Why do you review?
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I am an avid reader and write reviews for several reasons:
to evaluate what I liked about a book
to share the great books I find with others
to get free books :-)
Are there other reviewers out there who have other reasons?
to up the profile of a book I like that has few or no reviews so far.
to disagree with reviews posted by others (politely, of course)
Hmmm ... I never thought of going for the free book angle!
I started reviewing books once I got back into reading seriously (oddly, when I was running my own publishing company, I read nothing other than submitted manuscripts!) ... I suspect it was initially to provide fodder for my LiveJournal, but it got to be something "I just did" every time I finished a book.
I've recently started a separate blog just for my reviews, which is what I use (the specific entry URLs) for the "review" field on L.T.
I review in part because it allows me a way to think critically about what I have read and express these thoughts in a clear manner. It's as much about organizing my own thoughts as it is about providing fodder for interested readers. Nothing helps me understand why I did or did not enjoy something better than reviewing it.
I publish reviews of books (and other items) on a site I run. I also publish some other creative writing drivel of mild interest.
My current project is to review every book I have read from January 2006 onward. I've just about caught up to myself.
I remember what it was like before I had read deeply, so I offer comments aimed at helping folks find a way through the clutter.
Sort of off topic: your first entry in Live Journal is dated 2012. How did you do that? It's kind of cool!
It is interesting you made a blog for your reviews. Mine appear in several web publications and one print, which I list on my web page and I am using my LibraryThing account to keep track of what I have reviewed. Mostly science fiction and fantasy, although I am considering putting up reviews for histories. I just finished David McCullough's The Johnstown Flood and feel that urge to comment on it.
I first began keeping a book journal back in 1993 or so, simply because my memory was, and continues to be, awful. With this journal I can "remember" if I liked a particular book or author. Without it, a book really has to make an impression to stick inside my head. Recently I've started to post these journal entries to a new blog - http://www.thebookmarque.blogspot.com - where maybe they can be useful to others.
"your first entry in Live Journal is dated 2012. How did you do that? It's kind of cool!"
Ah, that's a standard LiveJournal trick ... you can edit the time/date on any entries, so if you want an entry to stay up top, you just tack on a date far into the future (so I picked the end of the Mayan calendar). Once you have that set, all subsequent "real time" entries slot in at the #2 spot.
I first thought of creating a blog site where I could review movies because all of the "professional" movie reviewers give terrible reviews to all of the movies that I like. Only the "thinker" movies get good reviews and anything actually entertaining gets trashed. But, I don't have time for that. So, I've resorted to giving reviews on the books that I've read. Plus, I have oppinions and I like to share them.
This looks like a good place to plug the Harper-Collins First Look program, at http://www.harpercollins.com/members/firstlook/index.aspx .
You must register, indicate your preferences, and then vie for the opportunity to review a title by writing a short summary to explain why you are interested.
It took two tries before I was given the opportunity to review my first book. Befire I'd finished it, I was sent a second book. I gave the first title a mixed review, but I really enjoyed the second book, Dawn of Empire by Sam Barone.
Maybe my first review put them off, because there have been two additional drawings and I have not received another title.
Anyway, if you like to review, most publishers have similar programs.
Wow ... that's a cool feature on the Harper Collins site ... I just went and signed up!
However, your link got screwed up a bit (somehow it ended up with couple of line breaks and the start of your next sentence as part of the URL!) ... so HERE is a "clean" version.
Like professionally? I'm not, but I review a lot of books on my site that don't get much attention elsewhere.
Honsestly, I started a blog to get my feet wet in web design, but then it was like, "Oh my god, I actually have to write!" I started writing book reviews because I read a lot and people tell me I have "interesting" (read: weird) taste in books.
I work for the Government so there's not much to do in the way of creative writing. (Just a lot of spreadsheets and and scads of e-mail). USed to run an intranet website where I would review books and write editorials but was brought down due to some memo from Homeland Security! Terrorists ya know! So I started writing Amazon reviews to keep my writing skills--sharp (such as they are). I find them difficult to do . . . because I am writing for an audience (so being "lucid" matters!) as opposed to a blog which is more of a stream-of-conciousness thing for me. But the challenge keeps me on my toes. And I like the idea of having a teensy bit of myself on the Net. And that's the whole sad story.
14ElizabethRoss First Message
I review because I must. My online publication carries reviews that include possible uses for books in classrooms (high percentage of the readers are educators). We also consider the promotion of new voices part of our mission.
"I picked the end of the Mayan calendar" - excellent ! I like the cool way you just drop that out, in the same way other people say "I bought some apples" or "I drank some beer". Good stuff.
As to why review ? My reasons may differ slightly from others. I notice a lot of you have relatively profound reasons, whereas I`m just showing off !
Seriously, I`m using LT to catalogue my W E B Du Bois collection as a hobby whilst we decide whether to use it for business purposes at a later date. It`s a small step from that to adding in reviews as well.
Being on the computer for quite long periods listing books, I like to drop in and out of LT between listings sometimes to make life more varied.
As regards Du Bois, I suppose I do hope it will help those who might fancy trying one of his books to find the right one for them.
SimomW11 - Hee hee! Yes, those reviewer groupies are everywhere. And they even come in both genders!
SimonW11 and ccah
Yes, I reckon it`s the glamour that draws them.
I've started reviewing stories so that I can better remember what I've read. My memory is atrocious so it's nice to have a way to go back, look at my review and remember the book. Before Librarything I very rarely ever wrote reviews, probably only one or two. The problem is I have to write the review almost immediately after finishing a book or I forget everything.
I'd like to think that the content of my reviews has gotten progressively better as time has gone on. Is it weird to say that I really enjoy going back and reading my own reviews?
I've even started posting more reviews on my myspace blog and on amazon. It's turning into quite a hobby!
Writing reviews generally deepens my understanding of what I have read. At the same time, it often helps me clarify ideas for my own literary projects.
I read an awful lot, and sometimes I can get really worked up about a book and need to write about what got me so worked up. Then I realised that the writing helped me get my thoughts organized--exactly why I hated this book, why that one worked, and so on. A lot of the time, I come to appreciate a good book more, and became more objective as I strive to understand what worked and what didn't in a story.
It's good exercise for those who enjoy writing--you get to flex your analytical muscles, and at the same time delve into the intricacies of crafting a story.
My reviews began simply as a way for me to keep track of what I read and remember what I read, including my thoughts about the books I read. It soon became a regular part of my reading process and is sort of a way for me to debrief after each book wherein I organize my thoughts and jot them down. I keep a lit blog which is devoted to my reading experiences mostly, where I post my reviews.
About a year ago I discovered a couple of websites that offered free books in exchange for reviews, and I decided to give that a try. I thought it might help curb my book buying habit (it hasn't) and help me improve my writing skills (an ongoing process).
I was really nervous for a long time about sharing my reviews with others, but it's turned out to be a great way to meet other readers like myself.
Overall, I do it because I enjoy it. I won't pretend I'm any good at it. I'm certainly not planning on giving up my day job anytime soon, that's for sure.
I think that if the book we are reading does not wake or startle us, as with a fist hammering on our media-drudged skull, why then do we read it? Unless, of course, it's your job. Good god would we be happy if we with our blogcrazed, textwhacked and computerjunked society had no books? What if our childrens' children just say no to books? They pass laws saying that its (bookmaking) is a waste of our precious resources. What if they ban our Holy Bible in order to save the rain forest. I miss my books already. I weep for the unwritten.Somebody's Opus Magnum. So, in conclusion I would like to share with you our two defences against book genicide. 1. We need to read tons and tons of great books (not crap) to our children.If we do this they will get rid of all their techno-crap and telivisions and beg us to read to them. 2. We need to stop worring about the spotted owl and start worring about our educating our future scientists, and engineers, and teachers, and doctors,and artists and on and on...so they will write better books.
I like to read reviews when trying to decide whether to try a book (although not ones that give away the whole story and/or the ending!), so I decided to start giving back, and doing my own.
It's now taking on a life of it's own.. I run a book forum, and I've started a group review blog with some of the members. The cool thing is that we're now starting to receive free books, from both authors and publishers. :)
I do it to organise my own thoughts out what I've just read, and also to use as future aide memoires about books. In other words, it is purely selfish.
A friend and I used to read the same books at the same time, meeting for coffee and discussing them every week as we went. When we couldn't continue, I missed talking to someone about books. So I started reviewing them on my blog carp(e) libris reviews. I also enjoy the free books! Have to feed the addiction somehow, and I was reading us out of house and home. It's wonderful to hear from authors and publishers who are grateful for the exposure. (I focus on indie presses. Great fun!)
It's the least I can do to replay the LibraryThing community for the hours of pleasure this site gives me.
I'm a writer of fiction and, since grad school, have read books with an eye towards how to create them. One of my professors and many of my fellow writing workshop classmates said I had a keen sense for writing about stories. And so, after I was done having babies, I signed up for an online magazine writing class through Stanford, wrote my first real book review, my instructor linked me up with the editor of a monthly ezine and I've been reviewing for them, happily, ever since. I use my LibraryThing reviews to practice writing brief reviews (my ezine pieces are always 2000+ words) and use my blog to track my thoughts about books as I'm reading them, thoughts I often later use in the final reviews. Whew! I think I strayed here and answered the question: what is your reviewing history? Apologies all around.
I started writing reviews for a very selfish reason. A friend had been reading my blog and asked me to start writing reviews for her media company. They got books from authors and placed them in the hands of bloggers to read and review. So I started writing reviews to get free books. Didn't get very many from her group (I think probably seven or eight total), but she got me started at Blogcritics.org, and I've gotten a TON of stuff from them.
It's turned out to be a lot of fun, and I'd do it now even if I stopped getting freebies (but don't tell teh publicists that!). And I've found some great books I never would have picked up otherwise.
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