Friday, November 15, 2013

Interview with Robin

My guest today is Robin, one of the top ten reviewers on GoodReads.


I absolutely love to read! I love to learn something new and I love to be thrilled by that perfect turn of phrase.

Do you have specific genres that you review, and what is your favorite one?

I review whichever genre is most important to my work. When I was an elementary school librarian, I read and reviewed just about every picture book, beginning reader, and middle grade novel I could. As I got to know my students, I narrowed my focus to the genres they favored; it was wonderful to be able to make spot-on recommendations and to chat with them about the stories they loved.

When I became a middle school librarian, I began to read a lot of YA, especially ‘books about love’ as my 8th grade girls requested. During this time, we started a goodreads account for the school where the kids could talk about the books they thought were great. I used what they shared to make collection development decisions for the school library. It was fabulous to have that input from the teens, and even better when they found the genres they loved on the shelves at school.

Now, I’m a public library librarian, and I get to read anything and everything I want! I still read a lot of YA fantasy and adventure stories. So many YA authors really know how to craft a gripping story and a character you can’t stop thinking about. I also especially love popular science and biographies. I love it when an author takes me somewhere I didn’t ever expect to go or teaches me something.

On average, how many books do you review each month?

I write a review of just about every book I read. Not all reviews are comprehensive -- I write them primarily for myself, as a place to keep my thoughts and impressions and to store those delicious quotes I want to remember.

Do you accept unsolicited review requests, or do you only review books you select yourself?

Typically, I review books I’ve chosen myself. Recently, I’ve begun having authors approach me to read and review their books. If they are interesting to me, I will.

Considering the recent surge of self-published books on the market, what is your experience with self-published titles?

As large publishing companies buy out smaller ones and are less inclined to take risks on publishing titles that might not make piles of money, the ability to self publish seems like a great thing. There could be some great gem out there that, otherwise, would never see the light of day. That said, we’ve purchased quite a few self-published titles for our library, and none have knocked my socks off. They suffer from an absence of good editing and design. It’s interesting that the self-publishing surge has resulted in an explosion of niche erotica, and that reading it seems to be much more socially acceptable than ever before.

As a reviewer, you have to state your honest opinions. Do you publish all reviews regardless of the rating?

I publish all of my reviews, regardless of the rating. I write my reviews for myself, as a personal record of my reading life, so that I can look back and remember what I thought and who in my life might enjoy a particular book. However, I do try to be polite. I always have in the forefront of my mind the simple fact that the author has written an actual book and I have not. The accomplishment itself counts for something.

Is there any particular book or author that set the benchmark for you in a specific genre?

I have my favorites. In particular, Ursula K. LeGuin continues to set the bar for thoughtful and mesmerizing fantasy. She is unmatched in world-creating and looking at the various ways human society can be.

What was the catalyst for you to become a reviewer, and what keeps you going?

I became a reviewer in order to do a better job of making reading recommendations to the kids I taught. I continue to keep a record for myself of the things I’ve read and what I’ve thought about them.

In your opinion, do you find the new titles original and creatively executed, or do you see more of a repeat of the same (think Hollywood's surge in remakes)?

I think there are only so many themes and scenarios; what make a book great is the author’s interpretation and skill with language. More than once I’ve read something with a derivative theme that turned out to be just a better book than the one that originated the concept.

Out of all the books you've read, are there any particular books or characters that stayed on your mind?

Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville, and Luna! I was lucky enough to work with kids when these books came out. They are powerful! Readers continue to be engaged with these characters, wondering what they are doing and how they are faring, even years after the last book came out.

What is the one review you are the most proud of, and why?

I am proud of any review that encourages another reader to pick up the book.

I would like to thank Robin for answering my questions and for sharing her opinions regarding reviews. If you would like to find out more about Robin and her reviews, please click the following link to her profile:

If you would like to see someone featured here, drop me a line. Also, you can learn more about reviewers' opinions by clicking the "Interviews with the Reviewers" tag on the side bar. 

No comments:

Post a Comment