The Reader's Perspective

So Many Books, So Little Time…

by Seniye Groff

For someone who loves to read books, the second greatest joy would be talking (or in this case writing) about them!  From a very young age I discovered the immersive quality of a good book.  Granted, we didn’t have a television so I had no choice but to read; books, nonetheless, became an addiction.  There is no greater delight then becoming so immersed in a book, that you forget where you are and even who you are. The magical quality that some authors have to take you to another time and place cannot be substituted.

For me, the pleasure begins when that thick, padded envelope arrives in my mailbox.  I then know that dishes will be left dirty, kids will be half dressed and the cat will go unfed.  I must begin reading immediately.  And I typically discern within the first few pages, whether the book is going to suck me in like a drug or a warm cozy blanket.

When I read personal choices, my rule is that if I am not immediately drawn in, to at least push myself to read to the 100-page mark. But with books that I am reviewing, I have to read on, even if I haven’t connected with the book.  Sometimes forcing myself to go on proves rather satisfying.  Other times, though, I lament that I might have missed out on another book while forcing myself to complete the required book.

Another challenge when reviewing books is how to give a complete synopsis of the book, while not giving too much away.  I ask myself, “What should I share so that the reader cannot wait to buy that book…?” and “What tidbits will I reveal so that the next reader will love it as much as I did?”  And that, my friend, is the “secret sauce”.  I need to write my review “sticky” enough that the book is a must read; this sounds easy but sometimes it is not.

Finally, another challenge I face as a reviewer is the lack of feedback.  I spend a great deal of time reading and then writing and rewriting my review.  But I never know if anyone actually reads my heartfelt review.  And if they do read it, did it make a difference?  Did it pique their interest in the book?  There is one exception, though.  I recently reviewed a debut novel and posted the review and tweeted about it.  A day later, I heard from the author thanking me for my review.  I never considered that authors would read my reviews, so that was pretty cool.

I often get calls from friends and book groups asking “What book should we read?  We know you read so many.”  And yes, I do have a laundry list of much loved books and it is continually growing with my role as a reviewer.  What I need is more TIME…so that I can get to all those books on my list!  Time will always be in short supply and truly good books are plentiful.