Monday, December 31, 2012

Fifty-two weeks, fifty-two reviews

Some years back I resolved to read a book a week and review each of them. It was fun, it was also work. At the end I was vaguely unhappy with it, but could not put a finger on why, and didn't do it the next year.

This year (2012) in another venue someone issued a challenge to read 52 books in a year. I didn't take it too seriously, but one book led to another and by end of year I'd read 56 books and written a few paragraphs about most. This time I was happier with it, and here's why.

If a book wasn't good, it got a short review saying why and that was it. No analysis, no trying to be nice to an author. It saved a lot of work, and it eliminated all the cognitive dissonance about trying to say something nice about a turd. Similarly, sometimes good books just got a brief rave and were be released into the wild.


I missed the occasional longer essay on why a particular book was good, or a more in-depth look at a particular author or multiple books which resonated together in some interesting way. I also missed the feedback and advice from friends and strangers.

Hence the revival of this blog. Fifty-two weeks, fifty-two reviews. My editorial guidelines will be:

  • Things will not spread out evenly. There will be months with only one review, and weeks with three.
  • If a book only needs or deserves a paragraph, that's all it will get.
  • Books don't have to be new (freshly published) to be read or reviewed. In last years reading list there were classics, lost or misplaced 19th-century novels, re-reads of favorites from the last 20 years, and yes, some newly published works. This is not intended to be a review source for mostly new books, it's for me (and you) to talk about what I'm reading.
  • Breadth matters. Expect to see technical books, history, biography, science, fiction of various genres, and the occasional real cheese. Cheese is good, in moderation.
  • It may not always be books. Newspaper articles, blogs, individual short stories, graphic novels  - it's all going to be fair game.
There may or may not be other topics like politics, the comings and goings of things in daily life, etc, etc. But the primary goal is simple: fifty-two weeks, fifty-two reviews.

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