Read everything--trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out. -William Faulkner
I used to think I read a lot until I started hanging out with writers who had these reading goals I just couldn't imagine. But still, I average a book a week, so I guess I hold my own on the reading front. But the issue seems to be, for many, what to do when the reading is done.
Before I started this blog, I had another where I'd write a quick review of the books I read. Primarily, it served the purpose of keeping track, giving me something to write on that blog and I know I had some friends how would reference it occasionally for books to read.
Now, because of my many re-configurations of priorities, most of my book reviews are on goodreads. I love that website - it's like facebook for readers, but no one is talking about their political viewpoints or changing relationship statuses or anything. It's just lovers of books sharing what they can't wait to read or what they are reading, handing out more stars than an enthusiastic first grade teacher.
But there is a danger with goodreads too. People are aware of those they *know* online, and whenever someone posts an opinion about anything online, it's sure to make the rounds. I know there have been people who only add books to their goodreads account they read and liked, some who just have the eternal realm of to-read with the ominous *added it* which always makes me question if they read it or want to read it or just thought the title was catchy. It's right up there with the guy who says "We should hang out sometime,"- you just never know what that really means!
I like to know what people like and don't like about a book. I like people who review a book starting with an explanation about how the author is a good friend - friendship always improves a book. I like to know why people hated a book that I loved or loved one that I hated. And I know that there are people who get all up in arms and defensive about poor reviews on their own books, but I really want to ask them at what point in their life, everyone who met them loved them? Of course, I do teach teenagers, so I guess I have a pretty tough skin....
Do you review books after you finished them? How do you determine what to read next? Do you think reviews should still be an activity allowed to writers? And what if you didn't like your friend's book?