The Philosophy of Books Read Lists

Frequent readers of this blog will have noted that I keep a running list of books I’ve read during the year (in case you’ve missed them, here’s the latest).

Now, what this is?  Is a record of the books I’ve read during the year.  It is not a recommendation list for readers of this blog.  It is a list of books that I’ve read.

I really, really, really didn’t think that this needed an explanation, but!  It appears that I was wrong.  So, I’m going to talk about the Philosophy of Books Read Lists as practiced on this blog since the late, great year of 2009.

So everyone is on the same page, this discussion is generated by an email I received, to wit:  “Sharon, I know it’s a bit more work, but it would be very useful if you could include links (to Amazon?) on your “Books Read” lists.”

Now, there’s a surprising amount of stuff packed into this suggestion.  Let’s unpack it.

One — the assumption that I am personally driven, or perhaps have a duty, to be useful to the Plain People of the Internet.  In case anyone was in doubt here — I really am not driven to be useful to random strangers.  Nor is it my duty to be useful to said random strangers.

Two — that including links (to Amazon?) would be Most Acceptable to the Plain People of the Internet.  Which, as anyone who has been hanging around the internet for two hours and forty-five minutes will derive — it isn’t.  The second I link only to Amazon, I will inundated with demands that I link to every other bookstore on earth, and that?  is A LOT more work than I signed up for.

Way back in time — 1997, or so — I used to maintain an Affiliate Account at Amazon — that’s the thing where you make targeted links and when people click on those links, you, the Affiliate, get a piece of the action.  I stopped doing the Affiliate thing back, oh, aways, when it became clear that Amazon’s idea of right and wrong. . .diverged from my own.  So, I know about Amazon Affiliate accounts and I choose not to participate.  And it’s not like people won’t buy from Amazon anyway, so my not providing a link, whether or not I get paid$, really makes no difference in the Scheme of Stuff Getting Bought.

Three — There is the assumption that it’s hard to find the books on my Books Read List.  In fact, there’s nothing easier.  Google is your friend.  All you have to do is cut ‘n paste the title/author into a query box and, hey presto! you will be served links to many, many vendors from whom you can purchase said title (with Amazon at the top of the list, naturally).  It will also provide you with links to Goodreads and to any reviews that book may have received.  Incredibly useful tool, Google.  And it makes things so easy.

So, there’s that.

However, while we’re on the subject of my Books Read lists. . .

Occasionally people ask me to review the books I’ve read, and the answer to that is?  No.

I used to review books professionally (by which I mean, I used to be paid to review books).  I quit that gig when I was hired to be executive director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

I never went back to reviewing professionally, because I know too many writers.  If I give a book a bad review, the chances are good that I’m going to Blight the Life of someone I know, and while I’m not by nature useful, I’m also not cruel — though I can be driven to sarcasm very easily.

I’ve had enough people drop me notes thanking me for having read their book (Google again. Ego searches are a wonderful thing, so they are not.), that I’m not going to risk the recriminations and angst that will go with a bad, or even a less-than-completely enthusiastic review.

Some folks have worried that I maybe don’t know how to link to my own books.  I hereby assure them that I do know how to do that.  To wit!

You may pre-order a signed and/or personalized copy of A Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume Four from Uncle Hugo’s SF Bookstore! Here’s your link.  Also!  If you don’t want to cope with Amazon’s shenanigans, you may buy the ebook edition of Fortune’s Favors in multiple formats from Baen Books.  Here’s the link.

So, I think my skills there are adequate to demand.

All righty, then!  Let’s recap.

  1.  The Books Read list that I keep on my blog is a running list of books I’ve read during the year.  I put it here because this is my blog and I get to decide what content is “appropriate” to it.
  2.  The Books Read list is not a recommended reading list for people who read this blog.  If you see a title that looks interesting or an author you’ve never heard of, and you want to explore further — that is your decision.
  3.  As has been discussed elsewhere, frequently, I am not a nice person who lives to be agreeable to you.  My warning label is:  Sharp edges handle with care.  Remember that and our interactions will be so very much more pleasant.

I hope this is all clear and that there will be no more misunderstandings about the Books Read lists.

Thanks for listening, and now?  I’ve gotta get to gym.



5 thoughts on “The Philosophy of Books Read Lists”

  1. Speaking of books, the usual booksellers* web pages indicate that a fresh new paperback edition of Conflict of Honors with a beautiful cover is to be released October 29, 2019.

    *thus avoiding favoritism.

  2. Good job on the links. Envy the list making persistence. Enjoy the slice of author life. Love the books (and the essay above). Laughed a lot at the 100+ comments on Facebook.

  3. I like you lists for 2 reasons.
    1. We have read a lot of the same books.
    2. Most importantly, the list introduces me not only to old friends but the possibility of making new ones.

    Thank you.

  4. I now use Goodreads to keep my list of books read during the year, but did it for a few years on an Excel spreadsheet. Seems to me that if folks are paying attention, they’d notice that some of the books on your list are re-reads, which seems to be an indication that you liked the book enough to read it again. I re-read favorites multiple times, such as the Liaden Universe books, McCaffrey’s Pern books, C. J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series, and others. But many of the members of my local book group never re-read. That’s hard for me to imagine, but I guess it works for them.

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