That’s probably why www.goodreads.com has become one of my most recent obsessions in my quest towards literary accomplishment. It has everything you could ever need to learn more about your favorite authors, the new up and coming authors, and the books they have written/are writing. But the most important aspect of Goodreads is the book reviews to be found there. You can type in the title of practically any book and read a plethora of reviews, each more colorful than the last, and each incredibly honest, sometimes to the point of being painful.
I have to admit, I’ve given my share of negative reviews where I probably could have been more tactful than I was, but as a reader I know what I like to read and how I like my books to end—which, more often than not, is with Happily Ever After. However, after much contemplation, I now realize that as a writer myself I’m far more critical of other authors than I was when I was only a reader. On one hand, I can appreciate the work and effort it takes to write and finish a book, nevermind landing and agent and inevitably finding publication. But sometimes I have to wonder how some authors I’ve read have even made it that far given the quality, or lack thereof, of their writing. The last two books I read and reviewed on Goodreads had this problem.
I hate feeling like I’ve wasted precious hours of my life on a book that either has weak, stagnant characters or a plotline that never leads anywhere. Unfortunately, it’s my weakness that I tragically feel the need to give authors the benefit of the doubt even when I’m ¾ finished with the book, nothing has happened, the characters are driving me insane with their annoying one dimensional personalities, and I’ve read a long line of Goodreads reviews telling me to runaway before I get sucked into the pit of despair. I’m always optimistic that an author will surprise me. I’m always hopeful that the next book I read will be the literary work of the century. I’ve also been more disappointed in the books I’ve read the last two weeks than I have in a long time. I hope this isn’t a growing trend because somewhere out there is that book I can’t put down. Where the characters are layered and complicated, the storyline is exciting and full of conflict, and the ending leaves me with a sense of complete satisfaction. I want that book.
Heck, I want to write that book. Maybe I’ll get that lucky. Maybe I won’t. But for the time being I’m going to keep up the search and I’m going to use www.goodreads.com to do it.