Monday, February 8, 2010

The World's First D-I-Y Book Review

There seems to be, these days, much fuss over book reviews. As a service to men and women of letters everywhere, therefore, here's the world's first do-it-yourself book review. The next time you're faced with a review deadline, simply take this template and insert the appropriate phrases from the tables below. Voila: your review is ready.

This novel is _______1._________ dealing with _______2.________. It’s set in ____3._______ with characters that __________4._____________illuminating its overall theme of ______5._________.

Written in a style that is ______6.________ it is a _________7.__________, one that manages to _______8.________ in true ______9._________.

_____10.________ in the telling, it’s a cross between _______11._______, with the plot, such as it is, being ________12._________.

Add to this the novel’s ______13.________ and you’re reminded of the immortal Henry James’ famous dictum that _______14.___________. The moment you reach the last page, you’ll find yourself wanting to ______15.___________


a. A deft and assured tale

b. An affected and uninspiring saga

c. A comedy of modern manners


a. A young man’s loss of innocence.

b. The redemptive powers of love

c. The aftermath of 9/11 on a sensitive soul


a. A teeming metropolis

b. A one-horse town

c. IIT Kharagpur


a. Will remain in memory

b. Are little more than cardboard cut-outs

c. Are human, all too human.


a. Hope in the face of disaster

b. Disaster in the face of hope

c. Disastrous facelifts


a. Spare and unvarnished

b. Gripping and evocative

c. Clearly inspired by Faulkner


a. Tour de force

b. Trenchant look at life’s underbelly

c. Tissue of lies


a. Keep you turning the pages

b. Make you want to throw it across the room

c. Make you sob


a. Post-modern fashion

b. Social realist fashion

c. Coco Chanel fashion


a. Gripping

b. Unflinching

c. Jaw-clenching


a. The DaVinci Code and The Waste Land

b. The Odyssey and Who Moved My Cheese?

c. Harry Potter and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


a. One with too many twists, turns and vampires

b. Turgid in the extreme.

c. Non-existent


a. Daring take on relationships

b. Innovative structure

c. Remembrance of things past


a. “It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature”.

b. “You must live all you can – it’s a mistake not to”.

c. “Ideas are, in truth, force”.


a. Stop reading

b. Start it all over again

c. Forget all about it.


Piggy Little said...

tongue in cheek. i likes :)

Anonymous said...

You are a genius.

Unknown said...

Thank you.

Anon: Not unless they've changed the definition of the word.

Anonymous said...

you just made the task a little more difficult for reviewers... ha ha... already, i can't ever use the word nuanced... and many such... after you wrote about most abused words in reviews (if i remember correctly)....