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Be it ever so contentious, there's no place like home...
Reviews Written: 229
Member Visits: 15,020
Total Visits: 125,752
Andy (panguitch) and I were sorry to lose pearannoyed as a Category Lead-- she's always been thoughtful, conscientious, and we'll miss her very much.
But we're very pleased to welcome pestyside aboard as our newest Category Lead in Books!
How to get a book, newspaper or magazine added to the database:
Due to an influx of spam at the Epinions Books, Magazines and more bulletin boards, it is now officially closed. We will not be processing any further requests submitted via that board, so please don't post any there-- I'd hate for your book request to be lost in limbo!
Instead, pearannoyed has created these nifty new forms where you can submit your book and magazine requests. You can find them here:
The forms are still in beta and we will be trying to work out the inevitable problems, so please bear with us and let us know if you have any questions.
If you want to know more about me...
I'm 30 and married for about eight years now to a great guy named Erik. Over the past few years we've had a few health and family issues which has left me less time for Epinions then I'd like, but we're still hanging in there. Due to a job layoff, a great deal about our personal lives and finances have changed as well, but... did I mention we're still hanging in there? Yeah.
I read just about anything, but especially enjoy sci-fi/fantasy, history, and I'm now branching out into the mystery genre a bit. Favorite authors include George R.R. Martin, Alison Weir, Roald Dahl, Bill Bryson, Elizabeth George, James Randi, J.R.R. Tolkien, Elizabeth Peters, Robin Hobb and Melanie Rawn.
Lately, music has been eating my brain alive, and now I worship David Bowie, but occasionally listen to My Chemical Romance, Ok Go, Duran Duran, The Beatles, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, and a lot of bad 80's music.
Other interests include writing, cooking, gardening, and the fine art of gluttony, especially if it involves sushi. I love all kinds of ethnic food and I'm afraid it shows, too.
I've switched to a new e-mail account, which should be more reliable. The new address is arianej.epinions at gmail dot com.
If you don't get an immediate reply, don't panic. I try and check my mail daily, but don't always make it because I've been known to have a Real Life on weekends and other surprising occasions. Be patient, wait a few days (few days=at least 72 hours, longer if you e-mail on a Friday or during the weekend) and try again! This counts double if you're e-mailing with a request to add a book to the database. But please don't yell at me if things don't happen as quickly as you hoped. The Suggest-a-Product form doesn't work when it's drenched in the tears of a sad Category Lead.
About Writing a Book Review
I've often toyed with the idea of writing another review on the Do's and Don't of writing a book review. Each time I discard it because it seems like declaring war on Russia... You wish to attack enthusiastically, but where does one begin?? Here's a few things to keep in mind:
1) People rarely decide to read books if they don't know at least a little of what it's about, so including a brief paragraph or two on plot summary is a Good Thing. But remember, there's no need to go overboard! A few things to remember:
a) Please don't summarize every single detail, because that may spoil the book for readers. Ditto giving away the ending of a story or a major plot twist. If you really, really want to discuss the ending or a plot twist, at least give people prominent spoiler warnings so they can skip it if they choose.
b) Please consider NOT including both a plot summary and character list. In fact, feel free to leave off the list entirely. if you do your plot summary well, you won't need one, anyway!
c) Er, what's up with including a section each on the story and the summary? It seems awfully redundant, because, well... aren't they the same thing? (Hint: Shouldn't they be?)
d) If not, consider asking yourself if you really, really need such a lengthy description of what the book's about. Chances are you could describe it in fewer words, and after all, you want to leave plenty of good stuff for your readers to find out on their own, right? Concise plot summaries are your friend. It may be hard to find that happy medium between telling your audience too little and telling them too much, but it's worth it.
2) Don't forget that the "pinion" part of "Epinions" refers to "OPINION", which means the idea of writing an epinion is to tell us what you thought about the book: what did you like or dislike, and why did you feel that way? What did you think of the plot, characters, and writing style? Why would you recommend or not recommend this book to others? You need to include details like this because...
3) Book reviews are about balance. Having four paragraphs of plot summary and two sentences about what you thought of the book is not balance-- unless those two sentences are mind-blowingly eloquent, and most of us are better off using more words to adequately express our thoughts!
4) When's the last time you decided whether or not to read a book based on its character list, book page count, ISBN #, retail price or what the paper feels like? Be honest now, folks!
5) If you write a review, get a bunch of SH ratings and then decide to revise it, there's several things to keep in mind:
a) Read your comments section. It's likely people have already made suggestions about how you could improve your review. If not, then feel free to e-mail any Advisors or Category Leads who have rated your review to ask for suggestions. But please read your comments and follow that advice first. It's rather silly to ignore them and then ask people for help again when they'll probably only say the same thing, right? Read carefully and save yourself some time.
b) Very few reviews can jump from an SH to a VH (or even from an SH to H or from H to VH) with the addition of a couple sentences. Most of the time, there'll be a lot more detail you'll need to add, and a sentence or two tacked on to the end of a paragraph isn't going to do the job. As long as you're going to revise your review, you might as well do a thorough job and fully address the issues people mentioned in your comments section. For most people, that's going to require more time and more words.
c) Please keep in mind that people are usually trying to help. They're not making suggestions just to be mean to you, even if comments come off as sounding a bit blunt. Rather than getting defensive/angry and assuming people are jerks who are just out to get you (which, come on, is a fairly paranoid conclusion, huh?), assume they're trying to help you improve your rating. You'll be a lot happier, and you'll win peoples' respect by behaving like a mature, sensible adult.
Getting upset, lashing out, revenge rating, sending nasty e-mails or throwing a major diva temper tantrum ("How DARE you not give me a VH! My writing is PERFECT!!") isn't going to help your position--even if all your friends agree that you are a Writing God/Goddess. Being gracious, open-minded and modest will, and reasonable people are far more likely to see things your way.