December 1, 2008

Why I Review

Or, Why I Didn't Post Last Week


So, why I review is an entire can of worms and I am unable to perceive some of those worms (therefore they don't exist). I'm a little bit paranoid and thus have been pretty secretive about my true identity. However, I've been pretty nice to ya'll. Everything I've said about myself is true.

One of those true things: I'm in college. I am a second-year/junior. I have something like 64 credit hours and am taking an easy schedule of 15 hours this semester. (I already have one grade back and finished another class today, though I won't have my grade for it for awhile. Another class finishes next Monday. Then I have two finals, one the 10th and the other the 16th, which sucks. I'm considering going home between them.) I am a liberal arts major, so my classes this semester are:

Biology of AIDS
Introduction to Linguistics
Introduction to China
Literature of the Middle Ages in Translation
Philosophy: Problems of Knowledge and Valuation

Being liberal arts, I write essays all the time. The one I turned in today took up most of my Thanksgiving break - it was thirteen pages total. (Thirteen terrible pages that should've never seen the light of day.) But hey, I can churn out these essays quickly. How? I practice.

I like to write, but sometimes it's hard to find a subject. Reviewing gives me a chance to communicate about something I love (books, for the denser members of the audience). When I find something good, I share it. Books, movies, music, you name it. (I have a whole karmic theory about this practice. Ask me some time. I have delayed my own nirvana to enlighten others.)

So reviews. I don't have pressure - I decide when a review gets done, how often I post reviews, etc. I can quit at any moment if it becomes too much. (I doubt that will happen soon, but I like the freedom.) It's a different atmosphere than writing for school. No deadlines, no grades. On the other hand, I'm still the writer.

Writing continually helps me find my flaws. I overuse "also" and various other little words. I don't vary between complex and simple sentences stuctures often enough. I have a favorite sentence construction that pops up once a paragraph (at least) if I don't hold myself back.

NOTE: If someone guesses the structure correctly, s/he get a prize. I'll give you a choice of ARCs or something.

Another way this kind of writing helps is keeping my analysis skills sharp. I might go months without writing a literary analysis, but at some point I'm going to need to write another. I try to avoid getting technical in my reviews - this ain't the place to blather on about diction, syntax, etc. It is a good place to think about theme, authorial motivation, characterization, contiguity.

I've pretty much free-flowed this, so sorry about any editing problems. I just wanted to say a little about myself and why I'm here. Any questions?


  1. Did you drew that picture?? Haha! Sorry, I'm an art collecting addict so I go crazy with anime like arts.

    Those courses sound so darn cool. Can't wait to get of high school and take the real courses.

    Writing reviews does help you improve, which is one of the many reasons why I review also. Sadly, my English class doesn't provide anything that I enjoy writing. Essays are a pain!

  2. Nope, a friend who's sn is Sakura Cherrie (that's the SC in the lower left) did the pic.

    College is much more fun than high school. You'll love it.

  3. I loved college and grad school. Even now I would love to go back and take more courses - I think I would be a perpetual student if I could afford it. There are so many subjects I would love to study, so many things I would love to have knowledge of or be proficient in...languages, especially. And psychology and philosophy and religion. So many great things.


  4. I think that's the most inspiring reason I've ever heard to write reviews.

  5. I specifically chose an academic program that would allow me a great deal of freedom in what courses I could take. I'd hate engineering or architechture, where every course you need takes up all your time. There's too much I'm interested in.

    Thanks Mary!

  6. Good luck with the academics. I think writing reviews will help you improve your writing and critical thinking skills. I know that it keeps me fresh even outside of academia.

  7. split infinitive?
    ok so I hate grammar and wouldn't know how to label a wrong one even w/ a book on it.
    passive voice?

    :P those are mine. and I've never been sure how I can possibly churn out papers, but it happens/happened. GL on finals!

  8. You've got me nodding with complete understanding and rooting you on.


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