Thursday, April 25, 2013

I may just be addicted to NetGalley

Although most people think that librarians sit around and read all day, in my case at least, nothing could be further from the truth. At least not until today.

I have always been a pretty fast reader and when I lived in NYC, there was nothing I liked better than a long subway ride with a seat and a book. But then we moved to Virginia and instead of spending hours on public transportation, I was spending hours in my car. So, unable to read and drive, I embraced audiobooks. Until this point, I'd always sort of seen audiobooks as a lazy way out, but I did a complete turnabout after realizing how much I enjoyed the storytelling when I was able to sit back and listen. It's not possible to skim through an audiobook and the awkwardness that can be easy to gloss over when reading, reverberates when read aloud.

I spent years listening to audiobooks and then I had children. Not that I don't love them completely, but now that they're old enough to follow along, the books I'm listening to raise too many questions and interruptions to be worth it.
"Mommy, why did he say that?" 
"What does that mean?" 
"That was a mean word Mommy." 
"Mommy, why he shooted her?"
"Did he say "killed"?" 
~Ok, that makes it sound like I listen to really terrible books, but that's the thing about audio, you cant skip the grown-up parts.

For some time now, the only books I've managed to read were the ones I'd been sent to review. But, the problem with reviewing is that there's this obligation attached to the reading and control of the selection is taken away, making it very much a process for others rather than yourself. I've put reviewing professionally on hold for a bit and decided to get back to reading for myself and for my students.

All of this leads me to my current situation. I've seen several posts and tweets mentioning NetGalley, but had never investigated what it was. But last week I clicked a link and my obsession began. If you're a librarian or otherwise professionally associated with books, you can sign up and request digital advanced readers copies of books. That's it- and it's totally free!!! So, you might think that these are all low-end titles, books that wouldn't be reviewed or noticed otherwise, but you'd be wrong. These are titles from AMAZING authors and publishers and they are delivered right to your digital device!

My first book did not disappoint. It was The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace (Flux: 2013). It is a page-turner (or screen swiper as it so happens) about a sixteen year old girl in an accelerated program finishing high school at the local community college. She develops a relationship with her professor who believes she is older (a misunderstanding she struggles with, but does not correct). While the premise sounds forbidden and dangerous, the story is so much more than that; so much more than a love story. It's about growing up and expectations that are placed on us by our families, society and ourselves. It's not a happily ever after story, it can't be; there are consequences to our actions that we can't anticipate, because at the heart of it, people don't always want to know the truth if it conflicts with their perfect ending. I devoured it in one sitting and have already requested additional titles.

This blog did not begin as a place for book reviews, but if NetGalley continues to surpass my expectations, it may be.

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