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What is the Objective of a Book Review?


Troy

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The objective of a book review is to provide insight into the author's message. Without an independent review of messaging, it's difficult to judge whether the reader might want to explore this new perspective. I recently read a fascinating book review by a black woman, Veronica Chambers, about an 800+ page novel written by a black woman, Honoree Fanonne Jeffers. I was damn near tempted to buy the book, "The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois," and read it. The only thing that stopped me, for now, - is I don't have the time. It is definitely on my list. I would like to explore what it would be like growing up in the south (Georgia). Then, navigating the world of "Our Kind of People" and regular black folks. Then deciding to take the road less traveled in your career choice. 
The reviewer also provided the literary context of the coming of age novel and its relationship to poetry. The latter indicated that the prose would be musical. Also, the reviewer is a subject matter expert on W.E.B Du Bois, has been highly educated in the literary genre and discipline. So the review was art in itself. 

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Yeah The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois was just longlisted for a National Book Award.  

 

By Veronica Chambers Aug. 24, 2021, New York Times

 

Click for a larger image of The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

 

THE LOVE SONGS OF W.E.B. DU BOIS
By Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

W.E.B. Du Bois has been a part of my intellectual life for as long as I can remember. At 16, I moved to Great Barrington, Mass., to attend Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Great Barrington was the birthplace of Du Bois, and as I learned when I was named a Du Bois scholar, the great man was so many things: an elder statesman of African American life, a distinguished historian, a sociologist, a civil-rights leader and an early model of what it might mean to be a public intellectual. He is, many would argue, the founding father of modern Black America. His writing, his ambitions, his failings and his accomplishments are the bass line of Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s sweeping, masterly debut novel, “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois.” Read the entire review 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest umbrarchist

Some books are just entertaining and intended to be, some books provide perspective and some books are informative.  Objectivity is a problem. LOL

 

How objective is the reviewer and how objective was the author at the time?

 

I confess to being an old science fiction fan. I didn't know about any Black SF writers at the time. But most of what I learned about science was the result of science fiction because the nitwit nuns didn't teach it. SF books caused me to do research.

 

But science fiction has changed since Star Wars and the Old Dead White Guys are not politically correct and just about presumed to have been racistists. I started reading Octavia Butler in the 80s. Wild Seed is my favorite book of hers but I don't regard her works as scientific science fiction. She would not have gotten me to go to college for Electrical Engineering.

 

So many sci-fi reviews these days just tell you if the reviewer LIKES the book and possibly explains why. Characterization is way more important than it was in the old days. Books with nothing to say can be twice as long as they were in the 50s and 60s.

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