There's been a certain amount of debate in the book blogosphere recently about the role that book bloggers do and/or should play in reviewing books, and about authors behaving badly (here too), and such other sundry things. I haven't been commenting on this much on other people's blogs, but I have been ruminating thereupon, and have reached some conclusions, at least as far as this blog is concerned.
I have decided that, as of this point forward, I will no longer be accepting books for review from authors, publishers, or publicists. There may be some exceptions to this rule, but they are not really worth mentioning at this point. My about page will soon be modified to reflect this change.
I do still have a stack of for-review books to work through, and I will get to all of those in due time. After that, however, I will be concentrating my reading on less-new books, from my own collection and from libraries and from other such sources.
My reasons are as follows:
1) It's not you, it's me.
Right now, I am simply reading too much -- and doing too much with the rest of my life -- to be able to keep up with reviews. I have an awful lot of books to get through for school, which means that books from authors and people get pushed further and further down the pile. That's not particularly fair to those who have sent me texts to read. I cannot get reviews up in a timely manner anymore.
2) Actually, sometimes it is you.
Some of the review copies I've received over the past few months have been really fantastic, super books, books I'm glad that I've read. Others, however, have ranged from mediocre right down to abysmal. I haven't the patience to figure out which is which, and there's nothing more irksome than slogging through some bad book just because I'm obligated to review it. I'd rather spend my pleasure-reading time actually reading for pleasure.
So what will change here? Probably not that much, as far as the rest of you are concerned (those of you who are not me, I mean). Obviously I will keep reading books and writing about books -- I'll just be sourcing the books I read in a different way. Things here might become moderately more amusing, since I'll be more relaxed about the reviews that I am doing (though no promises). I may still participate in the occasional book tour or whatever, but I'm going to play those by ear.
To answer one question that may be asked, I'm not doing this because I'm afraid of having an experience like Trish's. I think that authors like that are not common, and I'm not particularly concerned if authors don't like my reviews. The discussions centred around that were not the catalyst of my decision, although they were timely.