Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Salon- A Break and a Fresh Start

I actually got kind of tired of reading this week. I finished From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant, an entertaining read by debut author Alex Gilvarry, and looked at some of the books in my to-read-next pile and felt sort of deflated. So I took a few days off from reading. This month, February, I'm dedicating to review obligations. I have over a dozen to read, only a few of which I'm sure I'll get to, including
  • The Long Song, by Andrea Levy,
  • Varamo, by Cesar Aira,
  • An Ermine in Czernopol, by Gregor von Rezzori,
  • The Mighty Walzer, by Howard Jacobson, and
  • A Man of Parts, by David Lodge.
I've stopped accepting pitches until further notice. I'm just happier when I read books I pick out for myself and the fact that I have to more or less force myself to read review books shows that it's not really what I want to be doing. I want to hear from the publishers and publicists I already know; I'm talking about the random stuff that comes in.  I still get lots of the "I know you're not accepting pitches but you should accept mine" variety, which really puzzle me. If you read my review policy long enough to process that I'm not taking pitches, what do you honestly expect me to say?

Four of the above are books that I specifically requested, and that's different from accepting a pitch. And of course some offers are too good to refuse.

I've rebounded from my reading slump with Andrea Levy's outstanding The Long Song. Now everyone is telling me to read Small Island, her earlier book. Have you read either or both? What do you think? I'm really impressed with her ability to create empathy in the reader for characters whose actions are understandable and awful at the same time. I took this book for review a long time ago; I'm sure the publicist who sent it to me thinks I'm never going to review it. I am! This week most likely!

I hope you're having a great Sunday. I'd love to know what you're reading- or not reading. More Sunday Salon here.


Laura said...

I'm glad you're out of your reading slump! I really liked Small Island but have yet to read The Long Song. I'm looking forward to your review, whenever you get to it! I really understand the issue of managing "reading obligations" whether they are ARCs or challenges. I'm much more into "read what I want, when I want" these days.

bermudaonion said...

I know how you feel. I've really cut back on the books I accept too.

Amy said...

I've really cut down on what I accept as well. There are very very few publishers I actually talk to regularly so that also makes it easier! Good luck with your reading this month!

Alexia561 said...

Trying to cut back on the number of review copies as well, but some are too good to resist! I probably have enough books in my TBR pile to last me the rest of the year, but I'm realistic enough to know I can't resist the bright, shiny new titles! Need to catch up on my reviews this week, and started a letter writing challenge where I write/mail at least one letter every day this month. So far, am having fun!

Have a great Sunday!

Harvee said...

Haven't heard of Andrea Levy's new book. Would love to read this one. Have read about two of her books; she is certainly writing a lot! Hooray!

Aths said...

I've heard a lot about Andrea Levy's books and they are on my wishlist. Glad to hear that one of them got you out of your slump. Hope you have a good February!

Col (Col Reads) said...

Sometimes we all need a break! Glad you have some good reads to look forward to in February!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I adore Small Island. Here's the review I wrote back in 2006:

Now I'm off to add the new book to my wishlist.

I'd also like to invite you to sign up for my February Giveaway! Win All Kinds of Kisses or a $25 Amazon gift card!

Vasilly said...

It's understandable to take a break from reading sometimes. I haven't read anything by Levy yet so I can't recommend her earlier book to you.

I'm cutting back on requesting and accepting ARCs. My reading is almost non-existent right now so there's no need for me to accept ARCs. I don't know why some publishers decide to ignore review policies and still ask about giving us books we don't want. It would save them time and money to accept that we're taking a break for now.