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If you’re not sick of this topic yet

April 18, 2007

Although, how much more can I add to this (and this and this and this)?

But since I didn’t want to hijack Jackie’s review of Tantalize, I thought I should expand on the comments I left, since I had more to say and it was getting so long. Most of my comments were about about this sentence: “Just because I don’t love it, doesn’t mean I can’t recognize those who will.”

What I said there:

I may call my long comments on books “reviews” (and they are in the sense that I make a critical judgment about the book I’m discussing), but that’s mostly because I don’t know what else to call them. Book Ramblings? Book Commentary? Readers Advisory Notes? If I wanted to be known as a reviewer, I would be trying my best to get in as a reviewer for VOYA, at least, and I’d describe the blog as “reviewing Young Adult books” instead of “blather[ing] about Young Adult literature…” I don’t/can’t review in the way reputable print review sources demand, but I try to do my best to discuss books in ways that will help others decide whether or not they’d like to take a chance on Book X or Book Y. And if book news, gossip, and interviews (not that we’ve done any yet) will encourage people to pick up a particular book, what’s the problem with that?

More after the cut, for those who are interested.

What I wanted to add: Speaking just for myself, and not for Gayle and Jolene…

Other bloggers do review professionally, and more power to them. But that’s not my goal. I don’t even know if I’m capable of making the kind of value judgments about every book I’d be assigned to review that a traditional review requires. I don’t review everything I read, mostly because I’m too lazy to do so, but I also don’t think I should limit my reviews only to those books I love. Sometimes, it’s a lot easier to write about books you dislike than those you love.

I suppose the main difference between what I do and what I consider to be traditional reviews is that I write a lot more about myself than I should. Meaning I think I’m pretty upfront about my biases and experience, and how they may color my view of the book I’m discussing. Because what I’m willing to overlook might be a dealbreaker for another reader, and the kind of story another person loves may be exactly what I hate. Every book its reader, and every reader his/her book, right? I definitely agree with what Gwenda says in the comments of the Read Roger post about getting to know a blogger’s tastes and how useful it can be. Call what I do passive readers advisory (and can anyone tell me where the apostrophe in readers goes?) if it makes you feel better.

All this said, I have a hard time taking worries about conflicts of interest and what the proper roles of bloggers and reviews should be in the kidlitosphere seriously. Before I read any kidlit blog, I was reading (mostly lurking at) blogs about romance novels. Talk about author/blogger interaction! Not to mention the numerous negative review kerfuffles. But the consensus seems to be, at least among the blogs I read and respect, that it’s easy to tell who belongs to which camp regarding reviews, that it’s your right as a reader and blogger to criticize a book as long as you justify your reasoning, while still being able to maintain friendly relations with authors. Which is my philosophy when it comes to this blog. Not that I know any authors, unless I have an acquaintance who is secretly moonlighting as one. But if someone reads one of my reviews/insert-term-of-your-choice-here and still doesn’t know my opinion of the book or it hasn’t helped them decide whether or not to give the book a try, then I’m doing something wrong. I’d like to think I can be impartial enough to honestly review a book I’ve received from an author or publisher, but since everything I’ve reviewed so far has come from the library, I really can’t say.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2007 8:18 am

    As librarians, we need to have a comprehensive grasp of as many books as possible. Not just the ones that are proven to be ‘great literature’ by the chosen elite. Blogs allow for many different and divergent opinions on far more books than any one person can read, or any one journal review. I value that information because I’m serving many different people who all come into the library for different reasons. I might just need to rely on books that I became aware of through blogs. Somewhere (can’t find it now) someone said something about blog reviews being longer than necessary, esp. in respect to the print media. Yeah. Some of them are. Like with newspaper, I don’t always read down to the bottom. Or, I might skip the middle if something goes on for too long (for me). Sometimes print reviews don’t give enough information. Sometimes they spoil the plot. I think that the beauty of blog reviews is that we are more aware that people WILL want to read the book, and are less likely to give away the ending. We are more likely to give BOOK TALKS. Things that encourage and excite reading. Blogs are for the masses. (now who’s hijacking?) 😉

  2. April 19, 2007 8:24 am

    I like your way of doing it and I try to do the same. I think blogger’s personality coming through is one of the strengths. I’d much rather read an honest blogger’s rambling than a published journal actually. I think it’s pretty obvious how powerful blogging is becoming. It’s shaking things up, isn’t it?

  3. April 19, 2007 9:03 am

    I love what Jackie said: “Sometimes print reviews don’t give enough information. Sometimes they spoil the plot. I think that the beauty of blog reviews is that we are more aware that people WILL want to read the book, and are less likely to give away the ending. We are more likely to give BOOK TALKS. Things that encourage and excite reading.”

    Exactly. My goal as a reviewer/blogger is to NOT spoil the plot like so many reviews do in other places. I want to give a taste…a preview…a feel for a particular book.

  4. LeOgAhEr permalink
    June 20, 2007 1:28 am

    I Love you girls


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