Just a quick follow up to Saturday’s post re: Twitter + reviews to say that my post had a great outcome — Matthew Pearl read it and contacted me, and we had a great conversation! I’m not going to post what we discussed, but I was very happy to receive his response. He’s a great guy — generous with his time, supportive of writers, thoughtful, and (the thing that really won me over?) loves animals. He volunteered at the Animal Rescue League for 10 years, which automatically makes him awesome.
I’m still thinking about this ecosystem of writers, reviewers, readers, and bloggers, especially the points of intersection, but this experience has made me reframe how I’ve been approaching the question to consider each player’s back story, assumptions, and motivations. More than anything, this brought to light that people write, read, and review for completely different reasons — even the same person’s motivations can change. What I read in the bath tub when I’m trying to relax is completely different from what I read when I’m teaching craft, which leads to the Goodreads rating problem I mentioned earlier. These books and reading experiences can’t be compared.
I’ll post more after I have a chance to process, but I couldn’t have asked for a better end to this little story.
And, to close this on a silly note, here’s a video by Washington Post fiction critic Ron Charles, Sh*t Book Reviewers Say (via Gwenda Bond):