Thursday, 11 October 2012

Closed to Review Requests

I've been thinking of closing my site to review requests for a while.  The real impetus has been my 'All the time in the world' posts, where I list books I'd love to read - but don't have time to.  I've only posted 2 or 3 of those so far, but I've got some in the wings and more books keep getting added.

I'm the type of person who keeps book lists.  When I see a book I want to read I write it down.  I try to set up a reading schedule (always changing as new books pop up unexpectedly).  With all the review books I get, it's hard to read books I see elsewhere at all, let alone within a reasonable amount of time.  I take reviewing seriously.  I'm a bookseller by trade and enjoy promoting books.  But even more than that, I enjoy reading them.  And I've decided it's time to take back some of my reading time.

Here's the pile of books by my dining room table:
I think I've read a few of the books in it, maybe as many as 4.  Obviously more to go.  Here are my husband's bookshelves:
So far, I've read the first book of the first collection of the Lensman Chronicles.  He's also got a few Pratchett novels I read before I met him.  Aside from that, this is virgin territory.  I keep finding nifty books mentioned online that I'd like to read.  After checking out the library, my store and other sites without luck (as I'm getting into older SF), I take a browse through his bookshelves.  You wouldn't believe the number of books I've discovered he owns that I want to read.  Somehow, it's always a shock too, realizing I'd wasted all that time.  I need to start checking out his shelves first. :)

This is a neater pile I made for the purposes of photography.  It includes the books from the floor pile above that I haven't read, as well as some books from my living room shelves (but not my husband's).  It does not include any of the books I haven't read from my bookshelves upstairs or the piles on either side of the bed.  Or the ebooks on my various readers.

Most of these are from publishers because I'm a bookseller (from product previews, previous book expos (Book Expo Canada, Book Expo America), store mailings, etc).  Some (a significantly smaller number) are because of my blog.  Some I bought myself (note: books I buy go to the bottom of my reading pile as there's no 'deadline'.  In order to read books I want to own faster, I started borrowing them from work so that I'd have to return them.  This has the added benefit of making sure I like the books before I buy them.  But there are a few books that I bought before instituting this that have been waiting patiently for years - and in vain - for me to pick them up).

I feel bad when publishers send me books and I don't read them.  Sometimes it's because I'm not interested in the book.  Sometimes it's because other books have crowded it out of my reading schedule.  Sometimes it's because it's a sequel and I can't justify spending the time reading the previous books in the series.

I'm looking to change all of that by closing this site to reviews.  I'd like to take the next year (or more) to, if not read all the books currently in my house unread (by me), put a serious dent into the piles.  I'd like to read the sequels to books I enjoyed.  I'd like to read the previous books in series publishers have sent me the most recent books in.  I'd like to read outside the genre once in a while.  I've been thinking of starting some medieval book reviews (both primary and secondary sources).  I'd like to read all the backlist titles I've written down in my time as a bookseller and haven't had time to pick up.

I intend to keep an eye on NetGalley to see what's coming up, and to throw in the occasional new book review.  But I am so looking forward to being able to hear about a book or think about one and read it immediately.  This year, if there was a book I wanted to read it would take 3 months or more before I could pick it up, and that didn't necessarily mean I'd be able to finish it.  I've got the Brave New Worlds anthology edited by John Joseph Adams, started but unfinished next to me.  Ready Player One suffered the same fate, as did the short story collection of John W. Campbell's that I bought last year, all excited to be getting into SF short stories.  And often by the time I was able to pick a book up, I wasn't as interested/excited by it anymore (you have to be in the right mood for books).

There's so much to read, and I intend to read a lot of it.  But to do that, I need fewer obligations and more time to explore all the books out there.  This year I have (somehow) managed to read almost a book a week.  Even so, the piles keep getting higher.  It's time to stop letting the piles grow and start seeing them shrink a little.

So until further notice, Sci-Fi Fan Letter is closed to review requests.

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