I just finished writing a review for Vulpes Libris, which is a good book-reviewing blog that I write for sometimes. I started out with the plan of doing lots of reviewing, because I thought it would be fun and because I like reading I would also like writing about what I had read.
It is fun, and I do like it, but I had to stop for a while because sometimes having bad things to say made me feel I was being a bit nasty and I didn’t like that. And I also read some very bad reviews of a book on Amazon and it seemed to me these people were just chattering – they liked the noise of their own voices saying nasty things. And also, writing books is hard. People who review them sometimes forget about that. And one more thing: I thought about the kinds of books people review and I thought maybe it was like wearing clothes with writing on or special kinds of shoes. I don’t like to do any of those things.
So I started Blurbing instead. I still Blurb sometimes. Blurbing means saying something nice about something you have read and liked. If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t put it on the tlog. Mainly it is just a little list for me. I should format it and do something with that site. It looks a bit dull but I lack mojo to do anything but add to it now and again right now. A few people have emailed me with recommendations and I like that too. If you felt like doing that, you should.
After I had Blurbed for a while I started thinking about reviewing again. Mainly I thought about people who had spent a long time writing a book and how unkind it would be to hurt their feelings. But then again, the man who comes to fix my roof has spent a very long time trying to stop the water coming in. And it still does. And the last time I spoke to the man who was in charge of the roofer I said things like ‘incompetent’ and ‘withhold rent’ and ‘tenant’s right to repair’. And that worked. I hope there will be less leaking roofs in the world now.
I know stories and roofs are not the same thing at all.
Then I thought about what people have said about my stories and my book. When people don’t like it, I don’t mind really. I am interested to know why they didn’t like it. Mainly I don’t mind because once I have finished writing something it feels like it doesn’t belong to me any more. It is quite dead and I would prefer to get it out of the house while I play with something else, something newer and more interesting. I try to write things that have enough spaces in them for the person who reads it to be able to join in and collaborate with it. So it would be silly of me to dislike readers who write about what their experience of reading something was like. So I thought it was okay to review books again.