About Reading with Analysis
My initial notion of this blog is based on a quote that was displayed prominently above the chalkboard in my eighth grade language arts class.
”Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke.
I have always remembered the quote as “Reading without analyzing is like eating without digesting.” Perhaps my substitution of “analyzing” for “reflecting” is indicative of my rather more active manner of thinking about anything that crosses my path. When “reflecting,” one can recline in a leather wing chair and, with eyes unfocused, saunter along clearly set out mental pathways. ”Analyzing,” by contrast, conjures a certain twitchiness, a mental tangle that needs to be worked out. One does not analyze in repose. Or, at least, I do not.
Like many neurotics, I tend to analyze everything, including everything I read. The trouble I run into is that I generally do not have anyone to talk to about the things that I read. I don’t know anyone who has taste like mine, who has read what I’ve read and would be willing to talk about it. All that analysis without an outlet leads to a whole lot of crazy–thoughts that never get out of my head, context that no one else can understand because they’ve never heard it. Enter this blog!
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments about the content of this blog or if you would like for me to review a specific book or host an author interview/giveaway.
May I just say that I feel like an incognito loser kid sneaking a seat at the cool kids’ table while I post this policy? It’s a trifle overwhelming. Anyway, here it is:
1. I love to read, and I have the terrible eyesight to prove it. I used to read only classics, but for the past few years I have almost exclusively read historical romance novels. (I have young kids, and it’s difficult to concentrate. Also, I’m a sucker for happy endings.) I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and read other genres (contemporary romance, erotica, fantasy, women’s fiction–with the caveat that I don’t enjoy reading about infidelity or characters who have few redeeming qualities–etc.). Regarding sci-fi, I pretty much enjoy only the Ray Bradbury sort (where sci-fi meets fantasy); I have this strange aversion to books set in space, and I think the Ender’s Game books are the only spacey-sci-fi books that I have ever truly enjoyed.
2. Grammar and punctuation errors, awkward syntax, and homophone mix-ups drive me wonky. If I am given an advance, uncorrected proof, I won’t mention these errors in any review, but they’ll make me twitch. If I find these errors in a final product, especially one I paid for, I’ll probably mention them.
3. While reading and writing about what I’ve read is a hobby for me, I take my integrity as a human being very seriously. If I accept a book for review, you can expect me to read it and post my review within an agreed-upon time frame. I might, however, opt to post a review only on Goodreads rather than discussing it here.
4. Honesty is important. Obviously, any review I give is just an expression of my opinion, and I will do my best never to be unkind, but I reserve the right to develop my own impression of anything that I’ve read and to express that opinion on my blog. I might be wrong (it happens), but my review represents my opinion, however flawed it might be. If you feel that I have completely misunderstood something, please do me the courtesy of contacting me by email and presenting a reasonable argument supporting your position. If I see the light and change my mind, I’ll update my review post accordingly. Please note this is not a guarantee that you will convince me to change my mind, but you can be certain that I won’t obstinately hold to an unreasonable point of view out of some fear of admitting I am wrong.
5. My blog posts may differ in format from any reviews I post on Goodreads or Barnes & Noble (I can post a review on Amazon, if you wish, but I don’t have an established Amazon reviewer account, so it won’t mean very much). My blog is a much more personal venture (more of a personal analysis of a book than a recommendation machine), and I don’t feel that it’s appropriate to include my meandering ramblings on a more public forum such as Goodreads. To be fair, I try to keep the off-topic ramblings to a minimum when discussing a book I received as an ARC, but I’m a tangential person by nature, so it happens.
6. Let’s talk hard and soft limits. Hard limits: (1) rape and/or sexual assault between two main characters who later go on to happily ever after. I refuse to read these books. (2) I’m a bit of a feminist, so any blatant misogyny that is endorsed by the narrative or any objectification or hypersexualization of the female characters will irritate the snot out of me and negatively affect my enjoyment of the book. Soft limits: (1) excessive descriptions, (2) extremely slow pacing, (3) annoying characters that lack charm and/or any interesting qualities, and (4) infidelity. Regarding my hard limits: I have extremely limited patience with anything that approaches those two issues. Regarding my soft limits: I’m willing to be patient, but I feel that it’s best to be up-front about the stuff that really annoys me. Taste in reading is totally subjective.