I am not a book reviewer. And I am not a book report person. Never was, in school. And I'm not, now.
Even as a child, I loved to read (when younger, I sometimes read four or five books at a
time, effortlessly sliding from one to another as my moods changed). I read for pleasure, for escape, for the joy of entering worlds of wonder. I hated English class, where I had to analyze books and write about them. I was so happy when I graduated from school, because I would never have to write a book report ever again. And I would read, happily ever after.
Wrong. Along came Goodreads, and Amazon.com.
Now, every time I read, I am invited (nagged, is more like it) to write a review, especially with Goodreads. Goodreads, if you haven't run across it, is an online social media place for people who love reading. Recently, Amazon bought it.
You are encouraged to list books you want to read, or are in the process of reading. You can even chart your progress, if you want, with starting and ending dates. And what happens when you report a book as completed?
You are prompted to rate the book from one to five stars, and - yes, write a book review.
I freeze up when Goodreads asks me write a review of each book I report as
I look at other reviews. There is a certain language, a certain - method, shall we say - for writing reviews. It has its own style, its own vocabulary, its own rules. It's like another country for me, one I don't care to explore.
gotten to the point where I won't even report books I've read, so that I
don't get intimidated by the request for a book review. And I normally
don't blog about books I've enjoyed, either. But, I am going to share
two books with you, my dear readers, in the coming month. Both are dystopian novels, my
favorite genre. I enjoyed dystopias long before they became popular,
right from the very first one I read in school.
Just don't expect well written reviews. Or any more status reports on how I've done with my latest book. My Goodread statuses are seriously outdated, and they are going to stay that way.
I'm avoiding Goodreads more and more.
are books that entertain, or teach a skill, or keep us occupied on the
beach. And then, there are books that leave you stunned, dazed, not
knowing what just happened, wondering what just hit you, and where it
went. Once you recover, you quickly realize your life will never be the
Yes, I enjoy a well-written review in deciding if a book I am thinking of reading may be one of those "stun and amaze" books.
But I'm realizing that reading has always been a solitary thing for me. I don't belong to book clubs or real time book discussion groups. I don't go to author talks at the local indie bookstore or the library. A book and me are a perfect pair. A book, me, and something or someone else is a crowd.
And now, Amazon is part of that crowd. I can't help but thinking that Amazon is looking over my shoulder, like an impolite straphanger during rush hour on the New York City subway, reading your book or paper over your shoulder. Compiling statistics for its use. Turning all my data into statistics.
I still love to read, but I am thinking of abandoning Goodreads. Maybe I would change my mind if I wasn't nagged about writing reviews. Goodreads, can't I turn that function off? Or, is that being anti social? (are my Goodreads friends really that desperate to read reviews from me?) Perhaps I am totally missing the point, but I enjoy being an introvert. Even Amazon's ownership of Goodreads doesn't bother me in the way that being asked to write reviews does.
Does anyone else feel that way about social media sites for readers, such as Goodreads-that they would just rather enjoy a book on their own, rather than making it a social occasion?