Book reviews with GIFs, those tiny videos that play over and over, are rather controversial among the old guard of book reviewers. Read Laura Miller’s insightful and informative piece. Start with the excerpt below.
“The GIFs and images used in the two reviews are, like the vast majority of visual elements cropping up in reviews and other critical discussions online, reaction GIFs: looped clips taken from commercially produced film and television, often featuring popular actors such as Emma Stone or Jennifer Lawrence rolling their eyes, gaping in astonishment, jumping with glee, shrugging their shoulders. They serve to underline the reviewer’s point, rather than to make it, and they can come across as exaggerated and sarcastic, even bratty. But so what? It’s not as if traditionally published professional book reviews haven’t been equally harsh at times, and in this case, the reviews are highly attuned to their intended audience with its densely networked language of cultural references. Besides, as longtime Goodreads member Ceridwen (who doesn’t use images or GIFs herself) explained to me in an email, ‘These reviews often use the very same critical tools found in professional reviews — parsing of character and tone, close reading, comparison with other works or larger cultural positioning — [but] there’s no fiction of critical distance, and the emotional reaction is as important as the aesthetic one.'” >more