Hello! I’m a writer, journalist, magazine-editor and obsessed reader of fiction, mostly contemporary, experimental and speculative. This blog grew out of a personal project started in 2012 to record every book I read in a year, and somehow snowballed into the current situation.
I read in English, Russian, and French. Some favorite books are Fiasco, by Stanislas Lem, Gogol’s Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delaney, Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis Trilogy, and Black Hole by Charles Burns. To that I’ll add my new obsession, The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch.
If you have similar interests and reading habits please comment! I’d love to hear from you. If you want me to write about a book, track me down on Twitter at @valerie_reads
Also, as this blog has gone on, I’ve begun to feel the need to make a statement on my ethics of book blogging:
As someone who lives in New York, has written books herself, and works in the media industry, I know a lot of people who write or publish books. It’s rare that I’m more than a few degrees of separation from a living writer. Also, my livelihood and future success is tied up to some extent in not having the wrong people hate me. I would say this is true of everyone who writes book reviews for the mainstream media, and mostly true for the non-mainstream media too. Thus, all reviews are political, including, sometimes, mine.
As I get more traffic and exposure, I’m starting to note when I know or am friends with the person whose book I am reviewing. Older posts don’t always say that. But this is kind of nonsense (one reason I didn’t do it before) because even people I don’t know might be important to me in some way real or imagined. They probably are. Still, all that said, I never write anything I don’t believe, and I do push myself to write negative reviews when they’re fair.
Sometimes all this bullshit, intrigue and paranoia makes writing about books feel not worth it, so if you like my posts, please let me know!