Monday, May 30, 2011

It's Monday; What Are You Reading?

Hello, all! I'm still in the middle of my short reading break and am almost finished rewatching the first season of Alias. But today is Monday and that means that it's time once again for It's Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Every Monday, Sheila brings together book bloggers from all over the world to share what they read the week before, what they are currently reading, and what they plan to read in the coming week. Many bloggers also choose to share what they've been blogging about the past week or, really, anything they feel like sharing.

Today, I'm sharing a lesson that I learned last week: authors read blogs. To be fair, I knew that this probably happened but to me, especially since I'm still so new at this, that sort of thing happened to other, more established bloggers. Nope. I received a very polite e-mail last week from Jackie Morse Kessler regarding two reviews that I had written about the first two books in her Horsemen of the Apocalypse series. While I wasn't too kind in my review of Hunger, I was much more impressed with Rage

Her e-mail was to thank me for my reviews and to explain to me why she didn't use very much physical description, something that I had taken issue with while reading her novels. She was in no way rude or condescending and I stepped away from the encounter not only unscathed, but also with a new understanding. She said that she appreciated my candor (and I have no intention of not being honest in a review) but e-mailing her back and forth gave me an appreciation for what authors have to deal with when they read reviews of their books. She said it herself--you can't please everyone.

I do, however, think that it's important for me as a reviewer to remember that authors do what they do for the enjoyment of it. As a writer, myself, I know that the stories that I put down on paper are, in the end, for me. They're what I enjoy or else I wouldn't have written it down in the first place. While I may not like a book that I read (see my review of The Road for an example of that), I should remember that there are people out there who do, not the least of which is the author. So, no, I won't beat around the bush if I hate a book or, even, if I mildly dislike it. I don't think anyone wants me to be dishonest. I will, however, always be mindful of the fact that somewhere out there is a writer who slaved over that book and who, while wanting criticism, is also looking for encouragement.

Okay, now for the books:

What I Read Last Week: 
-Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

-Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

-The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

What I'm Currently Reading: 
-Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow

What I'm Reading This Week: 
-Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

-Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

-Imajica by Clive Barker

-Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow



  1. Smoke and Mirrors sounds good. Good post and thoughts about authors.

  2. I am very interested in learning more about Stiff. Enjoy your books and your week. My Monday:

  3. I have Smoke and Mirrors on my TBR. This coming week is my last week off before summer session. I have a few books I want to finish before school begins. Come see what they are.

  4. Hmm, you call that a reading break? I think you're reading enough! :-)

    It sounds like you had a good interaction with the author. Now, of course, not everyone will have the opportunity to discuss a book with the author so a review should never be influenced by what an author says (as yours wasn't).

    It's nice how she reacted, even if you weren't too positive.

  5. I just picked up a Neil Gaiman graphic novel but can't read it until next year because I'm only reading books by women this year. But it's likely something I'll read on January 1, 2012.

  6. Wow, I would be quite nervous if I was contacted by an author of a book I had reviewed.

  7. I'll be looking forward to your thoughts about Stiff. I have been eyeing the book but haven't added it to my TBR mountain yet. My Monday Report is here. Have a great week!

    BTW, I am a new follower because I like honest reviews.

  8. Once I get to the bottom of Google reader I think I'll grab some TV time too, hope you're enjoying Alias, I remember enjoying Alias marathons in the past.

    I've had a few authors contact me about reviews, expecially if it's their first book. I really enjoy this aspect of book blogging, you wouldn't get that in many other industries.

  9. I will have to check out Smoke and Mirrors, I have read some things by Neil Gaiman before and enjoyed his work. I just picked up Stiff from a rummage sale, I will have to read your review of it!

  10. First of all, thanks to all of my new followers. I gained several more and have now hit over 75!

    Secondly, my computer is going to die because my charger's not working so I won't be able to respond to all of you individually. Thanks for stopping by and I'll try to respond tomorrow! :)

  11. Wow - how classy. It's always impressive when an author is graceful about negative reviews. I had one person make a snarky remark when I reviewed his book and I basically lost all respect. It makes me think more highly of Jackie Kessler to know that she can be respectful about criticism.

  12. Alison: I definitely gained a lot more respect for her because of the experience. I'm sorry that guy was a jerk to you. Some people just can't handle criticism and it makes me wonder how they ever expect to become a better writer. Unless, of course, the author who made that comment to you believes that he doesn't *need* to improve.