Home > Books, Late Antiquity, The New Media > Book Reviews and the Blog: A Case Study

Book Reviews and the Blog: A Case Study

About 10 months ago, I blogged about Ann Marie Yasin’s new(ish) book, Saints and Church Spaces in the Late Antique Mediterranean.  I offered a quick review of it, mostly centered on a series of hastily composed observations.

Here’s a link to that quick review.

This summer, I was asked to review the book for real, in a print journal, one that appears in paper, and goes to libraries.  This is the first time that I was asked to review for real something I had already reviewed in the old blog.

Here’s that review:

Yasin Review Oct2010
http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=40841124&access_key=key-217qla75xbrm3huuol9r&page=1&viewMode=list

For people who struggle to wrap their minds around the difference between a blog and a formal print publication, perhaps these two reviews will shine some light on the issue.  I think that there are subtle changes in style, content, and tone.  As I was writing my blog post, I considered my audience to be someone who might read the book one day.  When I wrote the print review, my audience became someone who was unlikely to read the book ever.

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  1. David
    November 4, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I was curious about your concluding comment here: “As I was writing my blog post, I considered my audience to be someone who might read the book one day. When I wrote the print review, my audience became someone who was unlikely to read the book ever.” Why do you think your printed blog would not encourage anyone to read the book?

  2. November 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Somehow, I totally agree with the last statement. The printed book review genre has, in many ways, become the cheat sheet. I do this all the time. Blogging, on the other, hand has a different optimism. There is always an imagined next click. As a personal choice, blogging a book review gives it emotional credence. The print review, on the other hand, enters a different cultural medium.

  3. November 4, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    David,
    I think what I mean is that if I bother to write about a book on my blog, I am implying that the book has interested or excited me in some way. A review for a journal is part of a larger scholarly project. I review books for academic journals with the assumption that my interest and excitement is personal and does not represent a universal attitude toward a work of scholarship.
    Bill

  4. November 6, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Academic reviews are pretty important to me when I’m considering whether to buy a book or not. In the case of Yasin, your blog comments interested me enough to recently seriously consider buying it (as you are an Academic in the field I felt this qualified as sufficient endorsement from someone qualified to make it). I have a pretty detailed method of determining what to buy – there are always more than I have reading time or money for. Academic reviews are an essential piece of that.

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