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Broadening My Horizons with Booklist

Carolyn Rasak

Posted on November 19, 2018 21:24

2 users

How writing book reviews rekindled my love of reading.

A few years ago, my friend at work mentioned he'd been writing reviews for Booklist. I'd heard of it before, but couldn't remember exactly what it was. It's the magazine published by the American Library Association, chock full of book reviews for every genre imaginable, featuring new writers along with well-loved standbys.

He explained he got new books shipped to him roughly monthly, although they weren't entirely edited, so some mistakes were present, but the books were his to keep. And, he was paid a small sum per review. How cool was that?

I was a voracious reader as a child. I would go to the library and check out somewhere around 15 books, and I would read them all before they were due. I devoured books, hours could fly by and I wouldn't realize because I'd been so lost.

As a college student, though, I frequently had no time to read for fun, and going into adulthood I often found myself wrapped up in other things with no time to read. I missed it, of course, but reading and writing my stories was on the back burner.

It turned out the ALA needed additional reviewers for various genres. I currently review Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Crime Fiction, but there are obviously several more. I decided to go for it, and after a quick email to the person in charge I was set up with a new book arriving at my house just a couple weeks later.

I felt like a kid in the library again because the premise sounded interesting and I'd never heard of the author before. I read the book out loud with my husband and he enjoyed it as well. I wrote a review with seriously high praise for the story. Also, since it was a follow up novel, I purchased the prequel and later on, the third book in the series. All of them have been great reads.

I also received a subscription to the Booklist magazine, which is also a great resource for learning about other books that may be interesting. I've added a few novels to my reading list that I may not have heard of otherwise.

While it's nice to get a small payment, to be honest, I would write the reviews for free. Doing this has rekindled my love for reading and I've enjoyed getting to discover new authors and stories. Every once in awhile there's a book I can't connect with, and in fact I actually rejected a novel once, but overall it's been a wonderful experience. The folks there truly believe in what they do and I'm happy to contribute to their mission.

I've also been able to take writing up again. It's almost as if expanding my reading horizons helped me to become a better writer as well. I had quite an imagination as a child, as you do, and I'm delighted to have it back.

Carolyn Rasak

Posted on November 19, 2018 21:24

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Source: The Guardian

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