About this blog

I love to read. I have since I learned how. It wasn't till I was 9 or 10 that I grasped the concept of a "favorite author" though. Until then, I just liked some books, and didn't like others. Didn't pay much attention to who had written which books.

But then one week in the summer, we couldn't make it to the library. (I grew up in a small farming community, and going to the library required a good portion of a day, and planning.) So. Out of stuff to read! Oh Noes! So my mom (who also loved to read), driven to distraction by my whining, finally handed me her two volume collection of Rudyard Kipling's works. She thought it might be too "old" for me, but figured it would take me some time to find that out. I didn't think too much of the  volume of poems (although I laughed reading "My Rival" and cried reading the "Power of the Dog" and tried out my fiercest grin at "The Female Of The Species"). But the stories! Oh MY!

Yes, Rudyard was a product of his times - sexist, racist and all - but the stories enthralled me. The Jungle Book. Puck of Pook's Hill. Wee Willie Winkie. Just-So Stories. Rudyard taught me that, if I liked one book by an author, I might like other books by the same author. He taught me to read "authors," rather than "books," and I will always be grateful to him - and to my mom, for handing me those books.

So that's what this blog will be mostly about - authors I love. The biggest problem is choosing which authors, in what order, to gush about! Yes, I gush. Authors that don't make me want to gush will probably not get a review, although their books might appear in the "book notes" category. But authors that consistently deliver books I love are my rocks - islands of safety and comfort in an often chaotic and cruel world. (The soul-sucking "cruel" part is too often on display in my other passion - dog rescue. Trust me, I NEED those islands of comfort to escape to.)

I won't be reviewing authors I don't like, because one, there are too many I do like, and two, I'm sure somebody loves their work, just not me. I firmly believe that there are authors for every reader, and readers for every author. I will spend my time with authors who are right for me. Life's too short, and too uncertain to spend time kvetching about authors whose books don't suit my readerly taste. I'll just move on to the next book - which could be a book from an already-favorite author, a book by an author I find generally readable, but not a favorite, or a book by a "new to me" author.

The "book notes" category is quick notes on the books I read, generally as I read them. I'll let you know if they suit me or not with plus or minus signs next to the title. The more pluses (up to 3), the more I liked them and the more likely I am to buy more by that author. There will only ever be one minus sign, because that just means I won't be buying more by that author. A book with a sad or depressing ending is an automatic minus sign. If I want sad or depressing, I'll read the news. As I said above, I read fiction for comfort. I don't need a lesson in the futility of human existence or whatever it is that the writers of angst and anomie are trying to illustrate.

One plus sign means that the book was written competently, and had at least one of the other elements that make a book "good" for me - good characterization, interesting plot, and relatively brisk pacing. I might or might not buy more books by that author, but I didn't hate it. Two pluses (as you might guess) means the book has two of those elements. Three pluses means it has everything I like in a book, and if it's a New To Me Author, that author is a candidate to become a new favorite. It could also be a new book from, or a re-read of, a book an already favorite author.

(For those who are wondering "good characterization" doesn't necessarily mean appealing or likeable characters, just that I really get a sense of that character as a person, not just a cardboard puppet that's moved around the plot to be where ever the author wants it to be and do whatever the author wants done, regardless of whether it makes sense. I do prefer books with appealing characters, though.)

I'm making a list of the favorite authors I intend to review at some point. Can't tell you when I'll get to them, though! (At the rate I'm going, and considering the number of favorite authors I have, it could be months!) I enjoy a lot of different genres, and have favorite authors in many. I should note that I generally don't like the straight romance genre, because there's usually not enough plot to interest me. I do like romantic suspense/thrillers, paranormal romances - in general, any romance with an added element that makes the plot more "active" than the story of how two people fell in love. (As long as there's more plot than steam, that is. I get irritated at the constant interrupting of the plot for sex scenes in the more "erotica" versions of those mixed-genre romance novels.) I also haven't found many westerns that I like, although I've read some that I enjoyed.

I will also try to time a review to coincide with something that the author has a reason to promote, though, because I want to do my part to help them succeed as an author. Because if they don't make enough money writing books, they might stop writing. And we can't have that, because I need stuff to read!