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I’ve just read a book review that said that the book in question is “easy to read”, “holds your interest”, and “concise with details”.

What the heck does all this mean?  Let’s walk through this review.

Are books that are easy to read actually good books?  Not in my universe.  What does “easy to read” even mean?  Try the 19th century Russian writers.  None of that stuff is easy to read.  Flowing, clear, and imaginative prose is easy to decipher, but that’s only the start of the reading process.  Reading Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky – even in translation – makes you think it’s easier to write than read.  But is not that the point of literature?  

Holding your interest is a pre-requisite for any book regardless of theme, topic, style, structure, genre, or any substance, is not it? Why do certain reviewers keep unscrupulously flinging this label around?  If a piece of writing, whether it’s published or not, does not have these characteristics, it is not a book; it’s a mess! 

The tagline concise with details is another oxymoron.  Either you leave out the details and your style, plot, or dialogue is concise – which is the case in summaries, blogs, tweets, and numerous other genre -, or you use details, in which case your writing might not be concise, but have all the features of a good read. 

Reviewers, please, double-check the labels, slogans, common place remarks, or amateurish adjectives you attach to a book.  Overused, inaccurate, and superficial terms do not help promoting a book or author.  Authors and new releases need insightful responses, as opposed to dilettante remarks, even if the review comes from a reader and not from a professional.  I’d rather read a one-sentence comment, such as “the book is trash” or “I lost interest on the fifth page” than a fake review that is full of fluffy, professional looking “big” words, but have no substance or honesty whatsoever.

Remember, the review is not about you.  It’s about the book.

HH

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