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Words, Words, Words

A catalog of my comments and thoughts on books, reading, and writing as well as anything I come across that seems interesting. I used to sell other people's words at an independent bookstore but now I hope to get by on selling my own.

A Note on Ratings

I, like many others of you I'm sure, am a refugee of the recently purchased site, Goodreads. I had used it largely as a personal catalog for my books; a reference tool to look back on what I have read, when I read it, and some general thoughts and impressions on each book. On BookLikes the social component seems a bit more robust and I thought it appropriate to post some explanation about my reviews for other readers.


The imported ones are very subjective. This was by design. The act of reading is personal and experiential, that is a great feature and something I have wanted to explore. I want to see what is good and bad, what is skillful or groundbreaking, what makes it good literature, but also how I respond to it personally. Why it connects or doesn't connect with me, at this age and stage of my life. Why I didn't like Hemingway or Harper Lee in high school, but love them now--spoiler alert: it is because I was contrary and kind of a jerk. But it plays out on a more subtle note too, what aspects jump out, when I was in college, now that I'm out, when single, when in a relationship, unemployed, in a career, or, like now, working in a book store. Going forward I will try to put a more public angle on these reviews, but they will remain touched by this subjectivity I am sure.


Point two has to do with the star ratings. Goodreads did not accept half-stars, which limited my already meager options. I am going to extend my range for the sake of some distinction among them, but generally one should know that I like pretty much everything that I read. I am not a book critic, I do not have to suffer unsolicited submissions, in fact, I work in a book store and get to spend a good deal of time each week perusing books and jackets and considering what to read next. How could I have trouble finding good reading material when I still have more Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Eugenidies, Heller, Vonnegut, Pushkin, Checkov, Ibsen, Shakespeare! I haven't even read all Shakespeare! So, despite my gripes and what may seem like low ratings, one can pretty much assume that my ratings have a baseline of "liked" which could be rephrased as "Did not speak much to me" or "Not as good as I expected". Looking back, they are terribly inconsistent, I am sorry to say, so try to read the reviews for a better impression.  


Thanks for reading, I hope I can help you find a new favorite book, and please, support your libraries and local, independent bookstores as much as you can. They are a rare thing in this world, interested in books and you and in your community.