Tag Archives: reviewing books

Reading Resolutions

I’ve been keeping a running bibliography of books I read since 1993. I keep it in a little spiral note book and jot down the date I start and finish reading each book. This habit has proved helpful when I find myself re-reading a book that I didn’t remember reading … but everything feels like deja vu. I can just go look it up … did I read this book before?

Although I’m still keeping this written record, I’m now also logging it into my Good Reads account.


Well, I like to have the written back up … and it is much more portable. But Good Reads gives you some interesting stats that I would be hard-pressed to do with my little notebook. For example, I know from what I’ve recorded that I started and completed reading 21 books in 2011. However, Good Reads told me that

  • I completed reading 23 books in books in 2011 (I had started two of them in 2010.)
  • I’ve read about 6,575 pages in 2011 (of course they are counting the total pages of the two books I started in 2010, and not the book I started but haven’t finished reading yet).

With my notebook, if I want to see how my reading compares from year to year, I have to flip through a lot of pages. But with Good Reads, I can quickly and easily see that my most prolific reading years were 1999 (31 books) and 2004 (30 books).

Looking on this, I can see that it will more than likely take me almost 5 years to read the books currently sitting in my review queue for The Genre Traveler(more…)

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Writing honest book reviews

This weekend, one of the staff over at the New York Journal of Books shared this interesting article about book reviewing with all us reviewers. Apparently, an author was awarded a hefty sum for damages caused by a scathing book review.

The article is a very interesting read and if you have any interest at all in writing, or even reading, book reviews, I recommend you read it.

The piece got me to thinking. Since I write book reviews for both the New York Journal of Books and The Genre Traveler, I have a stake in the liability of book reviewers.

That said, I believe I’ll be O.K. I tend to be a reviewer who respects the humanity of those reviewed. Just because I didn’t find a moment of enjoyment in reading a book, just because reading each successive word felt like forcing my head through Jell-O, doesn’t mean I have to be nasty. It is quite possible that the book would be better suited to a different kind of reader. So, for my The Genre Traveler reviews, I always write from my own personal perspective and include things that both worked and did not work for me. I know that things I didn’t like about a book might be perfectly delightful for another reader.

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