- Joined Feb 1, 2007
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the great advantages Huddler brings us is the ability for every member to post articles, book reviews, and product evaluations. An unexpected issue has arisen, however, that I’d like to address: the difference between a book review and a forum discussion.
If you’re going to write a book review, or comment on somebody else’s review, it’s only logical to expect that you’ve at least seen the book. How else can you have an opinion of it, or on the opinions expressed by another reviewer?
In short, your comments, opinions, and critiques should be based on your reaction to the book, and the reviewer's shared or differing viewpoint.
On the other hand, comments made in general, reacting to something the reviewer says, more likely belong in a forums thread. As a general rule, whenever a review is posted it’s also put up as a forum thread of its own. You can link from that thread to the full review, or you can have a conversation about it just as with any other thread.
Here’s an example to help clarify.
Let’s posit that I write a review of a book called “The Hotdog Handbook.” Among the criticisms I offer the opinion that the author gives short shrift to all-beef hotdogs, and pays too much attention to what are actually European style sausages.
If you've read the book, and disagree with those statements, the place to say so is as a book review. You should state your opinion, and back it up from the book itself. F’rinstance, “I did a quick count, and, despite Brook’s contention, didn’t find it to be true. There are 15 recipes specifying all-beef hotdogs, and only 12 utilizing sausages.”
However, if you have a more generalized opinion, the place for it is in the forum. Example: “I could go along with a book that downplays all-beef franks, because they have no flavor; especially when compared to some of the great sausages coming out of Europe.”
You see the difference? Although your opinion is valid in both instances, in one case it’s based on the book, and in the other it’s based on your feelings about the subject of the book, rather than the book itself.
Personally, I’m anxious to hear from members in both places. I’d love to see you writing more reviews, or posting comments against another member’s reviews. And I’d like to see more forum discussion about cookbooks as well.
But, hopefully, we’ll all do a better job of separating the two.