First, the laundry: I have read the books I review. I don’t review every book I read. The reviews contained in this blog are not paid reviews. I don’t review books I have edited.
I’m not sure of your motive in coming to the About page of a book blog. You may be in search of a picture and a life story. I disappoint you there. You may wonder about my credentials. Again, silence. This is the creepy internet. The pertinent part of me is in the reviews. If you wish to know me, know me there.
Or you may be wanting a quick run-down on the purpose and organization of the reviews. One measure of a book’s worth is how much thought it generates. Candy books have a place too, but they are best served with a plot summary and a row of stars indicating likeability. This is not that. These reviews are me giving consideration to the craft and expression of an author in a work. Writing it out requires looking at the book more closely, finding the puzzles and working them out, asking the book what it has to say about real life, and then arranging my thoughts in some gratifying order.
Occasionally I review a frequently assigned work, answering the age-old student question, “Why do I have to read this?” I hated almost everything that was assigned to me in school, not because they weren’t great books but because I was busy reading something else and resented the interruption. And also because great books go over the heads of kids. Life experience and a more advanced stage of brain development are necessary to appreciate the juicier aspects of a work of literature. On the other hand, you have to expose kids to a range of works they might not otherwise ever pick up; they don’t need to understand it all. It’s like Rocky and Bullwinkle. Let them enjoy the bits of the cartoon they get, and when they come back to it as parents, they will see a whole other show. For adults who are still asking why they should read a thing, I hope to open a window that will shed a little light.
I also review books by people who are still alive. I have a goal to remember to read the breathing while I work my way through the dead. Most of these will be authors stabled at small presses or the snootier imprints of the big houses. These works tend to be more risky than commercial fiction, more layered in meaning, and full of Easter eggs. They give me more to chew—the cud these reviews are made on. These reviews will not be optimized for SEO.