Up for Review
First of all, I want to thank you all for your kind comments on yesterday’s post. It’s much appreciated! I hope to keep up the writing, and hopefully it will yield more regular posting…we’ll see!
I began writing book reviews for Publisher’s Weekly’s online annex in January. So far, I have reviewed 6 books and am starting a 7th this weekend. It doesn’t seem like many, but it’s enough to keep me quite busy. Almost too busy.
Writing book reviews for such a revered and established institution in the book world is a great opportunity. I don’t get a byline (though if you’re curious, some of my reviews can be read here), but I do get paid a bit for each review (getting paid for writing!? Who would have thought??). Though my name doesn’t appear beside the reviews, and I actively need to seek the reviews out because I don’t have a subscription to PW and therefore can’t see the whole site, it still gives me a thrill to see my words and thoughts in print for anyone to see.
Reading a book you’re meant to review is an utterly different experience from reading a book for pure pleasure. My books for review are filled with notes, underlined passages, dogeared pages, and post-it tabs. I find myself obsessively noting narrative details, plot holes, and particularly stirring sentences, wondering how I can piece them all together in a cogent, comprehensive, and brief review (so, so brief–reviews are kept under 250 words). It’s certainly been a beneficial exercise for me in terms of writing on deadline, editing myself, and working with an editor. And yet…
Like magic, a new book appears at my desk every 3 weeks, like clockwork, even if I’m still not finished with the previous book. This schedule can get a bit hectic, especially if the book is a lengthy one, as was the case with the book I just finished this morning (a 470-page literary thriller translated from Spanish–surprisingly my favorite book I’ve read for them so far). Combined with reading for my book club, which meets roughly every six weeks, I am feeling more and more as though I don’t read for myself anymore. And this is becoming a problem, especially with an apartment full of books yet to be read.
I like book reviewing. I wish I could do more of it. It certainly forces me to engage with books on a different level than I would otherwise. But is it worth sacrificing so much of my reading time, especially when I don’t truly enjoy most of the books I’m sent?
What do you think?
*Image via Life of Polarn Per