Someone asked the other day why I post these book lists as “lists” instead of reviewing the books that I read. It’s a good question and here’s the answer.
I’m not good at writing book reviews. Sure, I write board game reviews all the time over on iSlaytheDragon.com, but books are different. I guess, to my mind, reading is such a personal thing that there’s really nothing I can say about a book that will help someone know whether or not to read it. What I like isn’t at all the same as what you might like. And, even if we like the same books, what we like about them might be vastly different. I might adore the characters while you prefer the story, for example. And the books that I don’t like are often loved by other people, so my saying negative things based on my own experience isn’t really fair to the author/book, or helpful to those who might love it.
I have tons of respect for good book reviewers, those gifted people who can present a book fairly and cite what they liked/didn’t like and why, and present it all in such a way that the reader walks away informed, but not either overly discouraged or riding the hype train. Unfortunately, that isn’t me, so I stay out of the reviewing game.
As to why I even bother with these lists, partly it’s because it creates a chronicle for me of what I’ve read over time. I include my comments as to why I picked that particular book so that I can look back and say, “Oh, yeah, I remember when I was going through such-and-such and really wanted to read about Subject X.” Or so I can say, “Oh, I read the first book in that series and it was so good. Is the second one out, yet?” It also lets my readers in on a little of my personal life as tracked through books, and maybe people looking for books on similar topics might find something to look into further.
Plus, sometimes people just like to know what other people are reading, even if the reader can’t bring herself to review it! I know I like to see other people’s reading lists, even if I know that nothing on there will appeal to me, personally. Book voyeurism!
- The View from the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman. I enjoy Gaiman’s fiction, so this collection of essays was a must-try. He tackles a variety of topics, from comics to travel. He’s usually pretty funny and biting, so I hope this will be amusing.
- Publishing 101, by Jane Friedman. Yes, I may be published, but I’m always looking for new tips on marketing and growing my career. I enjoy Friedman’s blog and have a lot of respect for her opinions and advice. If there’s even one nugget of new information in here, it will have been worth the wait on the library’s hold list.