WhadamIgonnado? Too Much Stuff to Read

If I were getting paid for being a book reviewer then I would have it made.

Almost every day another envelope comes with another worthy book. The pile on my desk is getting higher and higher and I am tempted to start another blog just for book reviews. In order to get your book reviewed on this worthy bookshelf of a blog you, or your publicist, will have to pay a certain price. If you want your book to get to the top of the pile it will be more expensive. If you want a good review it costs more. If you don’t pay anything you get a lousy review.

I’m just kidding of course, but it used to be that there were such things as book editors of newspapers and they were paid to winkle out the good from the bad from the indifferent and they sent these books out to be reviewed by intelligent and learned people. The book editor was paid to do so and he had a budget to pay the book reviewer. The payment actually ensured a fairly balanced and objective review would be written. Now, however, all that has gone out the window. Instead the publicists send out the review copies to people like me expecting me to take time to read the book, think about it and write a review. All of this, I am expected to do out of the kindness of my heart.

I truly don’t mind doing it, in fact, if I were independently wealthy and did not have a vocation to the priesthood there’s not much I would like better than hunkering down in my study to read all day and write book reviews, and I’m flattered that they think that the attention of Father Longenecker is worth something, but I suspect they don’t really think that. What they think is that any exposure–even by poor old Fr Longenecker is worth trying to get. This is a problem for me and it is also a problem for me because if I reviewed all the books I get this blog would be clogged with them, and I don’t think you my dear readers would really want to read nothing but book reviews.

So what shall I do? Be cruel and heartless and simply put the books I receive onto my Amazon seller’s list with the sad listing, “New–unwanted review copy” and hope that someone buys the book from me? Do I spend money on more bookshelves to keep all these books? Maybe I just skim them, put up a note that I have received them and do my best.

Any creative ideas to the combox please.

  • Dale

    Have you considered turning them into sculptures?

  • Richard

    Fr.: How about starting or adding to a library at your parish? Or donating them to a local college or university?

  • Jason

    How about sharing a list of the some of the titles here?

  • Paul Rodden

    1. I respect your opinion, so a book review by you gets my attention.
    2. Give them all to people who’s opinion you respect, and only read the ones they return, telling you, ‘Yougottareadthis’.
    3. I’m sick of seeing the words ‘Scott Hahn’, like a (TM) on kosher products, as if he’s some sort of official censor, and my gut’s telling me there’s something fishy about him, but I can’t put my finger on it. So, your name would be a nice change, as long as it doesn’t go to your head, but as you’re standing on it, that’s less likely :)
    4. Give them to Mrs L. She’ll know exactly what to do with them.

    • Paul Rodden

      P.S. On point 4
      Don’t, whatever you do, ask Mrs L about the time you spend blogging. We will not have nearly as many opportunities to enjoy the frisson of schadenfreude… :)

  • Joseph Reninger

    Maybe you could put together a book review club? Get some parishoners or fellow priests to commit to writing one review a month. If you had ten such reviewers, then you’d have 120 reviews in a year. Possibly one night a month you could all get together to discuss the reviews and hand out new books. The scheme might be difficult to coordinate but it would be a lot less work than reading and writing by yourself. Maybe you could get someone to organize it for you!

    The reviews should definitely be a separate blog, with maybe a monthly or bi-weekly post on your main blog of what’s been reviewed.

    Just some thoughts.

    Thanks for your hard work in the Lord’s vineyard!