Further thoughts on what this site is all about

The Literary Salon points us to this interesting article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about how book reviewers decide which books to review. The Literary Salon discusses the bias against self-published books but I wanted to take the issue in a different direction: what is this site all about anyways?

Earlier I had posted a “Welcome to Collected Miscellany” post that tried to explain what I was up to around here but it didn’t go into a lot of detail. Allow me to try and fill that in a little:
– First of all, I have rather easy criteria for what books I review and what I post about: if it interests me then I read and write about it. Since I don’t get paid for this, I read what I want to read and post what I want to post. That may be bad for you if you don’t share my interests but hey it’s free. There is, however, a small caveat to this rule: I try to read free books and review them promptly. This is after all common sense. If I didn’t review the books people send me for free then they would stop sending them to me. I don’t get that many free books so this isn’t a huge issue but it is there nonetheless.
– A related issue is one of perspective and audience. I will admit up front that I am not a literary intellectual. My background is history not literature or English. So if you are looking for in-depth and highly theoretical discussion of literature this is not really for you. It is not that I won’t on occasion get into thorny issues or theory of one sort or another, but that my style is straightforward and basic rather than detailed and/or pedantic. For the most part I will simply tell you what I thought of a book, why I did or didn’t like it, and try to give you enough information so that you can decide whether you might like it. The same is true of interviews. I hope to simply expose you to some interesting ideas and give you a taste of what a particular book and author are like.
– I should give you fair warning on another point: I am an eclectic and melancholy reader. I tend to jump around a lot as far as subjects and genre. I have been reading a lot of non-fiction lately but I also read fiction of all sorts(everything from fantasy and children’s literature to mystery and “high brow” novels). In fact, in the near future I hope to get back to reading some classics that I haven’t yet read (see this post for example) but should. So if the subject matter isn’t to your liking check back later and it will probably have changed (like Ohio weather).

So what does all this mean? Basically, it comes down to this: this is a blog about the books, ideas, and people I find interesting. I can make no claim to professional expertise or brilliant insight but I promise to try and bring you interesting, intelligent, and useful information. Please feel free to offer comments, give feedback, or just complain if you feel the urge.

And thanks for visiting.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).