The Future of Book Reviews on this Website

Hello, friend, family member, or poor soul who got lost on the internet and accidentally stumbled upon my small corner of weirdness.

I’ve got an update post. I’ll try to keep it short and sweet, but if you’ve been reading my work for any amount of time, you know that I often struggle with being concise. I ramble a lot.

I first started this blog back in 2014 with the intention of putting myself out there as a writer. Since then, I’ve written a couple a few random posts about my life, a narrative capturing of the time I met a famous dude, a satire piece that sent my school up in arms for a week, and a (largely) still relevant post about the Colin Kaepernick-national anthem controversy that gained a surprising amount of traction. The thing I’ve written the most, though, are book reviews. I enjoy doing them, and they give me a chance to practice writing in response to the things I read, which is great for honing my craft.

For the most part, these reviews have taken a rather personal tone. I haven’t chosen to stick with any particular format, and I’ve interjected my daily life into almost all of them. This has resulted in reviews that are too large in content and not as professional as they should be. Along with my many literary endeavors, (writing, attaining a Ph.D. in English, and reading a ton), I also aspire to be a book critic. I don’t necessarily want to make this a full-time job, though I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t jump at the first website to offer me a gig in that vein. However, if I want to make any sort of money or garner any semblance of a consistent readership, I know I’ve got to change a few things, and that starts today.

I’m sorry if you did like the personal anecdotes and interjections. They are now a thing of the past. I can’t expect to be taken seriously by any publication if I continue to waste hundreds of words explaining connections I have to certain books or why I put off reading them for so long. I have to learn how to be straight to the point and spend all my time discussing what works and what doesn’t. I need to find the way I like to speak about novels and repeat the formula consistently. Only then will I have achieved a book review’s purpose: to tell you if it’s worth a damn or not.

Starting with my next review, (Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief) I’ll be completely overhauling the way I’ve done things in favor of something more streamlined and repeatable. I’ll be spending the next few days scouring the annals of The New York Times and The New Yorker trying to get a feel for the stylistic demands of the craft. I got pretty good at doing this for films when I was in college, so it shouldn’t be too difficult of a transition.

Suffice it all to say that any review from this point forward will be my attempt at emulating anything that you might see from professional places online or in a magazine. They’ll still have my voice and idiosyncrasies, but hopefully I’ll be able to provide better content–quick reads that allow you to make a decision. I’ll also be sticking to more current works for the most part, because it probably doesn’t do you any good to read my thoughts on a book that came out 50 years ago. I’m a subscriber of The Book of the Month club, so I’ll be putting out a review of my selections as I finish them. I’m hoping that recency will be on my side and I can gain some real traction. I probably should have done this a while ago, but, then again, I probably should have finished my novel by now, too. I’m slow to adapt.

If you liked my old stuff, I’d encourage you to stick around for this new wave. I’m excited and chomping at the bit, and I think it’ll translate into my work. If this doesn’t sound like your thing, I’m sure I’ll still have content from time to time that you’ll find enjoyable. Either way, thanks for reading anything I’ve posted on here over the years. I appreciate every ‘like’, ‘click,’ and ‘comment’ I’ve ever gotten. You guys rock.

-ELM

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