I have different standards to review a book [Fiction or Non-Fiction]. I use standards mentioned below, that I use for Fiction:
- Language: This is quite an important aspect for me. I first read very closely what language is used by the author. For example, early English, or US English or UK English then I match the same with the setting of the book. If the author is writing a UK based story with a UK based characters in US English that is a negative point for me. But if the same story is set up in London but with the US-based character then, I’ll say it’s fine. If someone is writing a historical book like the story is set up in 15th or 16th or 18th century then I closely look if the author is using correct language to justify the era. If the language is perfect according to the set up of the book then the reader automatically will be transported to the setting and she/he will feel that all the book is taking place in front of her/him like a movie.
- Word-Phrases: The words used in the sentences, are compatible with the genre & the soul of the sentence. I have read many authors that they just use the phrases and few words without thinking that if they are compatible in the sentence or not. They just tend to use them, just like that. This is an important aspect for me. I read closely. I have a very high IQ & very sharp photographic memory, so I also check for the unique words used in the book to see the versatility of the author and remember the count of total unique words used to judge the author’s vastness on their knowledge shown in the book.
- Characters: How can anyone read a book without feeling a connection to the characters? I can’t. For me having a special connection with the characters is very important. You may be surprised to know that I cry a lot in movies, TV series & books if the setting is very emotional. Yeah, I’m a male & I cry and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I’m a die hard romantic person, a romance sucker & full of unlimited chivalry and romantic gestures. Therefore, in the flow of the story, if the characters are feeling pain, I need to feel pain and if the characters are laughing, I need to laugh too. These small things are very important for me. One more thing that’s very important for me is how many characters are there in the book. In few books, there were too many characters and making a good story they actually created confusion. And if you are reading a book and have a confusion then the book will end drastically. I think you may agree with me on this point. What do you say? So there must be only important characters in the book not a bunch of useless & non-sense characters creating confusion.
- POV: Point-of-view [POV] is very important to me because it’s one of the things that create the soul of a book. The real soul and the spirit of the book that creates a connection, a real connection with the reader. If the author writing a single POV then okay, but things go sometimes southward when there is DUAL POV. In dual, the chances of creating a confusion for the reader is too easy. The point when POV changes, it can create a confusion at the same time. So keeping readers informed about current POV is very important. I have seen some authors do change with every new chapter and some just do in the flow like in between the paragraphs. Those who do change POV with the chapter are very safe but those who change the POV after a paragraph is very dangerous & critical. The real focus needs to be on the flow of the story & how the POV change going to affect the flow of the story that it shouldn’t get conflicted with the ongoing paragraph and the reader is not lost in the POV change over and in the end, the author tends to lose the reader completely.
- Plot: Plot is always necessary because it’s the nucleus of the story, like an atom. And the story completely revolves around the plot. For me the plot must be strong & justified, there is no definition what I search in the plot. Because it’s the plot which decides how interesting the story is going to be around that plot.
- Story-Scenes: This is directly related to the plot. But the thing is that it can also not relate to the plot. Because in some books I have seen the weak plot but the story and the way author wrote the scenes, dialogues are very good that you can say they just clicked the write spot in my heart. And on the contrary, I have seen just the opposite that there was a weak story based on a very strong and effective plot. I should feel a connection when I’m reading the scene, it may like I’m in the scene myself, living the story. The plot is like a base of a book and the story is like building built on it with the scenes can be called as the attractions and the dialogues can be mentioned as the amenities of the building. There can be no strong building built on a non-strong base and there will be no visitors or very fewer visitors if the building is not attractive, and hence no buyers. This is my way of thinking about these aspects.
- Dialogues: Last but not the least, a very integral part of the book. The characters when saying there dialogues must be like they are coming from a real person’s mouth. When we describe a cake and we saw layers upon layers in the middle and very beautiful created cake with the cherries on the top, in the same way, the dialogues are the cherries on the top for the book. If the dialogues are good then they make the scenes better and if the scenes are better they result in a great story.
Below are the standards on which I review a Non-Fiction Book:
- Facts: Writing non-fiction, I believe, is more difficult than writing a fiction because people know about facts. The real magic resides inside the facts. How good the author is in showing every face of the facts that people know and that the people don’t know. In fiction, a whole imaginary world is created but in Non-Fiction the world is the same we live in and the story is just out of that world. The authenticity of the facts, the relevance to the plot is important. Some authors write those facts in the book that are completely unnecessary and useless.
- True Plot: Plot is more important because it’s not the author creates, but what the author chooses. And doing justice to the plot and writing true facts and complete truth is very important. What, when and where happened! The very important “WH” family for a non-fiction book that decides the plot and the course of the facts revolving around it. The main difference behind the plot of fiction and non-fiction is that the fact is there on the plot of non-fiction and the imaginative story is created on the plot of a fiction.
Rest all the things are same as language and words-phrases. There is no dialogues or POV or the characters for judging a non-fiction book. I judge non-fiction books on basis of only four things, i.e., Facts, True Plot, Language & Words-Phrases. Whenever “Memoirs & Biographies” are concerned, I have my unique way to review them that I can’t explain. They are neither Fiction or the Non-Fiction because they are actually a person’s life history either told by them or by someone’s else. Therefore, I have completely different standards on reviewing them.