Emptied of expectation. Relax. (tinyjo) wrote,
Emptied of expectation. Relax.

Reviews vs recommendations

I've been over thinking this a lot recently. I've more energy and time to read in the evenings at the moment but I don't have any new books that I'm excited about and I'm not really sure where to find them. What I need is a good source of book recommendations where I can find out something about what the focus of a book is, what the tone is like and an idea of how I'm going to react to it (e.g. good light read, serious stuff but gripping, etc). What I really need is a Mark Kermode of books - Kermode is a great film reviewer - he gets his short slot on R5 which you can listen to via podcast where he runs down the top 10 with pithy 1 or 2 sentence reviews and then gets to ramble a bit about the new releases. I always end up with a good idea of what I will want to watch even though Mark and I don't like exactly the same films.

Now I know that a lot of you write reviews of stuff but I get the impression that that's more of a literary criticism thing, which is exactly what I don't want. I don't want to critically engage with my reading at the moment. I want it to be fun and relaxing and absorbing - not a big thing. That's kind of the distinction I'm trying to make in the title of this post. What I want is to get recommendations on what to read, not to get involved in the deep levels of a text or where it fits into the web of genre past, present and yet to come.

This would be my checklist for what I want from a recommendation:

1) Focus of the book: e.g. a political thriller in space, hard sf ala Iain M Banks, traditional quest fantasy, love story with incidental SF. This can include a bit about the story but minimal spoilers please!
2) Commitment required: e.g. huge and part 1 of a trilogy, long but fast paced, bit of a slog, short and sweet.
3) Tone: e.g funny, serious, quirky, irreverent.
4) Comparison, if possible, to something fairly mainstream (i.e. that I might have read)
5) Recommendation itself to be short and pithy.

Preferably, also available in handy LJ syndication form as well!

And that's pretty much all I want to know. I don't need to have any of it justified, I just want to know where the reviewer thinks on those points. So, where can I find that? Link me to some good examples please. (BTW, if I'm wrong in my impression of the writing you lot are doing, tell me - it's only my impression and an ill informed one probably)

This post was a lot more eloquent when I wrote it in my head you know. That's the trouble with LJ - there's no brain interface yet.
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