Saturday, 31 January 2015

I love book reviews

I love reading book reviews. I don't believe in the concept of 'objective reading': there is no one 'true' way to read a book because a book isn't an objective reality of its own. A book is different to every reader - changed by their memories and associations and motivations, the mental and emotional state they're in when they read it. Think of a book you've read again and again. Every reading is a completely different experience. The text hasn't changed but, for you, the book has changed.

So I love reading book reviews. They're an insight into a book as it was read by the reviewer. I enjoy reviews for books I haven't read - adding and comparing the different readings to create a collage of what I may expect from reading the book myself. But most of all, I enjoy reading reviews for books I have read. I compare different reading experiences, marvel at the difference of reading, and gain insight into my own experience. I think this is a similar motivation to my love of 'headcanon' and the idea of fanfiction.

Very important to me is is the belief that everyone deserves a voice - I'm greatly in favor of blogging and self-publishing, as well as reviewing. I love that the internet lets us break down the bottleneck of traditional publishing and limited shelf space to allow more voices to be heard. Book reviewing no longer belongs only to select magazine and newspaper writers.

I also love writing book reviews. I love sharing my interpretation of a book. But I also love the act of writing a review, and how it changes my own perception of a book: even thinking about writing a review changes how I read a book while I'm reading it.

I love writing reviews but, like all writing to me, it's also difficult and exhausting and anxiety-ridden. Even blog posts are very difficult for me to write - this is why you see so few posts from me. Even if I manage to struggle an idea to completion, I worry that it's not 'good' enough to share. I'm working to overcome that fear. If you're reading this then - yay! - I've succeeded, and you're a valuable part of the process. I appreciate it!

Writing is fraught with difficulties, but it's always worth the effort and I'm always glad I did it. I'm trying to cultivate a habit of writing book reviews. I hope I'm not alone in enjoying reviews penned by authors, and I hope that others will enjoy my insights and perspective. I also like feeling that I'm 'giving something back' - adding to the conversation around books which is especially crucial to small genres.

My ultimate goal is to write a book review every week. I haven't reached that goal yet, but even my every-few-weeks attempt has taught me a lot and, I hope, has added something to the conversation. Since I decided to attempt more reviews, I've written four with a total of over 2.5k words.

In the future I'd like to write reviews for books which are less popular, to increase the value of my contribution to the community and also to broaden the scope of my reading within the genre.

Here are the four reviews I have written since I decided to attempt more reviews:

Blood Bonds by Kayla Bain-Vrba

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