Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who are the readers of book reviews?

Today, I was reading a comment that someone made about my review of Magic Squares and the Tree of Life; it reminded me how hard it is to write book reviews and please everybody (the same holds for articles, lessons, and books).

Especially if you are trying to address the entire range of possible readers.

In the case of this book, the range was from true neophyte to advanced adept. Any review that excludes a section of the audience is incomplete, but any review that attempts to be complete is going to upset those who do not realize that you are trying to address the review towards the entire audience.

I will admit with this review I leaned towards the complete neophyte. Of course, part of the reason for that is it takes time to create a magic square of this size, and months (if not years) to properly evaluate whether it actually delivers.

And in the end, this is the review that I think needed to be written. It is not the adept that needs to be warned that this book is an instruction manual requiring a lot of work to be completed; it is the complete neophyte that needs to know that their money is better spent elsewhere.

Maybe I made the wrong call, but I stand behind the review I wrote.


Frater Yechidah said...

To answer your title question:

Readers of books! ;)

Unfortunately, you can never please everyone, and sometimes it's the duty of the reviewer to not please the author of the book so that a more truthful review can be given.

I think your review is good. The 100x100 magic square sounds really interesting, but I'd expect to get more from a book than just a method of drawing it.


Sincerus Renatus... said...

I find your resoning a bit strange Morgan. So, bascially you would dismiss a book like 'The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage' just because there's only a handful of Magician capable in performing the 6 months operation? And why not dismiss books like 'The Marrow of Alchemy', or 'Triumphal chariot of Antimony', or any old alchemical manuscript of choice?

They were all made for Adepts and Masters of the Art, not for beginners. Still beginners do read them, and become tantilized. It gives them incintament to persue their studies so that they some day may ulravel the mysteries contained in these books.

I'm glad that there are authors like Ninevah who write books for advanced practitioners and present something new and unique for a change. I'm tired of authors trying to explain why and how magic works, instead of showing me new and advanced formulas.

Regarding the use of it. Well, what are one to do with the Red Powder if one should be able to produce it some day?

What are you supposed to do with a kamea which is supposed to contain the secret and lost name of God?

Figure that our for yourself. If you cannot even imagine the possibilites of such an operation, I can understand your lack of appreciation of such a book.