About a month ago I read this post at Books on the Brain. Lisa was so genuinely taken in by this book, Life As We Knew It that I knew I wanted to read it; I hadn't even read her review - just the fact that she was completely enthralled by it.
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is a novel meant for a teen audience about the end of civilization as we know it, from the point of view of Miranda, a teenage girl. Something goes awry with the moon which disturbs the equilibrium of the earth and chaos ensues. When presented with a story like this, I choose to go along with it - that is to say, I didn't really question the science behind the story - could this really happen? I couldn't say. What this story is really about though, is how Miranda and her family and her town deal with what could be the end of civilization. Miranda comes to learn how strong she really is and how important her family is to her. I think I didn't like it quite as much as Lisa, but it's a terribly compelling story and I recommend it.
Well, What is so Great About Book Blogs? If it weren't for Lisa and her blog, I never would have picked up this book. It would really never have occurred to me to read from the teen section. Most of the books at the bookstore in this section are about vampires or girls in short skirts. So I have broadened my horizons. And hopefully, sometimes, I get the chance to broaden the horizons of others. It's a great feeling to have comments like I did on my last post about Keeping the House - so many had never heard of it, or weren't sure about it since maybe it didn't get a lot of press.
And there is the struggle. I go back and forth about how I feel about reading review copies. In most ways, it's great. I get free books, feel flattered that someone might value my opinion, and because I'm picky about what I accept or request, most times I enjoy the books. But there is down side. I become one of many who are reading the same book. Sometimes it is hard to get to 'my own' books because of these commitments. And finally, sometimes I feel like a bit of an advertisement. I want to share more here than just new releases that I've liked, because there are a lot of books that were published last year or five years ago that are terrific too. When I think about what sort of posts I like to read, I certainly do like reading about the new great title out there, but I feel most blessed by learning about books that I've never heard of or never thought to read. Just think - when I go to bookstores, particularly in big ones where I don't usually shop, isn't my goal to find something that I haven't seen a million times already? Who knows. We all know times are tough and publishers are struggling. Perhaps the review copies will dry up. But perhaps, since our opinions are free, they will not. Time will tell.
Do you struggle with this? How do you reconcile your feelings on this?