Well one more time around the Ferris Wheel. I don't know why I didn't pick a MerryGoRound.
|And yet again, back for another round of commentary about reviewing. We all of us have our own style.
Why do I review? Because it's the right thing to do? Because I'll be scolded if I don't? Because it's share and share alike? Because and because and...
I review because I get curious. Who are all these writers and what do they write?
Now, as a long time librarian I am no stranger to books. I read at a doctorate level and I read a lot. There are some several thousands of different topics, themes and genres that can catch my hawkish eye.
So the need to read is what it is, but how does that play itself out in here?
Again, that curiosity. Who are you folks? What are you all about? Can I pretend I'm at a virtual cocktail party and just kind of wander around with what looks like a tall glass of whiskey but is really iced tea? (And everyone thinks I'm a lush but wow do I hold my liquor well !)
And of course, the way to find out is to read. Like a thief in the night. Like a peeping tom. Like a wolf in the henhouse. Like an eagle eye spy from the sky.
And of course, I could always just read anonymously. But there's no real fun in that. Because it's a social thing, don't you know.
Rules? Beyond the rules of civility, kindness and fair treatment - I wouldn't touch a rule with a ten-foot bookmark, I wouldn't.
Because I never wanted to learn how to review. Like figure 8's on figure skates. There is no grace in that, for me. The two hundred feet of a hockey rink is another matter entirely.
I review from the gut, the heart, the sensibility and (hopefully) the sanity. And when that's all said and done, it must be fun.
For to grind it out like a flossed tooth, or a painted garage, or a sorted out basement, or any other chore I'd rather leave for some other time - to me destroys the whole point of reviewing.
And yes! I admit it! I'm guilty! I only review what I like. I have to at least like it to review it. Sorry but that most definitely is my rule, I made it up and I stick to it.
But the nice part of all of that is that I can still find an awful lot of stuff to like. My pallet's praise has cosmopolitan appetite. There is never any guarantee. The opening may draw me in like a hummingbird to a gladiola. Or send me off like a startled wildebeest upon discovery of a pride of lions a little too up close and personal. It gets like that sometimes.
Reviewing is such a pleasure when it is a measure of linguistic lollipops, shared liberally and laughingly even, but most importantly, left like tips, some way of letting a writer know that at least you have an inkling of what they slaved on so intently, in order to put a meaning across.
I mean, that's really the point, isn't it?
My one greatest failing is simply this. Somewhere early on in middle age I was thunderstruck (or maybe just struck) with that "older guy" syndrome. No it isn't in the DSM IV handbook and it probably shouldn't be, either. I suddenly became allergic to fiction. Thankfully, I had already read such great gobs of the stuff, including most of the classics, that I had enough left in the tank to tide me over, and could still reasonably relate to the concept.
But non fiction swept in like the storms of autumn, and never really went away again. Truth really is stranger than fiction. I know that sounds like a line, but what I read bears that out.
Which really cuts down on the reading material. Only it doesn't at all. Hence, my warm and loving relationship with a university library system just burgeoning and bursting at the seams, with engineering and physical concepts, astronomy and all things astro, geology, geography, history to fill a fleet of Titanics, medicine in more strange and whacky forms than can be imagined, natural history (always a fallback when fascinated by an entire world of critters) psychology, oh yes, and criminology, philosophy (tip-toed through like razor'd eggshells) botany, biology, politics (a freeze-frightened roller coaster ride, that is) but you laugh when it's over.
And this is all just a slight sampling of the fare. There's lots more where that came from, and whatever they haven't got, I find in the city public library system. Serious readers take no prisoners and offer no quarter.
But back to reviewing. I sense I must quit soon here and leave off, just to have some compassion for the reader who made it this far.
But I also sense that there might be something important, critical even, that I haven't yet touched upon. Oh yes.
I am not a professional writer. I am not even a teacher, well not professionally, anyway. Therefor my lack of authority convinces me that I can just as easily wind up as a blind leading around the blind. None of it.
So dispensing with that notion, feedback's the thing. But in order to give feedback that may have some small value, you have to not only have read the thing with reasonable comprehension, but rather liked it to some degree, and have something intelligent to say about it. Heart-felt, even. Genuine. Human to human.
[note] I do NOT read robots! No reviews for them.
And that's my final word on the matter until the Fabulous Ferris Wheel spins 'round yet again another time somewhere in the future and deposits me back for another muse upon the muse.