Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Getting Back To Center

Little Miss Crabby Pants really is tired.  I'm loathe to admit it, but the incident of an author stalking a reviewer and then getting a podium at The Guardian (of all places) has knocked me low.  I'm sure some of you are reading this and thinking, "Really, Wendy?  It has nothing to do with you."  Except, you know, really it does.

Fifteen years ago I was a wee lil' Super Librarian with training wheels.  I was in my early 20s, and the ink on my MLS degree wasn't even dry.  I had grand plans in college to stay in academia (I know, it is to laugh!) and fell into public libraries quite by accident.  The accident being, "Holy cow, I needs me a job!"  Which is how I fell into collection development.  Totally by accident.  Lo and behold, I loved it.  I also realized (quite quickly) that my knowledge of the romance genre was 20 years out of date.  You mean they're not all bodice-ripping rape fantasies?!  Who knew?

Getting educated on the genre began to happen when I discovered The Romance Reader (now defunct).  I started reading books that got 5-Heart reviews (A grades) and got hooked.  It helped I was reading nothing but gems.  I thought to myself, "I love these books!  I want to review these books!" and I contacted the editor, sent in some sample reviews and got hired.  What a great way to learn about the genre.  It was liking diving right into the deep end.  Oh sure, I probably should have spent my time reading mammoth backlists of Roberts, Krentz, Garwood and so on - but there's something to be said about immersing yourself deep in the waters of midlist and debut folks.  Oh the gems I read!  The new authors I discovered!

Up until the end (when burn-out hit), those years at TRR were a joy.  Yes there were kerfuffles.  Yes there were times when people got caught with their panties down.  And while it seemed epic at the time?  Compared to authors stalking reviewers (!!!) it seems positively quaint now.

In response to this troubling incident many blogs are going "dark" until Monday, October 27.  Every blog is handling this differently.  Dear Author has kicked it off with an Open Thread for Readers post encouraging reader discussion on our favorite topic: books!  Book Binge is getting back to basics to talk about our mutual love of reading.  And so on and so forth.

As for the Bat Cave?  Now seems like a good time to dip into the personal archives and post some retro reviews from my TRR days.  Original publication dates on these reviews range from 1999 to 2007.  It seems a good way to get back to my personal center.  To remind myself that sharing books, my undying love for stories, should be something simple and untainted.  And the fact that has been tainted makes me angry enough to spit nails.  In the end I'm sure this blackout probably won't make a darn bit of difference to the industry, to supporters of The Stalker etc.  But it's a simple way for me to get right with myself again.  To realign my head space. To rediscover why I've been blathering on about books online for the past 15 years (other than having no life).

I like it.  It's as simple and complex as that.


Phyl said...

I think this is a great choice. I'm looking forward to more of your older reviews.

Nikki said...

I also am looking forward to your older reviews.

azteclady said...

Thank you for all you've done and continue to do for us readers--up to and including the occasional unleashing of Little Miss Crabby Pants.