The First of Many Opportunities to Befuddle Random Strangers and Prove That I'm a Little Insane!!
Wow, okay, if you're here, you're way more interested in me than my life warrants, trust me. Still, I can say a few words to better introduce myself, I suppose, though I'm far more comfortable reviewing a book than discussing myself, so please, bear with me.
*Waves and grins*
Yup. That's the end of the "discussing myself" portion of the evening, let's move along...
By now you may have noticed that I read a lot. It's true. I do. It's my primary form of entertainment, as I don't watch much television and I prefer books to movies. That, along with the speed with which I read, means I go through a full length novel in a day, day and a half. There are always exceptions, of course, but that's the norm. I'm not bragging - in fact, it's rather a sad commentary on my utter lack of a social life that I read about five novels a week.When you throw novellas into the mix, I could easily read and review ten stories. I try to keep that number to around six.
This whole reviewing this is relatively new to me, too. I blame my Kindle. Used to be I'd spend an hour or more carefully pouring over the books at the bookstore or closest Wal-Mart. I favor paranormal romance and urban fantasy...obviously (you have checked the Genre section of OGBDA, right?)...but in truth I'll read just about anything (except self-help books - they read like stereo instructions, and not even I am that dedicated). Sometimes an author drew me, or a particularly impressive cover, but once I had that hot little book of goodness in my hand, I'd spend time with it. I'd read the blurb on the back cover or inside flap to find out what the book was about, I'd read any commentary from other authors at the beginning, and of course, the dedication page.
I've read every dedication page in every book I've read for the past twenty years. It's a thing. I figure if an author went to all the trouble of writing a book for me (yeah, I know, they get a paycheck, but I'm the one reading the book, and in those moments, I'm the one that matters - you are, too), the least I can do is acknowledge the people in the author's life that had influence on that story.
Hey...I never said I was sane. Sane is not in the contract. And just to clarify, neither is 'normal,' 'well-balanced,' or 'free of contradiction.' If you've read more than a few of my reviews, that last one will make more sense.
Darn it! I digressed again, didn't I? Sorry about that. It's a nasty habit of mine. Where was I?
Oh - right - how I got started on reviewing!
So anyway, before I spent my hard earned money on a book, I spent time with it to increase the likelihood that it would be worth the price and the space it would take up on my burgeoning bookshelves. Money's always an issue, but there's also just so much room you have to store books when you've got a reading appetite like mine and a propensity to hold onto the books once they're read (I'm also more apt to re-read books in the financially lean times. And when I was younger, I had a lot of those). Then one day, just about two and a half years ago, now, I got myself a Kindle. It was the best birthday present I've ever gotten. It's the best present of any sort I've ever gotten.
Hey...just because I bought it for myself doesn't make it any less a gift, believe me! No more than buying it two weeks before my birthday does, so hush! Do you want to hear this story or not?
Regardless, I got my Kindle and quickly realized that there was going to be an adjustment period. No, I didn't have to adjust to the screen instead of paper in my hand, or flipping electronic pages instead of paper ones. Those were all relatively seamless adjustments. I love my Kindle and now have a hard time reading anything in hard copy. No, where the true adjustment pangs were for me was that I didn't have a book to spend time with any longer before I bought it. Sure, I read the book descriptions on Amazon.com and yeah, I can download a sample...but even if the book description is verbatim from the back of the novel, and even if the sample lets me start a chapter or two and I can still get that acknowledgement page, I had a hard time deciding where my money was best spent.
I don't know why, really. Maybe it was the lack of cover art (some Kindle books have it, but it's not the same) or some kind of weird muscle memory rejection after years and years of hunting for good reads as diligently and patiently as a lion on the veld hunts impala. Whatever the reason, what I was doing wasn't working for me. And I bet you can see where this is going, but I'm driving you there anyway. What ended up saving me from the dire consequences of book withdrawal and aimless wanderings through Amazon.com's gray pages hoping for a miracle were the reviews. For the first time, I paid attention to them. I read them...in some cases, on some books, all of them - and in some cases, on some books, that's a heck of a lot of reviews. I became as maniacally diligent in review perusal as I used to be when scanning author's recommendations, commendations, and summaries when I had a book in hand.
The inevitable happened, of course. That's sort of the definition of the word, isn't it? In this case I mean I started to realize how many reviews were completely unhelpful for my needs. But I also realized how many wrote intelligent, discerning reviews, and quickly came to appreciate just valuable their commentary is to people like me. I decided to add my thoughts and impressions of books out of a genuine sense of goodwill towards my fellow reader, and a selfless determination to help those who either can't afford a book they could have easily realized wasn't for them if it had been reviewed by a like minded and kindhearted soul.
Okay, that last part's mostly claptrap. Truth is, I'm really flippin' opinionated and I enjoy writing.
The reviews were manna from heaven, though - I wasn't kidding about that. I needed them. And I figured if I did, then maybe someone else would too.
So the seeds were sown. I started out rocky, and I started out only reviewing on Amazon - and even then only when my opinion and thoughts on a book differed from the majority of other reviewers and I felt that my input could add to the big picture of the book as a whole. After Amazon, I started posting my reviews on my Shelfari account, too (I can't get enough of those bookshelves - I fill them and fill them and they just keep growing!! I love that!). And oddly enough, some of my reviews started to be pretty well received in both places, though Amazon.com has a more tangible way of keeping track of that. That's not always a good thing, but I'll have more commentary on that matter on my Musings page...as soon as I write it.
I wasn't as obsessive about reviewing when I started, though. I mostly only reviewed the stuff I really liked. You have to have noticed by now that I don't tend to write anything succinctly. Reviews especially. Some of them take me several hours to hash out (I'm wordy and I'm a perfectionist - aren't you glad you're not me?) and even the shortest takes at least an hour. I didn't have the commitment (see also: obsessive compulsive zeal) to write one for everything I read. Then, one day, very early into this year, I did.
Yeah, I know why, but the reason makes me sound like a total nutjob and you don't know me well enough yet to realize that I really am a nutjob, so I'm not telling you the reason. Maybe once we've known each other a while and you're firmly entrenched in the fact that I'm out of my frickin' mind, so knowing the reason won't lesson your opinion of me...
Nah - still too risky.
I wrote my first review on July 29th, 2009, five months after I first got my Kindle. I posted it on Amazon.com. On January 29th of this year, due to reasons that will still remain my own (hey, just seconds ago I told you I wasn't going to tell you - surely you didn't think I'd changed my mind that quickly), I made a conscious decision to take my reviewing even more seriously, and committed to reviewing each and every title I read - be it short story, novella, or novel.
It's August 6th today. A few days ago I finally finished moving to OGBDA all 194 reviews that I had previously posted on Amazon.com and Shelfari. It took me two months to do so. If you think that sounds like a long time, that's because it is. I was still reading, and still reviewing new material in between, too. Now it's August 6th and I have 217 reviews posted on this blog - this little corner of my mind that I spent hours and hours setting up and customizing and designing buttons for and...and everything.
I read a lot. I review everything I read.
I'm opinionated, more than a little quirky, and I love doing this. I do. I love it. It means something to me. That meaning doesn't lessen if no one reads it or visits. That meaning isn't going to go away if this blog isn't followed by hundreds. I did this for me. Because it's pretty. It's easier and more flexible than Amazon.com or Shelfari. It's mine.
I've always known one good book deserves another. It's my religion and has been since I was a little girl. I've spent a year spreading that information to others - haphazardly at first, but now fervently. One good book deserves another.
Welcome to my world.
Want to Talk?
After the above, I'm fairly sure most would rather run far and fast, but I'm happy to hear from you for any reason. Please feel free to email, Twitter, or IM me through the following:
You can also find/follow me on Goodreads or Shelfari.