I originally wrote reviews for this page which appeared on Sundays. I stopped for awhile for a number of reasons, but then Mandi asked me to come back and I thought about it. Why do I review books? What is that about?
Different reviewers will give you different reasons. Some people review books because they just plain like talking about books. Others want to get their names out there and into the publishing world by any means necessary. There are those who want free books, and in the past having book review site was the way to do that. Then there are those who want to bring books they love to a wider audience.
Why do I review books? Not for free books…I think in the time I’ve done this I’ve gotten a grand total of 10 free books, all from indie authors. There has never been a “hey, here’s the hottest novel of the summer three months early” moment. Nor do I want there to be. I don’t need for publishing to notice me via reviews. My reviews have very little in common with the work I hope to publish. It would be like getting someone to come to my restaurant by offering them a cold drink.
I do love talking about books. I love telling people about books. I love discussing books.
But most of all…I was a travel agent many moons ago and I’ve never gotten over the pleasure of giving someone a way to escape from the grit of their life. I remember booking tickets–I booked thousands of tickets–and there was more often than not a joy there when people were planning to fly. Going home to see mom, going to visit the baseball hall of fame, going home for Thanksgiving…no matter what it was it was a chance to get away. And it was always several hundred dollars.
Books are cheap. For a dollar or three you can take a few hours to a whole new place, an old familiar place, a scary place or a happy place. You can meet interesting new people or hang out with old friends.
Even though books are cheap, I know from experience that there’s nothing worse than a bad trip. And our free time is precious. So even if the five dollars won’t crater your budget, I know you don’t want to lose an afternoon hanging out in a bad neighbourhood. And that’s why I review books. I’m still a travel agent. I’m just trying to book your ticket to the right place. So when you see a review from me it’s going to be _about your trip_. It’s not going to be about me getting my name in front of literary agents and it’s not going to be about me getting free books. It’s about what I’m doing for you.
That’s what I’m doing here, and that’s what I hope to be able to do here for a good long time.
Stay tuned for a review of the Best Sci Fi Book I’ve read this year and a little essay about the most disappointing Sci Fi book I’ve ever read in my life. Those are coming up later today.