Infrequently Asked Questions

Motivations for writing

Originally my reviews were sent by email to a small group of people and my goals in writing them were [1] to keep in touch with my friends, [2] to make myself think more carefully about what I read, and [3] to start discussions about books.

When I started posting my reviews to Usenet (a much larger audience), a more prominent purpose became (and this is probably the primary purpose of most reviews) [4] to help people decide whether they want to read the books or not. In some cases I have assumed that few will read the books I'm reviewing and have written [5] to inform people. A small number of reviews were written as [6] part of ongoing debates in various newsgroups and mailing lists.

Once I started getting review copies of books (around 1995) an obvious motivation was [7] to obtain free books.

And finally, I wouldn't produce reviews if it wasn't for the fact that [8] I enjoy writing them - though I sometimes forget this with particularly recalcitrant reviews!