Stephen King has it right when he says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
I read a lot, but the past few months I’ve been slack about reading recently released fantasy novels. This month I’ve set myself the goal of reading four new fantasy books. And because I know you love books as much as I do, if you sign up for either of my mailing lists by the end of February you could win one of them – your pick of the title in paperback or ebook form.
Today is book-hunting day! That wasn’t a thing until today, but now it is.
Book-hunting day means I go to Amazon and search for fantasy books with key words like “chosen one” or “elemental magic” (just, because). When a book entices me, I’ll start reading the preview until I either decide it sucks (ahem, I mean, decide it’s not for me) or buy it.
Of course, I’ll give you a commentary as I go. It’s mean to make fun of people in public, so I won’t name names and I’ll disguise some of the details. (I’ll use * to indicate the detail has been changed.)
Don’t get me wrong, kindles (or your e-reader of choice) are a wonderful invention. I love paying $3 for a book instead of $30 and getting it in 5 minutes rather than 5 weeks. Kindle books are also easy on my bookshelves, which groan under the wonders of culture.
But there is one area in which ebooks fall short and interfere with my reading experience: they almost never have easy-to-find blurbs.
I never used to understand people who wrote book reviews. You’ve already read the book, so writing a review isn’t going to help you decide whether to read it, and it’s an awful lot of effort.
But I’ve spent some time thinking about the matter, and I’ve concluded that there are five good reasons and two bad reasons to write a book review.
Good reasons to write a book review
1) You have an opinion
You have an opinion. In fact, you have many opinions. They’re all brilliant, and sharing them with the world will force everyone to acknowledge how brilliant you are. And, perhaps more importantly, how right you are.
I remember the days before Amazon, when finding a good book to read was easy. You’d go into the local bookshop, head straight to the fantasy shelf (or the shelf of your favourite genre), and run your fingers over all those beautiful spines.
You’d spot one with appealing colours, which was thick enough to be a good, solid read, and which had sequels sitting next to it in the shelf, so if you enjoyed it you’d instantly know what to read next.
It would have a title like “The Dragon’s Apprentice” or “The Warlord’s Dragon” so you knew it was about exciting things – like dragons. (No, I don’t know if either of those is a real book.)
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