Reviews — useful reviews, professional reviews, good reviews — are most like critiques given after it's too damn late to fix anything. They aren't there to help the author do better, but to guide readers toward books they'd like and away from books they wouldn't. For that, a good reviewer is worth her weight in gold. Reading as a reviewer means keeping an eye toward what's good and what's bad. It's an act of judgment.
Which is to say, it's practicing dissatisfaction. And like anything we practice, the more we do it, the better we get at it.
-- Daniel Abraham, Another Word: Practicing Dissatisfaction
It's official: I'm closing the blog.
Closing the blog, officially, has been on my mind a LOT lately. Obviously, I've cut back: instead of doing full-blown reviews, I've scaled down to flash reviews to some success. However, I find myself still not wanting to write reviews. I find myself not wanting to rate books, to pick apart and justify my reasons for giving a book a bad rating or support my reasons without sounding like a giddy fangirl for a good rating. I've grown beyond jaded, which is why Daniel Abraham's above quote is so apt for this occasion.
But what really drove the lesson home was stumbling upon a blog entry by one of my grad school mentors, Tobias Buckell. In his post, The Fate of Today's Book Bloggers, he talks about burnout, and what happens when book bloggers read SO MUCH that what used to be new and wonderful and exciting for them becomes derivative and not very good. He states:
When you get to a point where you’ve read an amazing number of books, you change. You’ve read so much that what may seem new or interesting to most (and even to the writer of the book you’re reading) is just a variation to you. Your expectations regarding the work change.
Due to subjectivity being what it is, many writers can mistake what’s happening and view it as the books getting worse, not their own aesthetic changing. Two things can happen. One, despair at what they perceive is the dying of quality. You see this a lot with people who hit a certain number of books read: they begin to rail against the dreadfulness of everything. It can lead to bitterness, cynicism, and outright hatred of something they previously loved.
I don't want to be bitter, or cynical, or hate something I used to love. I do, however, have to recognize my tastes and needs as a reader are changing, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the status quo for this blog. Admittedly, I could force the blog to change with my needs: you guys are actually starting to see that as I read a little bit more nonfiction.
But the truth is, reviewing has become a chore. When writing a review becomes an item on my to-do list and I'm still putting it off, then it needs to go. And it's time. If I made it until the end of this year, I would have been reviewing for eight years. EIGHT YEARS. That's a long time to be reading and dissecting books, especially now when I just want to be able to sit down, read a book, spend a few moments reflecting whether or not I liked it, and move on.
So with that said, it's time. Here's how it's going to happen:
1) Live Journal will stay open. In the next few days, I'll post a sticky note at the top to discuss how people can look up old reviews, as well as discuss a comment policy for those old reviews. I'll also touch on friending, where to find me, etc.
2) Word Press will close by June 1st. Not Calico in Transition, no, but rather the mirrored Calico Reaction site. There's no need to keep TWO archives going, and bringing Calico Reaction to Word Press was an expansion of the original blog anyway, so that's the one that will go.
3) I will still talk about books, informally: you can find me at Goodreads as well as Calico in Transition (or, if you don't want to leave the comfort of LJ, calicotransit), where you'll find really meaty discussions, should I decide to have them. I should also note if I read a book I really, really want to talk about, it'll happen there (at the blog, not necessarily Goodreads). If you're following Calico Reaction on WordPress, subscribing to Calico in Transition will be your best bet. I'll also work out a way to at least list what I'm reading on a regular basis at Calico in Transition, which will give you a chance to ask me to share my thoughts, if you're curious about a title.
4) I am, however, deleting the Calico Reaction Facebook Fan Page. Just so you know. If I ever create an author page, I'll announce that at the blog.
5) Calico's Dares: alas… I'll still be using your nominations to pick and choose what I read this year (I've gotten some great responses since June's announcement, THANK YOU!), but there will be no more announcements, no more newsletters, no more nothing. It's all going to be very informal. As for my dares to you, well….I'm gonna drop those too. I considered keeping them up, but really, that's never what this blog has been about, it's just been icing on the cake. If I'm stopping the reviews, I don't need to do the other things that keep eating up my time. However, I'm always game, so if you want recommendations, feel free to ask. Seriously: ask. I'm always happy to recommend something. :)
I do want to make one thing clear: I have loved the time I have spent here, and that's due to all of YOU. If I didn't have such an awesome community of readers, I would've given this up a long time ago. Your support is one of the main reasons I've stuck with it for as long as I have, but life, it changes, interests fade or develop, and right now, I want to get back to some basics. One of those basics is just reading for fun, without the pressure of reviews.
I'm sorry to close down the blog, don't get me wrong. Making the decision has been difficult. But it's also more bittersweet than sad, kind of like the ending of a favorite television show: I'm sorry to see it go, but I'm content and satisfied with the time I've spent with it. As regular readers, I hope you feel the same.
And I do hope that if you're interested in my ramblings, book-related or not, that you continue to keep in touch. Again, here's where you can find me:
3) Calico in Transition
Thanks so much for ALL of your support, and if you have questions, please feel free to ask: I'm still here, and I'll still comment, so don't feel like I don't want to hear from you. I do. It's been a wonderful 7.5 (ish) years, and I wish you all the best of luck in all your reading endeavors. :)
New Words: 824
Current Total Word Count: 8,858
Goal: Put together an workable draft of the novel that I would actually let someone read.
Accomplished: Finished Chapter Three, in which Claire and Evan discuss the coming events of the weekend and the potential for beer.
Random Rough Sentence(s): Evan reached across the table and gave her a high five, then turned to me. He smiled unleashing cavernous dimples. “Everyone must party, my friend. Everyone. Especially you.”
Notes: I am SO FREAKING HAPPY THAT I WROTE SOMETHING on this novel! It's been many weeks! Too many weeks! And the absence has made me sad. But all the world's better now, because there are words, sweet beautiful words.
SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
As a kid, I had what they used to call hay fever. I’m sure there’s some eight syllable medical word, but it boiled down to summer allergies so bad I’d literally run a fever, and I mean literally in the literal term. This settles where the term “hay fever” came from.
Still, a summer with allergies beats any winter, any time, any way. Not that the season matters, as I’ve learned thanks to the efforts of a pushy wife and fourteen hundred needles.
Last winter I suffered through a series of sinus infections. Naturally my wife suffered more, which perhaps explains why she encouraged me to go see an ear, nose and throat specialist.
By “encouraged”, I mean “made me”. My protest that an ENT has nothing to do with sinuses – it’s not in the name – fell on ears even deafer than my own clogged ones. At least ears are in the name.
I wonder if they have foot, leg, and knee doctors?
( Surprise unexpected 4am Hannibal and Millennium meta.Collapse )
This entry was originally posted over here - but comment wherever you want!
- Current Mood: thoughtful
- Current Music:Strauss - Die Fledermaus - A Most Successful Host; Laughing Song: First Impressions