Recently I got a recommendation for a book of fiction by a longtime friend (thanks, Bill!). He read a book that he liked and took the time to recommend it, pointing out a few things specifically that he thought I’d like. That got me thinking about recommendations and friends and book reviews and such.
Ages ago, when I was still a student at Hinds Junior College, I used to work at Camelot Music. This was in the days when Camelot’s walls were full of cassette tapes and the racks were full of vinyl…before the cd took over. Over time, I noticed that frequent customers would return to specific employees to ask them for a suggestion for something to buy or for their opinion on something new. I realized that customers came to rely on and trust the opinions of the various employees. Yes, I even had folks come to me to ask if I’d heard an album and what I thought of it.
I think of it much in the same way that I’ve said about feedback on creative work: accept it all but evaluate the source. Country music or rap fans never came to me because they knew I didn’t listen to that style of music. Writers of romance have to take my opinion with a grain of salt—if the romantic parties don’t wear spandex and capes, then I’m probably not interested.
I don’t do a lot of book reviews here, but I do them once a month or so. I often wonder if anyone reads them because I figure the majority of the readers of my blog do not read many comics or superhero related books. Yes, I’ve often wondered about how some of my entries work to create my “writer’s platform”…and then I don’t worry too much because as I’ve said before, that’s okay because I pretty much write this journal—oops, I mean blog—for me.
But when I do book or comic reviews, you the reader, have to evaluate the source (for those who attend Ole Miss, that source would be “me.”). It helps to know me personally and to have had conversations with me so you’d know I like superheroes, civil war and American history and I’m NOT a big fan of the greatest American tyrant, Abraham Lincoln. Oh, you don’t have to know me personally to have gotten that, but see—when you know those things, it helps you evaluate the source when I talk about whether a comic/book/film/whatever is something I liked.
You shouldn’t just do that for the things “I” review, but for every review/recommendation you read.
So, when my longtime friend Bill Sawyer—who knows all those things about me and more—suggests a book I might like, there’s a pretty good chance I will. I hope that you do the same thing when you read any reviews/suggestions/recommendations that “I” make.