Novel Novice doesn’t only post book reviews, and I like that. It lets me learn about literature-related news (like the Huck Finn scandal a few weeks ago), the weekly NYT bestselling titles list, and movie news about my favorite books; which I normally don’t expend the effort of staying up to date with, because I don’t know where to find the information without wading through news about the most recent discovery in chemical bonds or the economic state of Monaco. My library, even though large and full of books, doesn’t really bring a lot of attention to interesting news, like Banned Books Week; it was after I learned about it on Novel Novice that I finally noticed the really small bookshelf by the nonfiction books about Banned Books. The bookshelf doesn’t really feature many interesting things: “learn about the solar system” and “horror books for the horror lovers”; not really my sort of thing. (Three weeks of nightmares after a three minute horror trailer in the theaters? No, horror is definitely not my thing.)
The way Novel Novice focuses on one book at a time and delves into it so that readers can think more about the book is considerably more helpful than having a review and then never mentioning the book again; there’s something frustrating about only being able to find reviews, instead of discussions and debates, of amazing books that have debatable endings and mysterious characters. The commenters (and bloggers, naturally) of Novel Novice are not only are intelligent and bring up good points but they’re also civil, which spares me the frustration of reading flames written with appalling grammar and vocabulary. (I correct essays for a middle school teacher, and there is nothing more irksome than seeing “you” replaced by “u”; “and” by “&”; and thesis statements followed by “!!!!!!!!”.)
These discussions and the questions provided are extremely helpful, as they make me think, and they open my eyes toward deeper meanings hidden in the text; most of the questions I ask myself as I read (“What was the author thinking when s/he wrote this scene?” “Why is [object] mentioned so much? What does it represent?” “What is this character’s good traits and bad traits? Is s/he overall good or evil?”) are the type of questions one should be asking when one is reading classics, too, and by unconsciously asking these questions and probing for the answers, I can discover symbols and themes on my own and mature as a reader.
Clearly, Novel Novice is doing something right.