Reviewing the Reviewers

January 20, 2011

Categories: reviews

A re-run on Radio National about reviewing has stayed with me over the past couple of days.

I am still left with the question of ‘what is the role of the reviewer?’

Is it to give a personal response to something they have read?
Is it to promote discussion about a literary piece and a broader discussion of literature as a whole?
Should they inject their review with their personality or not?
Should it get personal?
Is it a way to fill space, get newspapers sold, get people clicking onto blogs?
Is it about the reader? The writer? The publishing house or the reviewer?
Still pondering this one.


In Short

May 8, 2010

Categories: Age review, Cameron Woodhead, reviews, short and scary

Okay, going to break my rule of never responding to book reviews.

After a nice review for Short and Scary in The Sunday Age, Young Lit section several weeks ago, I was surprised to see a review in today’s Sat Age.

The readership for the anthology was years 8 – 14. There is no mention of this in the review which is flanked by adult titles such as The Woman Who Shot Mussolini and 35 Arguments for the Existence of God.

The idea for the short series was a mentoring program, matching established authors and illustrators with emerging talent, both young and old. There is no mention of this in the critique either. (Although there was mention of one contributor’s poem as mediocre will probably have the 16 year old author running for cover.)

Feedback from teachers and readers about the short series has been positive. It is a smorgasbord of stories and poetry that young readers can dip into. That’s what makes it work for young readers. Perhaps the reviewer is better suited to reviewing adult books…?


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