Wednesday, June 05, 2019

First ten books I ever reviewed, on this blog, going back to 2005

When I first saw this prompt at Falling for YA, I said to myself (with apologies to Emeril Lagasse), "Self! how hard can that be?" Well, turns out not as easy as it sounds. Not only that, this little exercise led to a bit of thinking about my blogging practice as well as looking at how my book reviewing craft has evolved over time.

So, I am going to do the following. First, I will list those ten books below. After the list, I am going to do the rest of my writing reflection on my experience. That way, if all you want to do is see the list and leave, you are welcome to do so.

Thus, the first ten books I ever reviewed at The Itinerant Librarian, going back to 2005. I am including links to the reviews in the blog for anyone interested (plus I have a reason for doing it too). I am also including the date of the reviews' blog posts.

The List:

1. How to deal with parents who are angry, troubled, afraid, or just plain crazy, 2nd edition
May 10 2005 

2. Crossing the Rubicon: the Decline of the American Empire at the End of Age of Oil.
July 5 2205

3. Freakonomics.
July 8 2005

4. Schwarzenegger Syndrome.
July 19 2005

5. Kissing Bill O'Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy. 
July 28 2005

6. Nothing's Sacred.  
Aug 5 2005

7. Confessions of an Argentine Dirty Warrior.
Sept 2 2005

8. Cognac Seductive Saga. 
Sept 16 2005 

9. Teachers have it easy.
Nov 28 2005

10. Reading Oprah. 
Nov 28 2005

Reflections and thoughts

  • These are the first ten books I could track here at The Itinerant Librarian going back to 2005, when this blog started.  I started my professional blog (currently on extended hiatus) before this one, on March 17, 2005. One of the first book reviews on that blog, a pretty forgettable book by now, actually got some anonymous review from what I later learned was likely a troll (what I often call a fuckbagel). I wrote a reply more for myself and others. However, I've learned since then to block such idiots, and I do so liberally and with no problem on my part. Anyhow, for this exercise, I had to draw a boundary, so I stuck with my personal blog here, which has evolved into a decent book blog. So these are the first ten book reviews on this blog.
  • You will notice the book reviews listed lack any photos of book covers or any other images. Back then I had no idea that was even an option. Also things like linking to WorldCat was something I learned to do consistently later. Back in 2005 I was not only learning how to write a book review online (hey, I was an English major; I know how to effing write, including reviews), but I was also learning how to blog overall and finding out what I could do or not do. All I will say at this point is I have come a very long way.  
  • This process which started as a simple prompt became very reflective as I had to look over the blog's archives, including posts I have not revisited in a long time. The process even gave me a few new ideas on things to try out on the blog such as revisiting a post, updating a topic, or other new things. 
  • I have managed to become a more consistent and committed book reviewer. This includes being more formal about how I write and do book reviews. I not only review what I read for leisure and/or professionally but I also seek out galleys, review copies, and work with a publisher here or there. I get books from a variety of sources now. Heck, I even have a book reviewer statement now like other book bloggers do (and as I looked it over for this post I see it needs some update tweaks, so I will work on that soon). 
  • As I mentioned above, I started linking to WorldCat to get book information in a convenient way. I also provide a citation, mostly in MLA style (again, the English major in me), plus WorldCat link to help my two readers find the book in a library near them if interested. A reason for this is that I came to realize my reviews were more than just my notes, and that, well, I had three readers by now, and I should strive to do better by them. In addition, if I review a book for a specific publisher, I will add also a link to their site for folks wanting to buy. Also in some instances, if requested, I will leave a shorter version of a review in places like Amazon and some book social sites. 
  • An issue with Blogger. Apparently their search option overall sucks for the blogs. It seems it cannot go back beyond a decade, and that barely. I had to go as far as I could on the search, then go to the archive on that date the search left off and work my way backwards. A general Google search was not that much helpful since it depends on how much "Google juice/mojo" a post may have, and of course, back in 2005 I was a nobody (I mean, I am still a nobody, but now Google will pick my content up once in a while). This is also why I provided the exact links above, not just for any reader interested but for me to actually be able to find them again if need be.
  • In reviewing, other changes. I used to post my reviews on GoodReads. I do not do that anymore for various reasons including some fuckery that came along when Amazon bought them. So I just use them to rate a book and keep track of what I read (i.e. a running list). I used to also post on BookLikes, but after they had that massive breakdown where they were down for weeks on end with no news in site, I basically abandoned it. I am considering if I should go back or not, but you know, I got trust issues now). Add to this the Tumblr debacle of 2018, which led me to delete my Tumblr (not because I had porn in it, but because they got so bad I started getting flags on relatively tame posts, and I was not about to spend my time on appealing their idiotic algorithm bots, so I backed the content up and adios). And while I am aware Blogger itself can suddenly get a hiccup or worse, it has proven relatively stable when compared to other options (even the web version of Wordpress is becoming a pain with things like limits on photos, something I do not really need to worry here, so that blog over there is likely getting a review to see if it stays or goes). In the end, I am currently exploring some new social media options to help supplement the blog here and keep promoting my reviews (as well as the rest of my content), so stay tuned. I am bound to write a bit on that next step of the journey down the road. 
  • Looking at the list itself tells a bit about what I was interested in reading then, and I could reflect on how some of the interests remain the same and others have changed. . . 

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