The Backlog Conundrum

As I began to populate my new “In the Queue” list, I realized that I was faced with a bit of a problem. When I took a break from reviewing in 2013, I had a pile of books waiting to be read and reviewed. In the 4 years between then and now, I only read 1 book.

That’s pretty awful for someone that likes to read.

The problem moving forward, then, is that I’m reviewing a bunch of books that are 4 years old. By the time I make my way up to what’s current, those “current” books may be a couple years old by then. Especially if I have to work my way through Brandon Sanderson’s 3 Stormlight Archive books.

My solution is to add in current books (from 2016-2017) with the older books that are currently in the queue. This seems like a good way to inject some relevant titles into the mix while I work my way through the backlog.

Also, I’ve chosen to delay reading those Stormlight Archive gargantuan tomes. If I have to wade through multiple 1000 page books, reviews will be a long time coming. I have some time off next summer and I think that I might tackle them at that point.

Advertisements

Maintenance

I spent several hours yesterday repairing broken links, pairing down the blog links in the sidebar, restoring images, and fixing formatting issues and grammatical errors. I will probably repurpose some of the TV show posts with classic book reviews instead. Hopefully by the end of the week I’ll have things running smoothly again…

The Return of Hippogriff

Four and a half years ago I let this blog idle, for the following reasons:

  1.  Time  – not enough for reading or posting
  2.  My other blogs were fairly unique, offered opportinities and demanded attention
  3.  A multitude of other fantasy book review blogs were doing it better than I was
  4.  Dare I say, “book review burnout”?

Well, things have changed since then. I have a bit more time for reading now. I have ordered a lot of books and I’m very excited to read them and share my thoughts. I have let a couple of my other blogs idle, although one of them has been wildly successful and has led to other opportunities.

And the multitude of other book blogs? Many have folded or ceased posting years ago, like I did. Some big guns like A Dribble of Ink and Mithril Wisdom are gone. Some, like Grasping for the Wind, King of the Nerds, Mad Hatter’s Book Review, and Neth Space, have been idle for quite some time. This exit post from Bibliotropic is particularly poignant and sounds eerily like my last post back in 2013. Several blogs are still going strong, like Civilian Reader, Fantasy Book Critic, Fantasy Literature, Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, and The Little Red Reviewer. It seems like a good time to re-enter the fantasy review blogisphere and make an occasional post now and then. I’m no longer concerned about the frequency of posts, only that I provide some new content from time to time.

You see, what really made me want to return to blogging about fantasy books was a New York Times article I read about authors and publishers paying for high quantities of fake positive reviews, mainly on Amazon and possibly Goodreads. I found this particularly infuriating and outrageous. There’s a line between marketing and deception, and those who use this service have crossed it. I realize that marketing is important, especially for a new author who desires to be heard above the multitudes (sound familiar?)…but if you are a good or great writer, people will find their way to your books (and positively review them), and there are other ways to positively market your product. Paying for positive reviews suggests that you don’t believe in the skill of your own writing, that the story is incapable of standing on its own merits and cannot face scrutiny, that the author is only out to make a buck at the expense of telling a decent story.

The provider of this service claims that it all evens out in the end, because those who don’t like the book will still leave bad reviews. This is at best disingenuous…some people don’t care enough to express their distaste by writing a review; also, negative reviews can be drowned out by the ocean of false positives. “Wow, look at all these good reviews! Those bad reviews must be crackpots or negative people!” The end effect is that potential customers are tricked into buying a book they normally wouldn’t take a chance on due to a high number of positive reviews. Caveat Emptor indeed.

As someone who would never accept money for reviews – heck, I won’t even accept free books for review because I feel it is a conflict of interest – I thought it might be useful to post reviews of books that maybe other readers are on the fence about, and my review helps them make up their mind. When you consider the fact that I never tell you to read a book or not to read it, I only state my dislikes and likes, and if they align with another reader’s, that reader can make a decision based on our common likes and dislikes.

So I’ll be back to posting reviews of books very soon. No more reviewing TV shows, except for reviews of a series as a whole. Perhaps I’ll continue with some Face Off posts as those have been pretty popular. And I really love Game of Thrones, which I believe is the best show on TV, but I won’t be posting about it. I may, however, talk about some other interests from time to time, especially The Hobbit pinball machine I own, since it is based on the movies that sprang from Tolkien’s book. I may also go back and replace TV show reviews with classic book reviews, such as Elric, The Black Company, Amber, and other old favorites.

Due to formatting issues and connection problems, I’m considering moving this blog from WordPress to Blogger. If I can fix the formatting issues, I’ll stay right here.

Look for a new review soon!