Discussing Books

I am not a book reviewer.

Frankly I think this would be conflict of interests and I could never give a truly honest review because I am too involved in the industry. As an author, other authors are my people – I like them and understand them and I have no interest in tearing them down or putting them through a public evaluative process. On the other hand, if I only were to give positive reviews, that in itself wouldn’t make me much of a reviewer and much more of a promoter – which I am more than fine with.

I am also not a book reviewer because on the scale of reader to writer, I am far more writer than I am reader and my point of view about books is not really what a reader wants to know when they are questioning whether to pick up a certain book or not. That doesn’t at all mean I engage in some kind of higher form of reading – in fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that the opposite is true.

Reading simply isn’t a pure experience for me. I think about books in terms of craft for more than in terms of enjoyment. I compare them to my own books and ideas, I contemplate the implications of female characters vs. male ones, of purpose and achievements, I find myself wondering how much is intention and how successful the authors was in getting it across. It’s a little bit like policemen can’t really enjoy crime shows or nurses Grey’s Anatomy the same way regular people can. Not all authors feel that way at all of course, but I do.

However, I am still a reader. Reading fuels me and it gives me my very best ideas, just because I read with a different eye. I learn from almost every book I read, just because my brain won’t shut up and forces me to analyze what is working for me and what isn’t. And yes, I have a lot of feelings about books – feelings I want to write about because that’s what I do. I have feelings and I put them into words. Reading a book without writing about it at all makes me feel unsettled and like I am only partaking in half the reading experience.

So I have decided that going forward, I want to blog about the things that these books taught me, the discussions and epiphanies, the leaps in understanding and skill that spawned from their pages. And not about quantifiable evaluations of enjoyment.

Stay tuned for my first book-inspired craft chat: John Green’s Looking for Alaska – or what the heck is a Manic Pixie Dreamgirl anyway?

2 Comments

  1. Oh, did you see that John Green addressed the question in one of his swoodilipoopers videos?

    • Yes I did :). But as the author, he has to be so diplomatic of other people’s opinions and I also don’t agree with everything exactly.

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