Reviewing: Reflecting on what is here so far

Having composed now a number of reviews for this blog, I realize that I really need to work on the art of reviewing.  I share some impressions, but I don't give the kind of discursive, lengthy, thought-provoking review that I like to read. 

On the other hand, perhaps the sharing of impressions is enough.  I'm not a scholar, nor can I pretend to be--I don't care much for the scholarly apparatus and the set of scholarly assumptions that often surrounds a work.  I certainly don't mind reading scholarly reviews, articles, and analyses--but I don't have the mindset that would allow me to produce such work--I'm constitutionally opposed to the idea that most authors write or even revise with all of the assumptions in place that seem to make up most of the scholarly analysis.  Did Shakespeare really reflect on anti-semitism, racism, or Oedipal anxiety in composing "The Merchant of Venice," "Othello," or "Hamlet?"  I actually think Joyce does us a magnificent service when he presents Stephen's half-baked Hamletian notions in Ulysses.

But denying the position of critic and forming a good review of a book that would be helpful to other in determining whether or not to pick up a book are two different modes and magnitudes of work.  Presumably the latter falls within the capabilities of one who flies in the face of critical apparatuses of various sorts.  Anyone can report reasonably well on the nature of a book, yes?

So, I'll give it some thought and perhaps rethink some pieces I've already thrown together and see how they might be better structured to give the reader information he/she desires before choosing the next book from the shelf.


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