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Thursday, February 10, 2011

What to Read

I work part time at a small, independent bookstore where part of my job is, horrors, to read books. I have so many books on my to be read shelves, and yet I keep getting more. In addition, I write reviews for a website so I get books from them too. Ebooks and regular books are stacked everywhere. My poor husband just rolls his eyes when I come home from work with another bag of books.

In those stacks I have found some wonderful reads. Ones I have been happy to recommend to others and to positively review online, tweet or otherwise publicize. If I like your book, I will shout it from the rooftops. If I like it, I will do what I can to help sell it.

But what about those *other* books? The ones (mostly self-pubbed that we get at the store) that for one reason or another just didn't *grab* me? The ones where the grammar is so atrocious, the plot contrived, the characters stereotypical, the ending ho-hum? How should I review them? Trust me, we get them by the dozens in the store and all of us shudder when we see them. Though most of them are self-published, some of them do come from big publishers. Fortunately, there are five of us at the store that if one doesn't like it, we can pass it on to another. But there have been many books that none of us can handle.

So what do you do when you run across a book that just doesn't grab you? Do you keep reading, slogging your way through, hoping it gets better? Or do you give it a pass and go to something else? One thing I do is scan-reading. If it's a book I really don't like, I'll read the first fifty pages, skip to a couple of chapters in the middle and see if it's better. If it is, I'll go back and read from the beginning. If not, I'll try fifty or so pages at the end. If I like the end, I'll go back. If not, that's it. It goes in the discard pile. Personally, between the job, my own writing, and reviews, I don't have time to waste on a bad book. But one thing I will not do is give a snarky review.

You see, I know how hard it is to write a book. It's even harder to finish one and get it published. If I love a book, I will let the world know. If I "like" a book, I'll post the review in several places but may not be as enthusiastic about shouting it out. If I don't like a book, I may - or may not - post the review, and I will give definite, quantifiable reasons why I didn't like it. But that's as far as it goes. I won't shout it out.

What I really love about what I do, though, is finding an author I haven't read before and falling in love with her (or his!) work. I've even had some of them come back and recommend my books on their sites, thus it works both ways.

But time is an issue. For work. For my own writing. For my own promos. For reading and reviewing.

So my question today to you is this - what do you do with a book that just doesn't grab you? Do you keep slogging through? Or do you give up and chuck it?

Hopefully, my books fall into the former and not the latter. :) Keep reading!

If you're so inclined, I'd appreciate a look at my stuff.
From Captiva Press by Victoria Allen
The Chosen - short, paranormal erotic
Aces and Eights - short, futuristic, erotic
From Ellora's Cave:
Danger on Xy-One - full length, futuristic romance by Vicky Burkholder
Anticipation - short, contemporary erotica by Victoria Allen
From Draumr Publishing:
The Shape of Love - contemporary shapeshifter anthology by Vicky Burkholder (et al)


jean hart stewart said...

Good question. I'm a compulsive reader, and it takes a lot to make me abandon a book. If it's really bad I eventually do, but I purely hate that. Sometimes I skip quite a bit though to get through it. Mostly I love books so it's no problem....Jean

Paris said...

I love to read and will forgive a lot if an author's voice grabs me and keeps me in the story. The one thing that will put me off enough that I don't go back to the book is if an author identifies with a heroine I find so annoying that I can't listen to her tell me how fabulous she is for one more line.

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