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Book Review Guidelines

Our book reviews are designed to give guidance to people interested in kinbaku and shibari to help them make decisions about what books are right for them.

Reviews should include:

An overall description of what kind of book it is (Photo, instructional, history) and some hogh level specfics. For example “It is a photo book with 87 pictures that cover a 10 year period. The photos are divided roughly evenly between color and B&W” of “An instruction manual that covers 12 different ties, ranging from very basic hands in front double column ties to a full body decorative tie.”

An overall summary of the content of the book. What does it cover? What perspective does the book take? How does it address different issues? Brief chapter of section summaries are useful in describing the book’s content. This should summarize the content at a fairly high level describing what each chapter sets out to accomplish.

Who is the audience for the book? Is it written for someone new or does it address issues that may require more experience? Is it written for a beginner or for someone who has been practicing for a while?

The style and accessibility of the writing. Is it well written? Easy to understand? Does it assume one has a lot of background or knowledge?

Assessment. Overall does the book accomplish what it sets out to do? Does it do it well? Are there areas missing or which could be strengthened? Are there things the book does especially well? Do you recommend this book? And if so, to whom?

Quality. Is the book well written and well produced? Are the photos well done and clear? Are photos and illustrations large enough to be useful for following along? If it is an art book are the colors and images well produced?

Final summary. Bring together in a final paragraph you thoughts about the book and help it find the right audience. “If you are interested in kinbaku and just getting started then this book will be a good introduction.” Or “For experienced practitioners, you will find lots of tips to really improve your rope scenes.” Or “This is a beautiful collection of images that do a great job of showcases the care and affection that they show in their rope.”

Overall tone. While we do encourage constructive criticism in reviews as well as creating reasonable expectations for the reader, we like maintain an overall positive tone and find what is best in each book for the audience that might find it useful. Most books produced in the rope community are “labors of love” and frequently are written for smaller or niche audiences. Our reviews are intended to help those audiences find the right books for their interest and level of experience.

Philosophical critiques or debates about schools, styles, or the nature of kinbaku are welcome as article and opinion pieces but are not appropriate as reviews.