Sunday, February 15, 2009

Monday Musings on Sunday

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about book reviews…
Do you read any non-blogging book reviews? If so, where (newspaper, library etc)? Do you have any favorites sources you'd like to share?

I will actually read a book review from just about anywhere that I find one. Seriously, if there was a dirty piece of paper blowing through a parking lot that said "Book Reviews" on it, I'd going running after it. Luckily for my husband who would be not too thrilled at me bringing filthy papers that I got from who knows where into our home, this does not often happen.

My main source of book reviews is from Entertainment Weekly magazine. I've had a subscription to this magazine for several years and during that time I have seen the book review section shrink increasingly smaller. At times I have even considered writing one of those letters to the editor saying something along the lines of, "maybe if you spent a few less pages endlessly analyzing the stupid and meaningless awards show known as The Oscars, then maybe you would be able to give more than three pages to the books section." The only thing that stops me is that I really don't think I want to be one of those people who write letters to the editor.

However, to give EW their due, it was Stephen King's review of The Hunger Games that brought this book to my attention. After reading the review I put it on hold at the library, and ended up getting it just in time for Christmas vacation at my parent's house. I was only a hundred pages into it when I woke up at 2am unable to sleep due to the ten year old mattress that we were sleeping on is quite possibly the most uncomfortable sleeping surface in the world. I decided to go downstairs and read for awhile until I felt tired again. Hours passed and as bleery-eyed as I became I could not put that damn book down. I ended up finishing it around 8am, at which time I climbed back into bed just in time to get comfortable, close my eyes, and hear my son start whining in the next room. And yet, it was totally worth it.

Another source of book reviews and book news comes from The Wall Street Journal. About two years ago the WSJ started showing up outside our door. Well, sort of outside our door. We live in an apartment building and there are four other units on our floor. The delivery person managed to throw the paper so that it landed almost perfectly at the midsection of all four apartments, meaning it could belong to anyone.

Since we knew we hadn't subscribed to the newspaper my husband and I ignored it for the next several days. Our neighbors ignored it as well and soon WSJ's began to pile up outside. As we began to notice that some of them seemed to be slightly more in front of our door than the others, we decided to take pity on the poor papers and bring them into our home. So, it was that everyday another paper rolled with a rubber band would come into our house, sit on our kitchen table for a little while, and then go into the trash, untouched.

It was my understanding at this point that the WSJ was nothing more than stock quotes and a few blah, blah, blah articles about economics. Then one day something strange happened. As I was sitting at the kitchen table having a snack I happened to glance over at the paper and peeping through it's rubber band bound pages I could see a headline to an article that actually looked interesting. Curious, I unrolled the paper and read the article. It was not only interesting, but also wonderfully written, and had nothing to do with economics at all! This was how I discovered that on the front page of the WSJ they always have a really great human interest article, and as I delved further into the paper I found that they also lots of other great stuff as well - not the least of which was book reviews.

I have come to look forward to my daily WSJ delivery, and a few months ago when my great-grandmother-in-law asked if she should renew the subscription (since she was the one behind the mysterious appearance of the paper on our doorstep) I answered with an enthusiastic, "Yes, please!"

Other than that there is also a little free paper at my local library that has not so much reviews, but short blurbs for books and I try to pick one of those up when I am there.

I also look for recommendations/reviews on random blogs, NPR, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and through Google Reader I read The New York Times Books Section and all their excellent reviews.

What about you? Where is your favorite place to read book reviews?


  1. My brother subscribes to the WSJ...and I have noticed that they often have some interesting articles and I like their weekend journal or whatever they call it. I wonder if their book reviews are available online...hmmmm
    Heavens knows, I need more to read. NOT! ;-)

    Loved the comment about the dirty piece of paper blowing around the parking lot with "book reviews" on it...funny...funny...and true for me too! lol

  2. I usually stick to book bloggers reviews. I put mine up early too!

    Musing Monday 27

  3. The WSJ is a great newspaper, I agree! Too bad we don't get it in Korea, blargh.

    I usually go to Dear Author, Mrs. Giggles, and Smart Bitches for book reviews and so far, they haven't let me down in the least.

  4. Besides reading blog reviews, I use Romantic Times, Amazon, Library Thing, Shelfari, etc.

    Have a great Monday!

  5. I forgot about Entertainment Weekly! I read those reviews too when I remember to pick up the magazine. We used to subscribe, but we decided to let it go.

    I read the WSJ reviews when I'm at my parents' house, since they get the paper.

  6. Hi!
    I don't get the WSJ but like you always thought it was stock market stuff. I'll have to check out their web site. Thanks for the info. Have a great day!!


  7. Great post. I'll have to check out the Hunger Games. Any book that can keep you riveted like that has got to be good. I utilize Amazon quite a bit, but now you make me want to start getting the wsj again. hmm!

    My post is up now.


  8. My answer ranges from blogs to book magazines.

  9. This is my first visit to your blog and I must say I have enjoyed my visit! Your writing brought out a laugh or two. I will confess that I am an AI watcher also and I really can't explain why--most tv does not appeal to me!

  10. In my spare time at work, I search out book reviews on The AP wire, Scripps-Howard, Knight-Ridder, just about anywhere I can find them.

    And the WSJ? Isn't it funny how such a bland-looking paper can have such incredible info?

  11. Wow, everyone keeps mentioning their library reviews. My library doesn't have anything like that which I'm aware of. I'm going to ask next time we go!

  12. I don't read reviews outside of the internet. I don't get the paper... I'm not subscribed to any magazines...

    Wow, i need to get a little more. LOL Your blog is always a fun read. Thanks for sharing.

  13. i like the EW book reviews too, i completely forgot about that when I was doing my post.
    and i really adore your header

  14. Bah -- I say be one of those people who writes letters to the editor! ;-)