Monday, December 24, 2012

The Bookcase is up!

Yesterday evening Don and I gingerly lifted, tilted, slid and maneuvered the new bookcase from the garage into my office. Oh my, and to think that I was worried that, at three feet wide, it would be too small! Now that it's in the room it looks amazing and huge. Best of all, it looks exactly like the picture I randomly chose from the Internet, except that it was made from scratch, from loving hands. I am simply blown away.


 
Today, we'll anchor it to the wall, "just in case." Then I will unpack all the boxes and try to catalog in some semblance of order that will make sense to me. These are just the books I've collected that are on my "waiting to retire" list. They don't even touch all the books I've reviewed for Library Journal over the last - can it be - six years! Those are still behind my desk at work.

Speaking of book reviewing, there was an article on the front page of yesterday's New York Times that seemed especially apropos to you bloggers, Good Reads members, and book aficionados out there. It was about the fact that Amazon has purged thousands of book reviews from its pages since it found out that they're not all objective. DUH!

 It seems that writers can and will pay strangers for a good review, whether or not that reviewer had even read the book. Another issue is that relatives go online and pen glowing missives about their mother's, sister's, daughter's - you name it - latest self published book and, what do you know? Sales go up! There was even a profile of a, I'm sorry to say this, retired librarian named Harriet Klausner, who has reviewed some 26,000 books for Amazon and given them all four and five-star ratings. The questions being raised, quite naturally, is how can every book be that good?

And of course, the answer is, they can't. Which brings me to the difference between blogging and book reviewing. When I review a book for Library Journal, I am telling other collection development librarians whether or not I think they should spend their limited budgets on a book that may or may not fly off the shelf. Will it have wide appeal or will it need to be hand sold?

 Because my genre is literary fiction, the sad truth is that many of the books I review will more than likely languish on the shelves next to the Lee Childs, David Badaccis, and Vince Flynns. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't have these little gems, many of them translated from other languages, for the more discerning taste. I am fortunate to work for a relatively large library system with a budget that supports new and obscure authors. Smaller libraries do not have that luxury.

As a blogger I want to keep you reading without putting you to sleep. I want to be able to rave about books that I think you shouldn't miss. I don't want to be too negative - well sometimes just a titch - but only in a humorous, not a nasty manner. Therefore, it goes without saying that I read tons of books each year that I don't write about here because if I can't say something good, I'd rather just stay quiet.

So, here's the link to the article. Why not give it a look and tell me what you think. Is it ok to love everything? I mean really? http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/technology/amazon-book-reviews-deleted-in-a-purge-aimed-at-manipulation.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

1 comment:

Lisa May said...

The bookshelf is gorgeous! Have fun arranging your books on it - and I hope you'll share a picture of it full too.