Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Who am I to be writing book reviews?

I've never made a secret that I am mildly dyslexic. This is something that - among other things - slows down my reading. The fact that many of my teachers didn't believe I had any disability, was a bigger problem. They knew I wasn't stupid so they called me a lazy reader. Me! A lazy reader - imagine that!

While this was a handicap, especially when sitting down for tests, it also had its advantages. The most prominent of which is my love of words. I loved their sounds, their feel, their nuances and even their scents. I loved words so much that in my youth, I wanted to be a poet (after realizing that I wasn't talented enough to become an actress). I was lucky enough to be encouraged by a few teachers, and I've actually published a few of my poems (nothing special, but I did get paid for a couple of them). But writing poetry is an almost impossible career choice.

Over the years, I realized that I liked reading novels much more than reading poetry (especially the works of amateur poets who think putting down saccharine emotions on a page in rhyming stanzas constitutes a poem). Novels, on the other hand, bring us into other worlds. And every novel that I read, I read carefully, as if I was dramatizing the texts. This brought out the love of theater in me, and I gave the characters accents and voices in my head. I believe this would never have happened if I hadn't been dyslexic.

But I also love writing. While my poetry was good, it wasn't good enough. It's also an extremely draining activity. I tried my hand at writing short stories, to no avail. I also realized that I didn't have a novel in me. This was a surprise, considering how many famous authors are afflicted with my same disability. My talent as a journalist is also less than stellar. I eventually put my writing talents to work online, while at the same time learning grant writing through my job.

The online part began with content and consumer review sites. These places gave me an outlet for my creativity, along with a smattering of extra pocket money along the way. I soon found that I was becoming most critical of those writers who critiqued arts and entertainment categories. Putting all humility aside, I decided concentrate my reviews in the areas of music, TV, films and books, in the hopes that I my articles would become an example to others.

Over the years, I noticed that the book reviews were becoming fewer and farer between. It seemed to me that the pastime of reading was slowly becoming obsolete. This trend seems to have continued, despite the introduction of electronic reading devices. Pick any book title and ask someone if they've heard of it. Unless it was made into a movie, the answer is probably 'no.' How sad is that?

So, once again, with all the modesty I have locked firmly away in the darkest, most remote corner of my soul, I bring you a blog with my book reviews. I hope it will encourage someone out there to pick up a book and read it - be it one that I review here, or any other.