I met a book reviewer recently. We’re about level in terms of career success, which is great because meeting other reviewers is always fun.
This time, though, it was like a labradoodle meeting a Zen master. I was not the Zen master.
To him, it’s a job. He’s not a big reader, he struggles to find books he wants to read, and he’s holding the opportunity for as long as it takes for something better to come along.
Me? Not so much.
Book reviewing is, seriously, one of the best jobs ever. People hand me books and let me read them. I get to hug books, and read them, and learn more about writing and editing, and storytelling in general. I get to talk to people about why I love the books I love, and what issues there are. They let me talk to writers. It’s insane.
I get to talk about something I’m ridiculously passionate about. I’m living the dream. And every time it gets overwhelming, I get to say hey, you’re overwhelmed by the awesomeness of your job. Not everyone gets to have that.
He asked me why I loved reviewing so much. Part of it is the reading, and being able to call it work. And hey, free books*. And part of it is having the chance to talk about books. But there’s another reason, one I don’t mention often.
The Brisbane writing scene is such an amazing community. People are wonderful, and compassionate, and so quick to offer help and advice, and to cheer each other on. Australian writers in general have always been more than happy to talk writing with me- and with anyone who’ll ask. Every time I read someone’s work and talk about it, it feels like I’m saying thank you.
Authors like Charmaine Clancy, T. M. Clark, Anita Heiss, Peter M. Ball, Matthew J. Hellscream, and Michael Robotham? They’ve been such fantastic, gracious teachers to me. They’ve shaped my writing in ways I’ll probably never fully articulate, not just through their conversations with me, but through their writing.
And I… I get to hold up that writing and say hey, world, this might be something you like. You should check it out.
Best. Job. Ever.
* Yes, the whole ‘free books’ thing is a bone of contention. I get that. There’s a blurry line between getting the word out that you’ve written something, and undervaluing what you do. But that is a conversation for another day.