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Unpacking a Story

Well I never did come back after Thanksgiving, did I? This hiatus was both personal and professional, which is partially the reason it kind of extended out of my control. Personally, I was overwhelmed, and then I tried to come back and got buried under the tidal wave of new things so I retreated back under the covers. Professionally, I was discontent with what I was doing, what I wanted to do. Now I’m back; and things will be different.

Starting now, I am no longer rating books. No. Nada. Zip. I already had issues rating books because how can you rate a book you love but is problematic? Or if you hated a book but there was a piece that was marvelous? This was a dilemma for me. So I’ve done away with ratings. Sure Goodreads still has ratings, but I take it with a grain of salt. From now on I am reviewing books and just being honest about what worked and what didn’t. I will be emphasizing that not all books are for all people. Personal preference plays a huge part in reading and some books just aren’t for me.

Why this new philosophy Camille? Because as I sat at the launch of The Belles * Great book by the way, I just haven’t had a chance to finish yet* Leigh Bardugo said something that spoke to everything I was feeling about blogging— it has become a world of critiquing. This new critical blogging world is harsh and cynical and somehow the magic and wonder of reading and story got lost, shoved aside for a coveted Advance Readers Copy or popular opinion. And that’s why I couldn’t keep pace anymore. It wasn’t me to judge what was a “good” book or not, it was whether the story affected me in a way that provoked me, challenged me, inspired me, and that is something I feel strongly about. So I want to focus less on the rating, the acclaim, the prestige, and more on what makes good reading, what makes this community— and that’s stories and discussion.

I never want to get swept away again; I want to live in this moment, with the current book I’m reading. We joke about TBR piles, but the truth is they’re crushing, crippling, and I’m done. I’m way behind on requested books right now because of these feelings. And I will finish what I started, but I will do so in my time. I want to remember the magic of reading, not racing to finish and move on. I was never a fast reader to start.

Focusing on the heart and soul of a book, the discussions that happen around bookclubs and friend’s coffee tables, I want to be a moderator of stories and curate open discussions that matter. No one person has all the answers, so as a community we each understand or learn something in turn as we discussion literature in its many forms.

Now, I’m still super pumped for YallWest and LA Times Festival of Books, but I want to live in that moment, not project anything on it but a love of books. You can totally expect me to continue going to book events here in Southern California, but I might be more selective with my time.

What can you expect moving forward? Loads more questions. I plan to put you in the hot seat to be a part of the discussion. I have a bunch of posts I want to write about— things outside of reviewing and fangirling. *Even if the next two posts will be reviews*. I will probably talk about life a bit more, maybe include a college tip post for English Majors *no you don’t have to read every book*, there definitely will be a post about books I want to see as movies, more posts on classics, and many more surprises.

I love stories. And that’s what I want this place to be, a place that brings about the magic of reading and sharing stories with each other. I may be a bit slower to post, I plan to be more thoughtful with the words I say, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the matters I present. Cheers to a new year, a new outlook, and a new pace of life‑ because you only have one life to live, so make the most of it.

Xoxo, Camille

The Literary Empress


2 thoughts on “Unpacking a Story

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