Method to my Madness: how I write a book review

Hey-dee how-dee, peeps!

Okay, so you can actually find me on Goodreads and over there, I do, on occasion, review books. In fact, I’m about to finish up a series by an author I particularly like and I’ll probably do a giant review of it over there.

If you’ve read my reviews at Goodreads, you’ll know whereof I speak.

I bring this up, friends, because I learned how to write book reviews first in high school, then again in college, and I honed the skill again in graduate school. There are slightly different styles for different fields and genres (I was writing reviews of mostly academic and other nonfiction treatises in the social sciences), and there’s also a bit of formality (sometimes stiltedness) that goes along with reviews like that, but nevertheless, I still use the infrastructure.

So let’s chat about that.

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Post-apocalypse story collection

Hi, kids–yeah, I bailed on y’all this weekend. Had a bunch of stuff to catch up on, including getting “Some Kind of River” tweaked up so I can get that Kindle’d up.

Got a great tip from author Nicola Griffith (and if you haven’t read her work, WHY NOT? WHAT ROCK HAVE YOU BEEN UNDER?).

I’m thinking you need to get yourself a copy of this story collection if you’re like me, and have a weird apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic streak in you. Check out Laura Miller’s review of Maureen McHugh’s After the Apocalypse.

source: LAMag (I’ve resized it here)

Miller says:

McHugh’s stories, however, are more interested in what the fall of civilization might actually feel like. The cataclysms in “After the Apocalypse” range from flu epidemics to dirty bombs to the exhaustion of fossil fuel reserves to water shortages to good old-fashioned economic depression.
This acute psychological realism applied to the apparatus of wish-fulfilling adventure stories makes for a heady combination. The stories in “After the Apocalypse” will catch many readers off-guard; they’re suspenseful, but they never quite go where you expect them to. The end of the world as we know it will never be the same again.

source:, Laura Miller review

Doesn’t that just warm your little post-apocalyptic hearts this close to the holiday season? I thought so.

Happy reading!

Things writers should NOT do

Hey, folks–

You may have heard this one before, but here it is again. This link has been making the rounds through the writing/reading community as an example of how authors should NOT respond to reviews.

Yeah. Um…I’m embarrassed for this author, who ends up coming across as, unfortunately, unprofessional and unable to deal with critique, whether constructive or not. The author then made it a lot worse and responded in the comments section (more than once), with more of the same behavior. Yikes! The author even told someone to “f*** off.” Holy career enders, Batman!

Give me more! Yes, more! Click on…

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