Do you have a brilliant read that you want others to try? Write a review of not more than 500 words and send it to email@example.com. Published reviews will be paid.There is for sure a shortage of good reviewers in Malaysia, and those of you who drop by the blog are pretty passionate about books, so why not give this a go?
My personal tips:
- Aiyoh - don't just regurgitate the plot! If we're interested, we'll read it anyway. If not, you're wasting your breath.
- Don't read other reviews of the book until you have your own opinion firmly formed. What matters is what you think of the book, even if other reviewers have a very different opinion.
- Of course, be prepared to support your opinion with examples from the book.
- Be fair!
- Important this - Don't gobbledegook over the heads of readers, no matter how brilliant you are.
- Stick to the word limit, or you'll get cruelly chopped.
Today's copy carries a review of The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru. Kee Thuan Chye liked it less well than I did, but it's a nicely written piece.
What tickled me was that the book is referred to (under the heading) as "an obscure gem"!
Elsewhere in Starmag is the news that travel writer/ novelist Paul Theroux (left) was in town, travelling the route he took 33 years ago (when writing The Great Railway Bazaar?) Y.S. Lim interviews him, but the questions, for this fan of his books, are just too vague and general, and elicit uncharacteristically polite and diplomatic responses! (C'mon, Theroux, grouch a bit and let us know it's really you!)
There's a nice piece on Pramoedya by Anu Nathan who points out, quite rightly, that while this great writer was not well known in Malaysia and Indonesia, she was amazed to meet German and Dutch backpackers in Indonesia:
... who not only knew who Pramoedya was but were also toting around well-thumbed copies of Child of all Nations.It's an interesting irony. And a deeply shaming one.
This Sunday morning, nursing my first cup of tea, am aware at how big a hole in my life the absence of the Malay Mail has created. (Sad life, hey!) I miss all the murders and the scandals and the gossip gleaned from Britain's Daily Mail. It will be back on the newstands soon, spruced up, reformulated and designed to appeal to a younger set. I hope it will still be the only afternoon newspaper in the world you get to read over breakfast!