Reviewing, Past and Present

This weekend, I started to clean up my oldest reviews. Images had disappeared. Links broke. It was a mess. I’m glad that so many of them were never posted to Goodreads because I worry that other readers will think I’m an idiot about books. To be honest, a lot of those reviews are still a mess, but since there are more than 10 years’ worth of reviews there’s no way I’m going back to rewrite them. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

As I tweaked my posts, I noticed a few things that have changed over the years:

  1. My reviews have gotten longer. In the early days, I used to write two smallish paragraphs about each book and grouped series entries into single posts. Their brevity and shortness shames me as a former English major. Now I write four or five bigger paragraphs. When I started this blog, I was starting graduate school. My posts started to get longer after I graduated and got a job.
  2. I used to review a lot of series genre fiction. Now I only review the first entry because I’ve found that subsequent entries tend to be more of the same and I don’t have anything new to say other than “pretty good” or “not so good.”
  3. I read a ton now compared to the early days. I used to post only a three to five times a month. Now I feel bad if I don’t post that much in a week.
  4. I’ve broadened the number of genres I read. I’ve even made room in my life for literary fiction (if not the type of literary fiction about adultery that bore the pants off me). I still read the odd series of mysteries and contemporary fantasy, but I’ve pushed myself to read more widely so that I can be a better readers’ advisor. Also, my tastes in fiction have really changed.
  5. I used to post more about being a librarian, but this blog is pretty much all about books now. I put my library stuff on twitter because so much of it is funny things people say.

Victor-Gabriel Gilbert

I hope that I’ve gotten better as a book reviewer. I’ve certainly gotten wordier. A lot of my earliest reviews make me blush in embarrassment because they’re not much more than “I liked it.” Now I write the kind of posts that I would like to see from other people. I try to give the gist of the premise, a sense of what the book’s about over all, and a final statement of whether I liked the book or not and why.

I’m glad I took a walk down memory lane, even if I was tempted to delete the first two years of this blog.


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