Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Notes on book blogging, a sorta review, and fangirl squeals

The Sunday

I've recently decided that I should really start reviewing the books I read with more depth.  I know I gush and gab a great deal but I don't really "review" the books I read.  In fact, I wouldn't call me a book blogger, maybe a nerd blogger, but not a book blogger.  With all the great books I've been reading lately I've felt like I should start reviewing and sharing more. 

I started out a book blogger, or rather, my blog was mostly book.  Then something happened; the book blogosphere blew up.  Suddenly there were hundreds of book bloggers forming a great community of readers and services such as LibraryThing and GoodReads.  While I enjoyed the community aspect of the book blogosphere, I felt paralyzed when it came to reviewing my reads.  First of all anything I had to say about a book was already said at least a dozen times by other book reviewers.  Second, I felt that there were more crap books being pushed; with offers of free books at every turn I was excited until I realized that most of them sucked and I was wasting my time reading free crap.  Third, I had no aspirations to become a professional reviewer / blogger.  I wanted my fun hobby to stay my fun hobby.

Needless to say I'm starting off my plan to review most of what I read with some trepidation; I don't think very many people read this blog, but I wonder if less will read if I review.  Seriously, there are a billion book blogs out there and I'm not nearly invested enough in my blog to warrent it being worth someone's time.  I decided to investigate what was being said about the last book I read -- The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham -- on book blogs.

My search yeilded the results I expected:  the book kicks ass.  The story of the Eleanor le Despenser, neice to King Edward II, is wonderful.  Historical events and life are richly detailed and the characters are intriguing and engaging.  The character notes and afterward were especially illuminating.  I alternated between wanting to race through the book to discover the fate of the characters and slowing down my pace to make the book last.  See?  Here I am parroting ever one else: this book is superb, go forth and read it now.

I had nearly decided to not bother review the book as I agreed with most readers as to the book's merits, when I stumbled upon Susan Higginbotham's blog and developed a severe nerd crush.  Now I just have to mention that Higginbotham's blog is chock full of medieval history, humor, and bookish goodness.  She is a kindred spirit.  In fact, I obtained this odd fangirl awe for Higginbotham; I kinda want to be her best friend.  In fact, I find myself composing fan mail to her in my head.  I believe she might be the only person to understand what it is like to have a crush on Sir Francis Drake at the age of ten.  I totally get her creating Facebook pages for historical figures and she has a dog named Boswell.  Yup, we would most certainly be best friends. So not only should you go out and read all of Higginbotham's books, you should also read her blog.  Right now.  In the meantime, I'm yearn for her second book Hugh and Bess to hurry up, I've had it on hold at the library for ages.


readerbuzz said...

I review every book I read, but my reviews are always short....I just don't really do long. I am just a reader. I'm not and never want to be a professional reviewer.

I, like you, just want to keep things fun here in blogger land.

Dani in NC said...

This post says everything that I've thought about the "reviews" on my own blog. Mine are so short and vague that I hesitate to call them reviews; they are more like impressions. Writing more in-depth reviews is something I would like to do, as well, for my own satisfaction.

Eva said...

>>Second, I felt that there were more crap books being pushed; with offers of free books at every turn I was excited until I realized that most of them sucked and I was wasting my time reading free crap.

Ditto! That's when I discovered my library had even more free books and no review obligations. lol

Andi said...

If reviewing is something you want to do, I say do it! No matter how many other people have reviewed it. You have a special, awesome way of explaining things that I love, and I would read anything you wrote. Anything!

Shannon (Giraffe Days) said...

I loved this post Amanda :)

I have to admit that, while I'm a pretty quiet person in real life, I can terribly long-winded on my blog - ah, and in comments! My reviews tend to be long, and even then I feel like I haven't said everything. Lately I've noticed that my reviews always lean more heavily on the technical side, critiquing how they're written, and not as much as I'd like on the themes etc. It's making me nit-picky!

I hadn't had any interest in these two books or the author, but your recommendation is very convincing! I love an author that makes Facebook pages for historical characters. She sounds like fun - and like she knows her shit. Which book of hers would you suggest it's best to start with?

Amanda said...

-- Shannon: I'd start with The Traitors Wife. Its first (Hugh and Bess come afterwards). Although I haven't read it, The Stolen Crown looks wonderful as well.