading reviews and a critic who only raves about the good things in a novel isn't taken seriously. Criticism accomplishes several positive goals. It causes the reader to think about, evaluate and discuss the book, it helps the writer to improve his/her craft, it gives fair warning to buyers that the book may not suit their tastes, and it gives greater credibility to the positive points of the book.
You can read today's reviews at www.ldsmag.com or you can read both current and back reviews on my web page www.jennielhansen.com