Daily Reads: 19 January 2015

Hey everyone! Apologies for my recent blog silence, but I have finally moved back to South Africa from Ethiopia (YAY!) and I’ve been extra disorganised as a result. But I’m slowly getting back into my routine, and I’ve got some cool stuff planned for Violin in A Void. This includes lovely professional photography by my sister Ruth (contact details at the end of this post).

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I’m currently reading The Just City by Jo Walton, and Sister Sister by Rachel Zadok, whose gorgeous cover Ruth captured in the picture above. You can get a better look at the artwork on the publisher’s page here, and several people have been telling me that Zadok’s novel is just as wonderful.

But before I go and curl up with that again, here are some daily reads for you.

In “A Matter of Gaze” Foz Meadows offers some practical ways of thinking about the male gaze, and formulates a companion test for the Bechdal as a way of assessing the way women are portrayed in film. A very useful article especially if, like me, you feel strongly about these issues but sometimes struggle to think about or discuss it in a clear, analytical way.

Following his article on why you should write in your books with a pen, Tim Parks wrote an article on how to read critically. I’ve already found it quite helpful in turning my attention to little details that I might not otherwise have noticed, and appreciating writing that seemed lacklustre at first glance. A fantastic tool for writing reviews!

Speaking of which, I recently read some articles on negative reviews, which, as regular readers may have noticed, I have no qualms about writing. Some people don’t like them or don’t like posting them, but these articles argue in their defence.

The G from the blog Nerds of a Feather invited other reviewers to give their opinions about the positive value of negative reviews. If you want to see me get a little ranty about this, check out my comment below the article.

Litreactor also has a post about why readers don’t owe it to writers to finish books they don’t like and how it’s ok to review a book you didn’t finish (provided you review it honestly as a dnf – did not finish). Although I usually slog through books I don’t like, and sometimes get a bit annoyed with dnf reviews of books I loved, I have to agree here. A dnf review can’t offer a valid assessment of a book as a whole, but readers still get a worthwhile opinion from a review that says a book was so bad/slow/boring etc. that the reviewer couldn’t bear to finish it.

What do you think? Is it ok to write dnf reviews? Do you find that opinion helpful? Do you read/write negative reviews, or do you think it’s better to either be more diplomatic or simply keep snarky opinions to yourself?

Daily Reads helps me organise my online reading and share my favourite posts with you. If you know of any good SF/F and other literary articles, link to it in the comments 🙂

Photography for this post is courtesy of Ruth Smith. You can view or buy her work here, or contact her at photobunny24@gmail.com.

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2 thoughts on “Daily Reads: 19 January 2015

  1. Glad you’re back in SA!!!! And this year I’m going to really make an effort to read more on your blog, which is fabulous by the way.

  2. I am not sure I call what I write about DNF ‘review’ but I tag them as a DNF then state why I am quitting. I can’t imagine there being any issue with that.

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