Do ya, punk? Huh?
Well, Ima tell you anyhow.
One word. "Book reviews."
I hated book reviews with a passion in high school, and the first few English and/or Literature classes I took in college gave me more of the same. No, it wasn't exactly like High School book reviews, but it wasn't all that different either:
"Describe the theme in this book."
"Characterize the relationship between the protagonist and her siblings.
"Discuss the reason the author chose purple as the color of Matt's bedroom wallpaper."
"Why did the vulture land on Mrs. Winkle's veranda, and what, if anything, did it portend?"
"What did Bob mean when he said 'Ma, I killed the cat?'"
I came to writing later in life largely because in my youth I believed that, in order to be a writer, I had to start with a theme, develop an outline, have a reason for everything that happened in the story, and, when one of my characters killed a cat, there had to be some reason for it other than "I just wanted to kill the damn cat."
But I did start writing eventually, and found that I didn't need a theme, I didn't have to write an outline, and my characters can sometimes kill cats just because they're sociopathic dickwads. The characters, not the cats.
I still don't do book reviews though. Why? Because I refuse to look for themes. I will not characterize relationships. I won't try to get inside the head of the author and pretentiously assume that I might understand why he did "a" in a story rather than "b." And if Bobby Jim kills the cat, I'm not going to look for any special reason why. I'm simply going to assume that's part of Bobby Jim's character, and that it's important to the story or the author wouldn't have written it like he did, and then I'll go on from there.
So that's why I don't do book reviews.
Except that I'm going to start doing book reviews. But I'll be doing them on my terms. There will be no discussion of themes, no pretending I actually know what I'm talking about (because I most assuredly do not), but I will tell you what I like and what I don't like and why.
I won't be doing reviews on famous writers. They have enough reviewers to keep them unhappy. I'll concentrate on not-or-almost-ready-for-prime-time-writers--many of whom will be peeps I've come across since I've involved myself in the writing world.
I'll be looking at stories that are way outside my comfort zone too--romance, fantasy, erotica and, yes, even literary. But I'll review them my way. Not Miss Webster's* way, may she Rest In Peace.
And I'm not going to do this all the time either. I'll do it to fill in from time to time in between my normal meaningless drivel. And only when I feel like it. So there.
So I'll be starting today with my first review: Dustin Time by June Kramin.
Oops, sorry Bug. Out of time. Too bad it was such a short review. Maybe I might get the chance to post a little more about it next time.
And, Bug? One more thing. Please don't hurt me.
*Miss Webster was my English teacher in Middle School for two years running. She pounded a great deal of grammar into my head and some of it even stuck. She taught me that "not is always an adverb." And, Dog bless her heart, she taught me to hate outlining, even as she loved it so.