One of my New Yearâ€™s resolutions for 2007 was to read two books a month. Itâ€™s October and Iâ€™ve read seven books. I think I fell behind a bit. The author of â€œBeyond the Coverâ€ is up to 113 books that Crystal, the author, has read so far this year, and managed to post a review about each of them in this book review blog.
The first thing I saw when I arrived to this site was a eight option menu at the top of the screen that I dove right into. I need to know more about weblog writers before I start in with reading each post. I canâ€™t decide if itâ€™s morbid curiosity, or just a valid attempt at making some sort of connection with the author. Crystal provides the standard â€œaboutâ€ section, and includes some great additions like book recommendations sorted alphabetically by title, a list of her favorite authors, and a helpful explanation to her rating system.
Aesthetically, this is a very appropriate design-choice for the blogâ€™s focus. Itâ€™s a three-column layout, with images of books at the top of each side column. Aside from each book review, thereâ€™s a lot of extra information in the sidebars. Recent comments, archives by categories, a site search, and whatâ€™s becoming the popular additional of Google AdSense ads can be found while scrolling up and down the page. The author also provides several accommodating ways to sort through her reviews â€“ by rating, by author, and by genre. The layout is somehow formatted incorrectly on a few of the different menu links, but it seems to be nothing more than a slight CSS error and easily fixable.
Crystalâ€™s book reviews are why the blog exists and sheâ€™s been very consistent posting the reviews since March 2007, according to the archives. She keeps her reviews short and to the point, unlike my review of her weblog, and doesnâ€™t do anything at all in the way of spoiling the book for future readers. Sheâ€™s even received comments on the authors of some of the books sheâ€™s reviewed.
My biggest complaint, if you can even call it that, is the lack of inconvenience to read review after review. After reading one review, readers have to navigate back to a menu of different reviews instead of just going to the previous or next one.
Overall, this blog does what it has set out to do. I enjoyed reading the reviews, because Crystal got right to the point of each one. Anyone thatâ€™s looking for a new author to start reading or a new genre to explore will find this site both useful and enjoyable.