Recently I’ve been told I’m tough to please.
Here’s what I know about books: their experience is highly subjective. Not only to story details such as plot and characterization, but also to environmental components like the reader’s place and time, their mood, possible distractions. Add in formatting issues and written versus audio (though I maintain that listening to a book is a separate thing than reading it), and it seems more likely people will have more dissimilarities than similarities.
What appeals to me will not necessarily appeal to you, even if we are best friends. Or hate each other. Or don’t know each other. I write these reviews first for me–I have a terrible memory, and if someone asks me if I liked it, or what it was about, or wants to discuss the role of women/native/other in that author’s writing, I often have only foggy details stored. A review reminds me of what I liked–or didn’t–and why. Because I’ve learned my lesson with (corporate) Goodreads after the great Deletion Debacle, I no longer keep all my reviews there. Thus, my reviews include a synopsis.
I also write reviews for readers that are seeking to match their read with those nebulous concepts mentioned above. I will rarely warn readers off a book. Likewise, I will rarely give a book a universal recommendation. It’s very clear to me that many of my treasured authors and reads lack universal appeal. That’s fine. I don’t want people reading Peter Beagle and hating him. But if you find yourself in the mood for whimsy, characterization, and short stories to break your heart and then heal it, I want you to be able to read my reviews and think, “That sounds perfect.”
As I emigrated from a site that used a 1 to 5 star rating, I’ve stayed with that format, but do use half stars here. They help differentiate the many average reads. My average without half stars (according to that site) is about 3.38.
1 star: Did not like it
2 star: It was okay
3 star: Enjoyed it
4 star: Very good
5 star: Amazing
So little time, so many books. Given that, I’m extremely selective about indie or first-time authors.
E-readers and Audio
I’ll note that I’m not much of an auditory book ‘reader.’ I enjoy the written word. Once in awhile I’ll branch into audio, but that’s more of a rarity, especially due to issues with my computer and my i-devices. I do have a Kindle (see kindle post), but am a bit ambivalent about the format. I use it mostly for ARCs, travel and in-between reading (15 minutes here, 20 minutes there).