For the record, and until otherwise notified, I buy my own books.
Wait. Oh, no. My friend Debbie recently sent me a book. If I review that book, which was fabulous by the way, then I would have to say that Debbie knew it was fabulous first and that she was the book fairy who deposited it into my hands. (Why does she always have to know things first?)
So, I amend my prior statement. For the record, and until otherwise notified, I buy most of my own books. Really people, I’m a receipt keeper, I can prove it.
Wait. I better think more carefully. An author, a wonderful one who is also a professional book critic, once sent me books after I sent him a thank you note for his amazing presentation at a writers’ conference. And when I was recently back home for the reunion, my mom bought me a book... or two. (And if she could convince me to get over my FRS and read her favorite books written by W.E.B. Griffin, Vince Flynn, Robert Ludlum, and Lee Child or read by Dick Hill or George Guidall, they would be arriving any moment. My FRS is a source of great discord to my poor mother.)
So, I further amend my prior statement. For the record, and until otherwise notified, I buy lots of my own books.
And sometimes, when the universe smiles upon me, I receive almost-magical bookstore coupons, and, like a slobbering Pavlovian dog, I rush with great (though within the legal limits) speed to the nearest bookstore that matches the logo on the coupon and buy more books.
The new FTC ruling (that I found in an article linked on Janet Reid’s blog) requiring bloggers to disclose whether reviewed products were paid for or received as gifts from companies got me thinking about all the things they are missing out on in their attempt at sovereignty over the internet.
Should I also disclose, as I have occasionally done so, where the suggestion to read a book came from? And what if that possibly nefarious source didn’t really love the book as much as they said and only wanted to part me from my money? How would I know? And perhaps all of us who love books are dedicated to the survival of bookstores and pitch books like crack dealers to maintain our own source to the goods that we twitch without. Possible? Sure. So, I guess, I must also admit that I love books. Really. And specifically the ones that can be held in my hands. I don’t want any of those e-readers (though I have nothing against them for others). My addiction requires me to turn pages and even to look at pretty covers. Yes, I admit it. See how brave I am. (And don't you feel safer knowing that I'm not fooling about liking books? We certainly wouldn't want people to accidentally or through coersion read more books.)
Now, what about when I recommend a book that is written by one of my heroes? Should I also declare that so you will know that maybe because I already love this author, I am therefore more disposed to love their future writings as well? I admit it. I love authors. They are creative, bright, and, best of all, willing to share the worlds in their heads with others. That’s awfully personal, I think. Seeing as how I’m not too cagey about sharing the fact that I love certain (and lots) of authors, this is probably already clear to you.
On a slightly serious note, I somewhat understand how the FTC might think that they are protecting all of us mindless masses who might tragically end up buying a new brand of beverage umbrellas from someone with a deceitful acquisition policy toward beverage umbrellas, but it all feels a little over the top when other problems like spam and business fraud are running rampant. And maybe there are people who will give a good review to something that is given to them, but if they do that without regard to the quality of the product, people will stop listening to them and abandon their blogs.
Also, I love many books and maybe you will read one and not like it as much as I did. You will then be able to decide if you want to try another one of the books I recommend. I will be honest about how I feel about books, but I must also say that if I don’t like a book, I will just not discuss it at all. My intention with this blog is to share what I love most about literature and life, not to drag books I didn't connect with through the muck. Other people love those books and needed those worlds, and, frankly, who am I to pass that kind of judgment? There is enough tearing down in our world. Let’s choose to be light here and look for beauty in our sometimes treacherous world.
And always beware the beverage umbrella pushers, for they cannot be trusted (according to the FTC) without a full disclosure of their procurement policies.
Quote for the Day from Henry V by William Shakespeare
“If little faults proceeding on distemper shall not be winked at, how shall we stretch our eye when capital crimes, chewed, swallowed, and digested, appear before us?”