Saturday, January 07, 2012

Literary Blog Hop: Research

Literary Blog HopIt's that time again.  Once again I'm participating in the Literary Blog Hop, hosted by The Blue Bookcase.  This month's question is this:

Do you like to supplement your reading with outside sources, like Sparknotes, academic articles, or other bloggers' reviews? Why or why not? 

I typically don't look at any outside sources while I'm actually reading the book.  Once I'm finished and I've got a good feeling for what I want to say about the book I'll jot down some notes, write my quick GoodReads review, and then I'll run out in the internet and see what everyone else thought.  This is the research for my review.

Typically I'm looking for a few things:
  1. Some ideas on how to summarize the plot if it's particularly tricky.
  2. Verify that I basically understood the book and that I didn't miss any Big Ideas
  3. If I can find an academic article then I'm all over that like white on rice
  4. Author interviews for that extra bit of insight.
I don't think I've ever read a Sparknote(s).  Is that like CliffsNotes?

I have to be a little careful with this stuff because I don't want to be too influenced by what anyone else has to say about a particular novel.  There are those times when I'm not sure what I want to say in a review and that's often because I missing some kind of context.  For example, in my review of Georges Simenon's The Train, I spent a lot of time reading interviews and hunting down the original New York Times review.  Only some of that research made it into my review, but it gave me the confidence to write about it.

What about you?  Do you supplement your reading with outside sources?

No comments: