Love a book review?
It is a sad truth that physical book sales are on the decline. With the wealth of readable materials on the internet, and the velocity with which people now live their lives, it seems few of us have time to sit down and get our teeth into a really decent novel. Even libraries – once full of shelf upon shelf of readable tomes – are more akin to internet cafes these days.
Occasionally a publishing phenomenon will take the literary world by storm, such as J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, or the saucy mum-lit of Fifty Shades of Grey. However, should you find yourself wandering into a bookstore, eager to get your fingers into a really good book; the choice can seem a little daunting. The solution to your problem is to first take a glance at a decent book review web-site, then narrow down your options to something that’s likely to appeal to you, rather than something you’re likely to toss aside after a few paragraphs.
Here is a run-down of the top ten websites for book reviews:
Despite having an interface that was seemingly designed in 1995, All Readers grabs the number one spot for the sheer wealth of reviews it homes and the ability to search for and select any kind of book you feel you have a desire to read. For example, you can search via plot, main character or adversary, setting or style. Once you have selected your elements, potential books will be selected for you. You can then click through and read reviews. The only downside to this massive site is often it is slow to load.
Bookpage promises that via their services, you will discover your next great book. Having been in existence since 1996, Bookpage has collected together tens of thousands of reviews, all of which you can browse by either genre or author. They also have a special section on Children’s Books, and a totally readable blog. Reviews are kept nicely short and to-the-point, and readers can give simple five-star ratings to help decide which books are better than others.
The New York Times has been in existence since 1851, and still manages to attract some of the finest journalists around. They also have on their staff some of the best and most knowledgeable book reviewers around, although sometimes their reviews can be over-wordy and too revealing of a book’s plot elements. Each writer differs in style, but all of them offer worthwhile insights into books for any fan of literature.
A site dedicated to all aspects of modern literature, Bookreporter is an aesthetically-pleasing site that seems to specialise in woman’s fiction. As well as thousands of nicely concise and considered reviews, Bookreporter will also engage the dedicated book-lover with interviews with authors, special features, news and contests. There is also a section on books that have recently been translated to the silver screen, and a section especially for young adults.
Not strictly a review site, Booklamp is a recent addition to the internet book world, and is home to the Book Genome Project. As Pandora.com matches music lovers to new music, Booklamp.org promises to match book lovers to new books. Simply enter the name of a book you like in the Booklamp search engine, and you’ll be presented with a mountain of recommended reads. You can then click through to review of said books. Sadly, the most popular book in the Booklamp is revealed to be Dan Brown’s ponderous “The Da Vinci Code”, but don’t let that put you off too much.
Good Reads could possibly be classified as the Facebook of book review sites. Here you can create an account and link with friends and like-minded people. You can see what other people are reading and have read, so if you meet someone with similar tastes to your own, you can receive some decent reading suggestions. All books on Good Reads are rated (the ubiquitous five-star rating) and reviewed by the site’s members. You can also simply browse the site should you not wish to join in with the general book-loving community.
Another self-styled social media-style book review site, Book Rabbit allows you to connect with and meet new book-loving friends. The site hosts a pleasant mix of reviews, features and interviews. You can also – if the fancy takes you – take a photograph of your teeming bookshelves and share it with anyone who you feel may be interested. They also have a well-populated discussion forum.
More an online community for keen readers and book lovers, Princetown Book Review specialises in Mysteries, Historical Fiction and Thrillers. Their unbiased and straight-forwards book reviews are always interesting and worth a perusal. These are definitely reviews written by lovers of books for other lovers of books. You can offer to submit reviews yourself and join in with discussion forums which give the impression you have joined an online book club.
An all-encompassing book-reviewing community, Love Reading promises to put you in touch with your next book. The site looks over-busy but is easy to navigate, and has multiple useful features such as the UK top ten and Authors and Books of the month. You can also buy gift vouchers to send to your book-loving friends as gifts.
The first thing you notice upon entering this site is the rather pompous claim that it is “An intelligent guide for intelligent people” – but don’t let that put you off. The Internet Review of Books is a niche site that specialises in high-brow non-fiction and “fiction with attitude and passion”. They have a dedicated team of reviewers and their reviews are usually interesting and informative, although sometimes again they give too much away of the plot, so approach with caution.