Vamshidhar Kommineni

November 26, 2006

Book Reviews

Filed under: Books — Vamshi @ 11:00 am

Glancing over the posts I’ve made over the last couple of months, I seem to be getting decent coverage of my interest in technology and movies. However, I don’t have any coverage of the hobbies nearest and dearest to my heart, reading and photography. The lack of photography posts is out of sheer laziness and lack of a good digital workflow which I’m trying to remedy (the workflow, the laziness is pretty much terminal). Books I was holding back on because I wasn’t sure how they would fit in to the site and what form the reviews would take. I think I’ve made up my mind and want to use this to lay out my review methodology similar to the Movie Review intro.

Why read books?

That might seem like an odd or stupid question, but is probably relevant given how little people read in our society today. I’ve been guilty of this as well when things get busy at work. We don’t really want to put aside a few hours to read a good book. I’ve heard arguments ranging from "I get all my information from the net, why should I read?" to "It’s not a productive use of my time". So here is my personal list about why I read books:

  • Because books are a medium that can transport you to a world of your own imagination. Books have the power to impact, the power to heal, the power to make us laugh or just to escape for a few hours
  • Because I’m rarely as happy as when I’m cuddled up with a good book
  • Because I’ve always read books for relaxation since I was a kid. I guess it’s one of many things I have to thank my parents for
  • Because I gain knowledge from them. That’s an obvious one, but it’s hard to imagine that before the printing press, books were really expensive and reading and education were the realm of the rich. 
  • Because I gain perspective from them. Other than the factual knowledge based books, it is very illuminating to read the perspectives of others such as opinion based works, biographies, etc. Perspective can really only be gained from observation/doing and reading in my opinion, and the latter is a valuable complement to the former

Why review books?

  • For me to more easily keep track of what books I’ve read and what my opinion on them was
  • To more easily offer recommendations of what to read to my friends, something I tend to do often (whether it’s solicited or not :)
  • To practice my writing and outlining skills

How will the books be reviewed?

The reviews will range from short 1-2 paragraph summaries to longer 1 page outlines of the book. I’ll default to the 5 stars used by Amazon so the reviews can easily transfer there. My assignment of the stars (Amazon’s in brackets) is as follows:

  • 0 stars – Reading this book will lower your IQ, I guarantee it (Really, really hated it)
  • 1 star   – Reading this book will kill as many brain cells as drinking a case of beer (Hated it)
  • 2 stars – Meh…Read it if you have too much spare time on your hands (Don’t like it)
  • 3 stars – Readable, and you should consider reading it if the subject/plot interests you (It’s OK)
  • 4 stars – Definitely read this book at some point (I like it)
  • 5 stars – Run, don’t walk (preferably to your nearest Indie bookstore, but Amazon will do in a pinch) and buy the book. You will cherish it (I love it)

I don’t anticipate handing out too many 0 star reviews, but we’ll see :).

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