Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 18, 2009

Reviews online, and a ‘second wind’

I’m reading Life in Seven Mistakes by Susan Johnson at the moment, and enjoying it very much.  It’s one of those books that makes me stop reading every now and again – to grab my journal and scribble something down or make a note of a page number because I want to remember it later on.   I like revisiting the books I’ve read in my journals but I also want to blog this book really well because I like it so much.  It deserves the very best I can do.

Because Life in Seven Mistakes was released in 2008,  but I haven’t got round to reading it till now, it has occurred to me that authors and publishers must be very pleased with the amateur book blogging phenomenon that has exploded onto the web in the last few years.  I don’t think bloggers like me are any substitute for professional reviewers whose job it is to be very well read, to read the latest releases, and to write  reviews that reflect a professional expertise in modern literature.  I read and enjoy reviews like that all the time, in the Australian Book Review, and in the weekend newspapers.  I read reviews of Life in Seven Mistakes when it came out (which is why I bought the book) and I also heard Susan Johnson talk about it at a festival somewhere, I can’t remember which one now.

That must have been about 18 months ago, and the publicity has dried up because there are new books all the time and marketing is relentless.  Yet this is where amateurs like me can play a role in promoting great books like this one.  We don’t have time to read all the new releases, and we can’t afford to buy them all anyway, but by coming to a book some time after the initial flurry of publicity has died down, book bloggers can give it a ‘second wind’ and maybe generate further interest in it.

I think this is a very good thing!


  1. Susan very kindly sent me a copy of this book. I read it last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.


  2. I think it is a very good thing too Lisa!

    I read her The broken book a few years ago, and enjoyed it. I gave it an “8” in my little db which means I thought it was great but didn’t have that little bit extra to push it into the stellar area from which I usually get my Top Picks. I read it around the same time as I read the memoir, Searching for Charmian…and they worked nicely together.


  3. ANZLL read The Broken Book in 2005, (and, inspired by that, Mermaids are Singing/Peel Me a Lotus in 2007) and we rated TBB highly too. I think Johnson is a very good writer – innovative without being obscure – and she’s consistently shortlisted for major awards. According to her website she has another book under way, so that’s something to look forward to:)


  4. I was thinking the same thing this morning actually. I bought a debut novel by a young writer (which I haven’t actually READ yet) that I’m sure sank without a trace after initial reviews. It was written by the daughter of a teacher who influenced me strongly (for the better I hope) and when I saw that she’d published, I contacted her. I bought her book out of interest, for encouragement, and as a rather skewed act of homage to her mother, and one of these days I will read the book,and will probably blog about it. I’m sure that it’s no longer available anywhere other than second hand bookshops, but I will give it a little puff of wind that may propel it just a little (very little) bit further.


    • You tease, Janine! What’s the name of the book? Lisa


  5. “Tristessa and Lucido” by Miriam Zolin. Her blog is here:
    (I only just discovered the blog)



  6. Echoes of Oscar and Lucinda? It’s an interesting title anyway:)


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