I decided for this post to bundle together a number of different kinds of reviews, though admittedly there is much more to say on these than could be encapsulated in a short post. There are entire degree programs teaching these deceptively simple skills, and writing a good review is certainly an art all its own. There is no single, steadfast formula to follow when reviewing, and it's always a good idea to be responsive to the particular subject, be it a book, movie, restaurant, art work, band, etc..

There are, however, some fairly obvious conventions of any kind of review. It makes sense to tell the name, title, or designation of whatever you are reviewing. Also it's a good idea to name the writer, chef, artist, director, or otherwise important people involved. Most reviews will offer an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the particular subject, and compare it to similar things in its particular field. But in my opinion, the most important element of a good review is to say what you think, what you like or dislike, and if you would recommend this to others. After all, it's your opinion that the reader is interested in here. What follows are some links to sites that may be of interest as examples of reviews. I have linked some commercial sites and some independent reviewers for each category.

Restaurant Review Links

Restaurant Thing -- Offers thousands of reviews, but only in English speaking countries. Unfortunately this means that restaurants in France (and everywhere else in the world) are off the list!

Andy Hayler's Michelin Restaurants Guide -- It may seem odd, but Michelin (yes the tire company) sponsors a rating of the "finest" restaurants in the world. On Andy's site you can read reviews of some of these restaurants, but if you're interested in going to one yourself, make sure you have lots of $$$. Some of these reviews are, frankly, rife with snobbery, but fun to read all the same.

Burrito Blog -- Yeah, you guessed it... this blog reviews only burritos and places that sell burritos. It is not a coincidence that I put this next to the reviews of the Michelin restaurants.

7-West Cafe -- This is an unconventional review of a restaurant I worked at in Toronto.

Book Review Links -- has a searchable index of thousands of book reviews.

GoodReads -- GoodReads is a site where individuals offer their thoughts on most any book you can name.

Kristin's Book Blog -- Kristin has been reviewing books on her blog since 2005. She has a fascinating project underway to review the Modern Library top 100 books of the 20th century. She is over half way there. New reviews appear on her site weekly.

Novel Readings -- Rohan is an English professor and literary critic. Her reviews are extremely nuanced, and she balances dense detail with a lively wit and quick sense of humor.

Movie and TV Review Links

Internet Movie Database -- No explanation needed. This is likely the biggest movie review and information site on the internet.

Rotten Tomatoes -- Offers new movie reviews and previews

Tassoula's Movie Review Blog -- A blog maintained by an independent film critic from Seattle.

Tv-series and videos -- A site kept up by Julius from Sweden. He has been blogging for only a month now, but has reviewed many of his favorite shows.

Music Review Links

Metacritic -- Metacritic reviews new releases of music, as well as films, games, and television.

Rolling Stone -- Sometimes there seems to be more advertisements than reviews, but Rolling Stone is one of the industry pillars for music reviews.

MW Music Review Blog -- And independent music reviewer from Ottawa, mostly interested in Indie.

Of course, there are many other kinds of reviews that you might want to do. The links above are only meant to provide some ideas of the diversity of reviews you might like to try. It's also interesting to see the similarities between all these different types of reviews, how they share many of the same general conventions. If you decide to try a review, leave me a comment so I can check it out, and if you find a great place for burritos, be sure and let the reviewers at Burrito Blog know... we wouldn't want them to miss it!


Harlequin said...

I have a nefarious review in mind.... brewing right now, but should be cooked in a few days.... will let you know when it is ...ready.Hah!!

December 19, 2009 at 11:13 AM
Harlequin said...

and, it is ready... thanks for the prompt; I had lots of fun with this. Now, I am onto a letter.....hmmm

December 26, 2009 at 12:47 PM