To Review, or Not to Review: A Book You Really Liked #ASMSG

The book review, as we have discussed, makes one major demand on the reviewer. That demand is evidence, or the reason(s) you base your opinion on. This means being objective, analytical and unbiased.

Yet there comes a moment when we throw these principles overboard. When we have read an outstanding book, which somehow touched us, the reader, on a profound, deep level. Sometimes, it defies our ability to put it in words. When this happens, the reviewer has two options: 1. Do not review the book, or, 2. Review the book & risk sounding partial, biased, subjective rather than objective.

In such cases there is no advice I can give you. Not reviewing the book would maintain a high level of consistency in your reviewing style. On the other hand, writing a rave review will make your review open to doubt about its sincerity. This is the dilemma, review, or not to review…

I must confess that I always write the review, even if it is going to be inconsistent with my usual style of reviews that I write. Somehow, when I have thoroughly enjoyed a book, from cover to cover, I feel compelled to share that. I believe doing this, sharing how the book made me feel, is evidence of my humanity.

To finish, I want to share a recent book review that must be classified as a rave review. I left the reading of this book completely satisfied as a reader, with all my senses in a state of maximum satisfaction, which explains my rave review.

What was the book? Who was the author? The book is called, Coyote in Provence, and it was written by Dianne Harman. She is an excellent author whose writing is best described as exquisitely “evocative”… She evokes sights, sounds, smells, tastes and sensations in the reader as you read. That is a unique talent which she has.

Anyway, you will find my review of her book below. I hope you enjoy reading the review as much as I enjoyed writing it. Of course, if you feel the review is helpful, please click on the review and vote YES, especially if you would like to read the book after reading my review!

***

Book Review: Coyote in Provence

Review Title: Slow Reading Can Be Good for the Soul, or,
Enjoy This Book
Date: February 26, 2014
Reviewed by Thomas Baker (Santiago, Chile)
Amazon Verified Purchase

I read the first book in the Coyote Series, Blue Coyote Motel (Coyote Series). It was outstanding, and it stimulated my appetite to read the second book in the series. I anticipated reading something exquisite, and I was not disappointed. I read this book in the manner that one would approach a fine gourmet meal. My friend, close your eyes for a moment and “see” this with me please…

There is candlelight, there is wine, and the profile of your lover is bathed in soft moonlight. The candlelight flickers in the gentle breeze… Can you “see” it?

With this mindset, you will miss no details of the author’s craft. This is exactly the same way you would allow no detail to escape your remembrance. So read on, without undue haste. Author Dianne Harman has brought us to Provence, France, a time and place that evokes our imagination of a life well-lived. Provence is real… And so we read on…

With deliberate care we sink into the sentences, suspending disbelief so as not to disturb the atmosphere created by the author’s artistry. With broad brush strokes, she created characters we can care about, a place and a time that is evocative of the best that French culture has to offer. We gently linger on the words, the thoughts, the deeds, and the motivations of the protagonist. What is her problem? Doesn’t she have…everything? Yes, she does.

Yes, but having everything your heart could possibly desire, with no effort required, is a boring proposition. And so Maria Brooks, now Elena Johnson, decides to get a job. This is our precipitating event. Without it, we have no story, with it, we have everything that is yet to come.

With calculated precision, Maria/Elena puts all of her talent, skill, and ability to one singular purpose. She is determined to get a job as a cook, for a salary that is of no importance to her. What is important is that she escapes her boredom, living life one day after another with little variation. As you can imagine, she will not be denied.

To seal the deal, she uses her physical charms as any desperate woman would, visually enticing, yet clearly not offering anything. In this way, she makes it an impossibility that she would be refused. And so from this moment forward, our plot is set in motion, literally, and metaphorically…

Allow me to sum up now. I have read this book, but not in one sitting. This is a delicious, delightful, delectable book, masterfully written. It is to be savored as one would savor a gourmet meal with a fine wine. There is no need to hurry, no need to rush. Take your time, and you will enjoy this book tremendously. Remember this, if nothing else: Slow reading can be good for the soul… Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Thomas Jerome Baker
Author of Second Language Acquisition: Language, Culture & Identity, for English Language Learners Worldwide – ELL / ESL / EAL / EFL

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About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family.
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