A Literary Entry
2007-04-19, 4:40 p.m.
Odd thing about my book review site: some months ago, several agents discovered it. And they started offering me (or in the case of one place, who I have not even heard from directly, they just ship me stuff out of the blue...via UPS grrrr) free books for review.
On the one hand, yay for free books! On the other hand, almost all of the books I've been sent were ones that, had I been in a store and read the backs of them, I would not have purchased. They are mostly Quite Literary, a genre I tend to dislike (bad flashbacks to school, you know). So I'm very nervous every time I pick up one of the agented freebies. Will this be good? Will this stink on ice? It's a different experience from picking up a book I've been looking forward to having come out for months or years.
Sometimes, the books surprise me and turn out to be great. I'm glad to have been introduced to them, when I wouldn't have otherwise. Other times, I feel like I'm back in school and forced to read Crime and Punishment again- I'm hating every minute and just want the book to be OVER already, but I feel obligated to finish it. I feel like David Plotz.
(There are two books I've been sent that I never read. One of them I could NOT get past page 14 of it, the other is a Nicholas Sparks book. I can't bloody stand anyone who writes books to specifically make you cry, so there was no way I could read that in an unbiased manner. So far, nobody's noticed I didn't read those, as they came from The Place That Sends Stuff At Random.)
I just finished one of the latter. The first half is good, the ending is good, but there's about 150 pages of "oh dear lord, I do not want to be reading this subject matter." I really skimmed those gory details because I wanted it to be over fast.
I pretty much didn't read any of the agented books while I had Various Family Crap going on (I wanted some guaranteed uplifters at the time as opposed to crap-shooting), and I didn't get through too many of them while on vacation the way I intended to. Now that I've got agents asking, "Um, please, when is the review going to be up?", I am feeling guilty about my backlog and am now making myself cram through the pile before I read any of the books I got for my birthday (which are all in the "been waiting for that to come out for a year" category). I've quite enjoyed the last two in the pile that I read, but after finishing this last book, I've got a bad reading taste in my mouth. I'm about ready to snap and start reading one of "my" books to get me out of book funk. I just got "How Sassy Changed My Life" and the new Buffy comic...
I have started attending my writing group again after a winter hiatus. Just in time to find out that my usual ride is moving away from me (he lives in one of the nearby towns) and into Sac in a few months. What this means is that while I can still catch a ride into meetings, I can't get home with him any more after that point. Considering that it is NOT SAFE to take the county bus back into my town at 10 at night... I was all, "Crap, I am gonna have to drop out of group."
Thus, I am now on the lookout for someone who lives in this town to join the group. Okay, so I've been trying to find someone in this town who's a reliable writer for years now (I love the local NaNo folks when they pop up in November, but Jess and I were the only ones who didn't flake out and disappear halfway through the month, and now it's just down to me), but now it seems like time to step up the campaign, as it were.
The good news is, the writer's block streak seems to be over. The bad news is, so far I've written what amounts to fanfic *sigh* (ironically, the group as a whole thought it was my best work ever. I am not kidding.), and a long-ass emo poem. I shouldn't be worrying about this so much when I am generally pretty swamped until mid-May with preparing for Whole Earth sales and don't have the time anyway, though.