Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book Reviewing Policies

People are writing in more and more often, asking if I'd be willing to read and review their books. I'm not at all averse to doing that. If you are considering sending me a book for review, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Send your proposal to clarissasblog@hotmail.com. Don't forget to mention your book's title, genre, and page length. Also, provide a brief summary.

2. I reserve the right to express my honest opinion about the book. If I don't like it, the review will reflect that.

3. Hard copies of books are preferred. I read too much off a computer screen as it is, and it hurts my eyes. Of course, if the book sounds really interesting, I'll accept it anyway in the .pdf format.

4. Don't send any books until I explicitly agree to review them.

5. I will not review any of the following:

* romance novels;
* anything to do with zombies or vampires;
* fantasy;
* sci-fi;
* books on mafia and organized crime;
* books where the main character is the President of the US;
* books that contain more than one car chase;
* books where martial arts are important;
* books about the CIA;
* books where somebody is dying of cancer for over 15% of the entire length of the book.

No offense, people, I just don't get this kind of books, so it makes no sense to expect me to write intelligent reviews.

6. I'd be willing to accept for review books in the following languages:

* English;
* Spanish;
* Russian;
* Ukrainian;
* French;
* Portuguese.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


Joy said...

The list of the types of books you won't accept is hilarious. Basically the same types of books that I don't like. Though I can't claim so be able to read in so many languages!

Anonymous said...

All I really read any more when I read fiction is sf and fantasy, mainly because I've already explored the (to me) quotidian and prefer the fantastic these days. I'm just not that interested in regular people or what they feel or think.

SF is often beset by some horrible prose, though.


Pagan Topologist said...

I also like sf and fantasy better than any other type of fiction. I have always believed that they were, in some small way, exercises in theoretical anthropology wherein the author attempts to explore what humans are really like, with at least some of the filters imposed by culture removed. I like them even better when the setting is a culture very different from my own.

I am also wondering whether magickal realism (Toni Morrison's Beloved, for example) also counts as fantasy in your view?

Historical fiction, or even alternate history, ought to achieve the same thing, but I do not much like reading it, since it has the effect of leaving me with unconscious misconceptions about historical facts.

Clarissa said...

No, I like magical realism. Especially, since I'm in Hispanic Studies.

I'm not critical of fantasy. I just don't get it. It often happens that a book or a writer is totally genius, but you just know that it isn't your kind of book or genre. Like Pushkin. I know he must be a genius because everybody says so. But I can't stomach his work.

Pagan Topologist said...

Then I am even more interested in your opinion of Jitterbug Perfume, since I am not sure whether to count it as fantasy or not. The same for Nnedi's Who Fears Death.

Clarissa said...

I kind of got scared of the book when the fantasy elements appeared. But I do want to get back to it.

el said...

I want to recommend "All Our Worldly Goods" By Irene Nemirovsky. Both the history of her life & her books are very interesting.


Sadly, unlike you, I don't know French, the language she wrote in, so was able to read only translated into English works, and this one imo was among the best. In original, they are no doubt even better.

el said...

Just wanted to share:
«Впусти меня» / "Let me in" by Йон Айвиде Линдквист

The best book I ever read with a vampire, unlike Anne Rice's novels (boring) or Twilight (unreadable). Both the book and the movie got many prizes. Watched the movie last year, yesterday read the book in Russian and am very impressed by both. Since you considered reading Twilight, I thought to mention it here. The book, unlike "Dracula", isn't mainly about vampires, but about loneliness and "крайней степени разобщенности (of society)".

Thought to recommend since it's not your usual "romantic" story with "sparky" Twilight-like vampires. This novel really stands apart from the genre and is a great psychological book in general. It's about bullying, cruelty, twisted (and not) versions of love, manipulation, etc. The fact that Eli is a vampire is only a catalyst to show the world the characters live in, their inner worlds, etc.

Great analysis in this review in Russian what the book is really about (not vampires):

In the interview the author says:

Чтобы рассказать хорошую историю, прежде всего, нужен свежий взгляд. Если он есть, то героем может стать любая тварь, ни от одного варианта нельзя отказываться. Но, по-моему, мир постепенно устает от вампиров, а лично я вообще никогда их не любил. «Впусти меня» стал вампирской историей совершенно случайно. Сначала я и не думал ни о чем таком. Моя цель была в том, чтобы описать место, в котором я вырос, запустив туда нечто ужасающее. Лишь через некоторое время я понял, что это должен быть вампир, но я не собираюсь больше о них писать. Сейчас время зомби, но мне кажется, что и этот период вскоре закончится. Очевидно, следующей «большой вещью» станут ангелы.

Читать полностью: http://www.gazeta.ru/culture/2010/11/23/a_3443749.shtml

Clarissa said...

I've been trying to read Twilight in order to write a review, as promised. But it's such a drag. It's very badly written.

As for the angels, there have been efforts to turn it into a popular topic, especially on American TV but for now it hasn't happened.

el said...

Yes, I know. I too stopped after a couple pages. Pity to waste time, especially since you already know what to say in a review. ;)

I can summarize thus:

Twilight - drag

HP books 1 (since chapter 5) and 2-4 -- not bad children novels. Funny in places:

[the description of Harry's uncle & aunt]
Mr.Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings, which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache. Mrs. Dursley was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbors.

"Let me in" -- a very good book for adults, easy and interesting to read. My mother started reading it and too thinks the writing is good. The Russian review I linked gives the best analysis I've seen on net. If you read it or the book I would be interested in your opinion.

el said...

Last comment RE the book: I found "Let me in" full text in Russian here with another author's book:

Of course, I couldn't see the original, but imo the Russian translation is great, unlike HP books, which I couldn't read in Russian.