Why do you hate capital letters?/Is your keyboard broken?/Do you think you’re some kind of linguistic iconoclast? 

over the years on goodreads, i’ve been asked this question at least a hundred times. and i wish i had a good answer, but it was never a conscious decision i made. i’m just bad at typing – now and always, and it’s speedier to just go clack-clack-clack without having to drift from the keyboard’s center. in the earliest days, i didn’t even use apostrophes, so be grateful i’ve yielded that much. this is just me writing casually at parade rest. it should in no way impugn the reputation of little rhody’s fine public school system, nor the higher education provided by nyu or queens college; when i am wearing my professional writing shoes, you will find that i use capital letters masterfully.

short answer: so lazy

What is readers’ advisory and why are you always going on and on about it?

readers’ advisory is a discipline within the realm of library science whose purpose is to find the right book for the right reader at the right time, ‘cuz robots just aren’t good at it. the worst “personalized” algorithm-generated book recommendations just suggest other titles by authors whose books you’ve purchased, which helps no one. more sophisticated services may recognize a reader’s preference for “mysteries” or “historical fiction,” but often don’t take into account the differences within that very broad category – fans of cozy cat mysteries might also enjoy gritty scottish police procedurals, philippa gregory devotees might also dig military novels set in roman times, but those aren’t typical overlaps. what readers’ advisory does is get to the umami of books – it’s a trained human using a combination of art, science, intuition, psychology and their formidable human bookbrains to identify not “what the book is about,” which is only one part of the pleasure of leisure reading but also “how the book makes a reader feel.” in the general, it’s dissecting books down to their various affective bones – identifying all the possible reasons a reader could have for loving a book, and then finding books with similar appeals to all of ‘em. in the specific, it’s using interviews and detective work in one-on-one sessions to figure out what an individual reader responds to in the books they enjoy, and using that information to direct them to books matching their preferences. 

short answer: match.com for books

Do you accept ARCs and review requests? 

i doooo, but over the years, i’ve developed relationships with publishers and authors and it’s already difficult to keep up with their offerings. i have that burning desire in me to “do all the things for all the people,” and for a while, i was able to keep up, but the longer i was around, the more requests were being made, and my scalability has been poor, since i still gotta clock in to day job(s) and do my dishes & etc. it’s gotten to the point that most of the time, i can’t even decline requests with a courteous note – and as much as i hate coming across as a dick, my time is pretty limited as i work a ton of small jobs while looking for my one big dream job. if you would like to hire me for my dream job; one in which i can unleash all of my training and my innate talent for readers’ advisory, drop me a line. i work hard and i play nice and i know about all the books. i’ll even use the shift key.

short answer: sometimes.

Explain your cat-ratings, madame.

gladly, although i’ve never spent as much time sweating over whether the stars/cats are accurate measurements of how much i enjoyed a book as i have over the review part, where i can get into all the whys and wherefores of my bookfeels, and sometimes i will come across an old review and be shocked at having granted four-stars to books that, in my memory, are clearly threes. quantifying a reading experience is hard, and you can’t always trust cats to give you the full story, but generally:

  1 cat: zero nutritional value
  2 cats: not good enough to like, not bad enough to throw
3 cats: this is everything from “like-not-love,” to “not for me but i can easily see people liking it,” to that murky, “i don’t know if i feel anything at all about this.”
4 cats: very good to great
5 cats: this is why i read

i do not give half-cats, because that is animal cruelty.

 means “unstarred,” which is not the same as “zero stars.” i do not rate certain books, like monsterporn, because i don’t read those for literary pleasure.

short answer: meow

Then why read monsterporn, if not for literary pleasure? Oh, wait – eww.

mind out of the gutter, please! i do not read them for sensual pleasure, but because i am a scholar of monsterotica! it’s more of an independent study at the unaccredited university of “let me show you this thing i found!,” and the fun for me lies more in the writing of the review than the reading of the book, so it’d be unfair to rate them alongside books read for pleasure.

short answer: for you

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this feels gauche, but when i announced i was starting a blog, everyone assured me this is a thing that is done. i’m not on facebook, i’ve never had a cellphone or listened to a podcast; so many common experiences of modern life are foreign to me, but i’m certainly struggling financially, so if this is how the world works now, i’d be foolish to pass it up. any support will be received with equal parts gratitude and bewilderment.

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