Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Age Book Reviews

The Next Generation

For those of you who don't know, the picture you see above is known as a "meme." They hit the internet sometime in the recent past and have continued to be used for all types of situations, mostly to make fun of other things on the internet or to emphasize a certain emotion.

Philip J. Fry from Futurama is emphasizing my confusion as to whether or not memes and their video brothers, GIFs, should be included in book reviews.

Yes, include these often times sarcastic, overly dramatic, and misunderstood by many memes and GIFs into a book review.


I read about it in this article for my literary citizenship class. At first, I didn't believe that it was a serious thing. I only knew memes from Facebook or Tumblr. I didn't think it should be in something as serious as a book review.

My main reason is because I know that I, as the reviewer, would want to be taken seriously. I feel like the use of something as casual as a GIF or meme could be misconstrued as a mockery of the book, not taking the job of being a reviewer with as much weight as it should be.

I wouldn't want to work hard on a review, toss in a meme, and then be discredited.

Others, though, saw the value in memes. 

Some classmates/Twitter acquaintances said that it would depend on the type of book being reviewed.

For instance, a YA book might lend itself to using a meme or some kind of reaction GIF in the review to help convey an overall feeling about the book or to portray what kind of humor might be within the pages whereas a thriller novel for adults would not.

To Use or NOT To Use

That is the question.

The jury is still out on GIFs and memes, therefore, use good judgment, Hamlet. 

Really think about whether the meme will be distracting and take away from what you're trying to say...

Or if it will really help you get a point across. 

The most important thing is that your intended message in your review get across. 

What Do You Think?

So what do you think about the inclusion--or exclusion--of memes and GIFs in reviews?

The review of the future....or just a distraction from the "prestige" of review writing?

"Condescending Wonka"


  1. I don't really have an opinion about whether or not they should be used, but I guess a review using a meme or gif would not seem as serious to me. I agree that it might work for a book that is maybe a little more self-aware or YA or something. But, also, you mentioned Hamlet and now I'm imagining someone like "Hamlet's indecisiveness made me feel like [gif of Kermit the frog flipping out]." I don't know, maybe that's only funny to me.

  2. I really enjoyed this blog post, Liz. Nice job incorporating a question at the end to encourage more people to comment.

    I'm of the opinion that memes and GIFs, though effective in conveying emotion over social media, indicate the reviewer cannot get their message across without outside assistance. A quality review is able to stand on its own. Throwing in a meme just comes across as unprofessional.

  3. Hahahaha. Using memes and Gifs in book reviews? That's hilarious. I've long been a lurker on Reddit, and the idea of incorporating these memes/reaction gifs into anymore than a running string of jokes seems like a silly idea to me. To each his own, though.