Katie has some excellent points to make about the use to which readers should put book reviewers, but the crux of it is this:
…as readers, we oftentimes don’t know what we’re looking for in a book. We want entertainment, but what is our own definition of literary entertainment? It’s different for each one of us. By breaking things down, the reviewer not only defines a book’s elements, but helps us discover our own preferences in a clear way.
Hear, hear! I know that while I enjoy being analytical about books for its own sake, I also wouldn’t go through the time and effort of putting them online if I didn’t think that it would be helpful to readers, authors and publishers alike. Katie also got me thinking that I ought to put something together about the reader/reviewer relationship, a topic not much talked about in my (admittedly) insular corner of the blogosphere.