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Last week, I was shopping in a little bookstore with a
friend in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina. We came across a “Reading Journal.”
The entry prompts included obvious categories such as the title of the book,
author, date read, and so forth but it also had a series of questions about the
writing of the book itself.
For example, one of the questions asked, “On a scale of 1-5,
with five being excellent, how would you rate the pace of the book? Did it keep
you engaged or was it so slow you fell asleep?”
There were at least ten questions in this section on the
characters, setting, and plot. Each question had the numbers 1 2 3 4 5
following it along with a line for comment.
The next question asked, “Would you recommend this book to a
friend? Why or why not?”
The journal was intended to record what you read. It could
be used by an individual or with a book club to prepare for a book discussion.
I saw this little journal as a great way for readers to
draft a book review. It reminded me of some of tools I uncovered in my research.
I am often asked how to write a book review for Amazon by people who have read Breathing on Her Own. You may be
surprised at the number of people who have never left a review for any book.
Then again, you may be one of them.
Most people I talk with want something easy to implement. So…I
created this tool. I call it the Five Finger Method for Book Reviews. Basically, you give the
book a point for each area. You can give half points, of course, but that requires bending your finger at the knuckle…oh the complexity of it all…
Today I offer you this little guideline. Readers, use it to
write a review for Amazon. Writers, use it to evaluate your own writing before
it goes to press. (Ask yourself these questions as you reread your first,
second, or third draft.)
Step 1 (30 seconds, tops)
If you agree with a statement, give one point (or do the
The story plot is engaging/entertaining
The story is well written- flows nicely
The story comes to a satisfying end
The characters are believable/identifiable/ or have depth
I would read more from this author
Step 2 (1-2 minutes)
Complete one of these two questions and be as specific as
I would (or would not) recommend this book because…
This book resonated with me because… (Or …Although this book
did not resonate with me, I think it…)
There you have it. The number in Step 1 reveals how many
stars you will give it and your comments are written in Step 2. Easy. Of course
you can say more, but you don’t have to do so.
Here is an example:
Talk of the Town by
1pt.The story plot is engaging/entertaining
1 pt.The story is well written- flows nicely
1pt.The story comes to a satisfying end
.5 pt.The characters are believable/identifiable/
or have depth
would read more from this author
I would recommend this
book because it is fast paced and entertaining. Wingate’s humor is engaging. I
would definitely read more books by Lisa Wingate.
Now you try it. Don’t have anything to read for this review?
Might I suggest a little novel called Breathing on Her Own?Oh, you’ve heard that one before…Can’t blame
a girl for tryin,’ right?