Friday, March 26, 2010


I find that there are often problems with peoples conception of what a review is. That isn't to say I'm the perfect person to do reviews just that I don't feel it is necessary to verbally harm people over one. That seems to be the norm for people now.  The definition of a review as it applies to works is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

"6 a : a critical evaluation (as of a book or play)"
The thing to remember is that an evaluation does not exclude ones opinion of something. It is simply a break down of the pros and cons to something.  Which is someone's opinion.  Too many people say you shouldn't have your opinion in a review. They fail to realize that for instance if you are talking about a book a review of a book without someone's opinion of it is nothing more than a synopsis. Most books have one on the back and I would then suggest reading it rather than a review. Also the worth of a review is how often you agree or disagree with some ones opinion of a type of work. When I was young I knew that if both Siskel and Ebert liked a movie then I would hate it. I loved their reviews because I could determine what was worth my time even if there was a negative review. As long as they actually explain why the liked or disliked the work the a review can be helpful. You don't have to agree with someone for it to be a good review even if they rated something you liked poorly.

The other problem I have people can be a little to vague in their review in an attempt to avoid spoilers. The problem is that if you say nothing and make only flowery speeches then it isn't a review. One could say "There is an interesting dichotomy between the Empire and the Rebels" when it comes to Star Wars. However that is more relevant to a word-a-day calendar than to reviewing the movie. I would say currently you are very lucky if people are even that direct about what they are reviewing. That isn't to say there is no one good at writing reviews out there, because there are. It is more that in this day where everyone can say something often all they say is "something" which says nothing. :)

Some of the worst reviews are about books. If all you have to say is some variation of what is the synopsis of a book then it is best not to say anything at all. I don't know how many times I've read a review that was nothing more than rewording the synopsis. I don't know the reason behind it other than maybe an attempt to feel learned or just unable to speak with their own words. What ever the reason it is unhelpful because you can just read the back of a book just as easily.

So what is the perfect review to me? First, it should have substance if you liked it say what you like the relationship between one character and another or that if it seems forced then why. If it is simply one action that prevents you from being able to finish a book then warn about spoilers and explain the situation. The point is if you say nothing in your review how are you doing the book or yourself justice?  There could be people that would really like to read a book and your review because it is vague prevents this or encourages someone to buy the item even though they are actually going to end up disappointed in it.

Next time I'll talk about my pet peeves in books and the things I wish people would have mentioned in there reviews so I could have skipped them.

(Update: The follow up to this can be found here:

Friday, March 12, 2010


So, I thought to myself it has been awhile and I should make a twitter post just to do so. The thing is with these social sites I often don't have a lot to say. Most of the time I'm not a talkative person. I don't feel the need to share most of the time. There some things I talk about as more of a warning or a hey look what this person did. My opinion on something rather than my opinion on myself. So when trying to come up with anything to say I thought about the word profound.
Main Entry: pro·found
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French parfunt, profond deep, from Latin profundus, from pro- before + fundus bottom — more at pro-, bottom
Date: 14th century
1 a : having intellectual depth and insight b : difficult to fathom or understand
2 a : extending far below the surface b : coming from, reaching to, or situated at a depth : deep-seated <a profound sigh>
3 a : characterized by intensity of feeling or quality b : all encompassing : complete <profound sleep> <profound deafness>

Often when most people talk on these blogs or something like twitter we are trying to do one of two things. Either we are trying to convey something or gain something. An individual may want to convey their feelings in general or about feelings about something (including themselves). Then there is gain where the individual wants to gain readers so he knows what he conveys reaches someone or a group/company is trying to gain an opportunity (generally an opportunity to gain money).

So why the word profound? It is just that like with what I'm saying here there may be the hidden hope that in some way what is said ends up profound. Either an attempt to prove that the individual writing has their own hidden depths or maybe that a chance comment might spark something profound in someone else. Even better that the words will create a feeling and that feeling will lead someone to come back again or to look at what the writer is trying to sell them. Not necessarily a monetary sale, perhaps rather sell them an idea.

Do I hope I'm being profound? Maybe if I'm honest I would say a little. I'm not honest with myself at least so I'll lie to me and say "no I'm not". :) I refuse to be profound on sheer principle. I did however manage to finally say something so the word wasn't pointless.