Books, Books, Art & More Books!

My two packages from WisCon are supposed to be delivered today and I am too excited for words! One box contains the two complementary pieces of art I picked up “She is Bodymod” and “He is Bodymod” by the amazing Rhea Ewing. The other box contains about 50 pounds of books, which brings me around to my next point. Generally when I read I attempt to alternate one F/SF book then one Theory (feminist, anti-racist, anti-classcist, etc.) book, then back to F/SF and so forth but with this massive box of books coming and the realization that I didn’t even get close to reading all the books I got from WisCon last year I’m thinking that the next few months are going to be completely F/SF focused. And trust me there is a range in that box, everything from hard SF to trashy paranormal romance to YA fantasy…

Now we come to my dilemma, do I actively review these books in this blog? This is actually something we touched on in the Blogging panel I was on @ WisCon: reviewing in your journal, how it might affect your chances of publishing and how it might blow up in your face. I mean I think it’s less of an issue with me because my blog is not huge I usually get somewhere from 100-150 hits a day so it’s not like my blog is one of those that gets massive traffic so I feel like it shouldn’t be an issue. At the same time authors google their own name all the time, so they’d find my review easily. Also I review things for the Feminist SF blog all the time.

Hmm…maybe that’s the answer, to review the books in Feminst SF!-The Blog and not in my personal one. I’ll have to think on it. Let me know what you guys think.

Also I’ll try to put a list of these books up or pop them onto my LibraryThing and link there as I get them so you guys can see exactly what I spent my money on!

As for those who are waiting for “WisCon Days 3&4” Post I don’t know if I want to do it and rehash all my panels (especially the two I felt did not go well) but at the same time I kind of feel the need to. It’s another thing I’m on the fence about.

Okay off to re-track my packages!

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6 responses to “Books, Books, Art & More Books!

  1. Can you expand on this:
    “reviewing in your journal, how it might affect your chances of publishing and how it might blow up in your face”?

  2. Kate:
    Working from memory what we talked specifically if you happen not to like a work and write about it in your blog. That sometimes no matter how polite you are about seperating the book and the author that there are authors who do not have a thick skin and will become angry and possible vindictive. There were examples of people who’ve reviewed books and then had author’s come in and act completely insane.

    True, that most of the time the one who gets the negative publicity is the author himself but the possibility of there being some blowback if they’re a publisher themselves or have special connections to a publisher. Specifically a friend of mine gave a negative review of a book from a medium sized press years ago in a newspaper and got a letter/call from the owner of the press basically chewing her out. It’s that sort of thing that is not common but does happen, that we were talking about. And how those situations might affect you if you’re an aspiring writer.

  3. Thanks, Naamen. Very interesting.

    I would be very unlikely to post a negative review of an sff novel in my blog. It just isn’t worth it to me–I’m not a critic to have some particular angle to examine the work, and as for the rest of it, man, I just would not go there because I would not want to deal with the potential repercussions. Also, I hate conflict. Thus, I only post positive mentions (except obliquely if I am discussing, as in my old post The Disposable Woman, a writing subject–and then I did not mention the book I had tried to read); I will say negative things about films, though, just because I have no contact with that world except as audience.

  4. Kate:
    For me I’m always critiquing a book as I’m reading it, it just happens naturally. So when I’m done I want to go ahead and write that critique up and share it. If I don’t like a book that much I simply never finish it so I never write anything up. Maybe that’s what I have to do though is just post books I feel really positive about or at least stick to the rules of most reviews that appear in academic journals, which is there has to be at least 50% positive things to say. I’ll figure it out eventually but for now I think the compromise I have to make is to only write positive reviews in this space.

  5. I was only speaking for myself, personally–in case that didn’t come across. I critique books as I read them, too–and don’t finish books that don’t work for me or ones that I think aren’t very good. But I guess for me personally–and only speaking for me–I don’t see any upside to me posting negative reviews in my personal blog. I don’t gain anything from it because I am not a reviewer in the larger sense, and I might piss some people off.

    I think there is definitely a place for negative and mixed reviews as well as positive reviews. I do think that reviews posted on more “formal” review sites gain leeway thereby. So forex if a person made it clear that part of their blog’s purpose was for them to post regular reviews of what they were reading, that might strike blog readers as different than occasional slams or raves, which come across as more arbitrary.

    For myself, as a writer, I might get *depressed* by negative or mixed reviews — but as long as they treat the book overall with respect rather than condescendingly, it’s all good, really. What irritates me is the occasional review that believes they can mind-read my intent or motivations, or that completely mis-reads something I was trying to do because the reviewer is projecting their own issues into my text. But that mind-reading business annoys me in the larger context of my life as well.

  6. Kate:
    Oh I get what you’re saying now! Sorry I’m a little slow on the uptake some mornings since I gave up coffee. Yeah I can see where there isn’t a clear benefit to posting a review that might potentially cause you harm in the long run.

    I think for now I’m gonna stick with the whole positive or mostly positive reviews and hold off on reviewing anything I don’t particularly like or have problems with. Although I know I might break that sometimes if I’m reading a book that just pisses me off to no end with sexism, racism, classsism… but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

    I think the thing that pisses me off in some reviews is the conflation of the book with the author. Just because the book says something doesn’t mean that the author holds that view and inferring the author’s beliefs from a work of fiction sets me off a lot. When I read reviews that do this I always want to scream because yeah if you didn’t like the book talk about that but throwing things at the author or being completely disrespectful (like you said, respect is important) of the book makes me angry.

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