When I say I shouldn't be let out of the house, I mean it. Or, I shouldn't be allowed near a computer with internet connectivity, more like. All I do is wreak havoc, when given half a chance. And when it comes to books...? I shouldn't have to expound. My ADD/OCD kicks in and I bury myself in all that's new, all I can lay kid glove-enveloped hands on. Why yes, you may send me review books! And of course I'll put your review/interview/essay/what-not into my dreadfully overbooked planner. On it goes for several months, then POP! goes my brain. Stick me in a closet with a blanket over my head for a few days and I'm back in business again.
I used to think that a singular way of operating one's life, until I started looking around me, realizing it's really not so rare. Read a few freelance writer/reviewer bios if you aren't sure what I mean. The list of what they do/have done/plan to do is almost without fail astonishingly long. Personally, I lop things off my list of credentials and experience when I see it's gone on long enough for whatever purpose I need it. Not that I'm trumpeting my swan... Don't be dreary and think that. It's the truth I'm telling. I split myself a hundred ways, so I have a hundred things to add to my list of what I do. A bit manic? Well, duh.
Which brings me to a rare gem I'm talking about today: NetGalley. NetGalley, in case you haven't heard of it, provides eBook pre-pubs which reviewers, librarians and what-nots can ask permission to read - and review, if the spirit moves. While they don't have everything they certainly have enough to keep the book whore in me mightily happy. And they're adding new publishers every week or so.
This is what I have access to currently:
The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy (March)
The Humanity Project by Jean Thompson (April)
How to Create the Perfect Wife by Wendy Moore (April)
The Borgias by G.J. Meyer (April)
Thieves of Book Row: New York's Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Stopped It by Travis McDade (June)
Peregrine Harker & The Black Death by Luke Hollands (June)
W.A.R.P.: The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer (May)
Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates (April)
Margaret Atwood and the Labour of Celebrity (May)
Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy by Peter Carlson (May)
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (READ)
Lynnwood by Thomas Brown (June)
Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence by David Samuel Levinson (July)
How on earth does one person read all these PLUS review books she's expecting PLUS review books she isn't PLUS books in her own collection PLUS live and breathe and all that?
First, look how spread out all these pub dates are. They start this month and go through July, for goodness sake. And I should have said this first but I'm a sadist: I don't have to review them all. That's the lovely, lovely about being a librarian reviewer, pets. Just getting the titles and impressions out there is good publicity. Who knows? I may casually reference, say, a new book by Eoin Colfer is coming out. Someone overhears me, asks for the title and synopsis and WANGDOODLE! that's free marketing.
This is honestly how I occupy myself when I'm not living normal life: counting my review books like Silas Marner does his coins. Like Ebenezer Scrooge his coal. Like Oliver Twist his gruel. Did you think I exaggerated my condition? Oh, pets... Dearest pets... If anything I'm less than forthcoming, which would be why I periodically lose my mind on a regular but temporary basis. So far.
It's all an embarrassment of riches and every now and then it's good to be me. Not sane and not entirely healthy, but good. As I'm fond of saying, if you have a passion you can never be bored. Especially if it's a portable passion you can bring along everywhere. Mine's in my mind, thrown down the rabbit hole.
Where is yours? I hope you could answer that in a heartbeat, like I can.