Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Forbes 25 Reviewers - #1 Karen

Today's guest is Karen.  Karen has been the reigning queen of Goodreads for the last few years.

How did you discover Goodreads?
my friend dana sent me an invitation waaaaay back in 2007, because she thought it was something i would be into, since i love the books so much. the rest is history...

What have been your most memorable Goodreads experiences?
ooh. well, you always remember the trolls, the meltdowns, the rivalries, the goodreads-memes, the gossip in the secret groups, the really controversial reviews; and it's all small-potatoes-cliqueishness, but honestly, most of my social life occurs here on goodreads, as sad as that is. i have met some amazing people on here, and been exposed to so many books and reviewers, and i think that is my most memorable realization: that this site could be more than a place to catalog books; it could be a place where a real community could form. i never thought it would be anything more than a place to chat about books with people i already knew,so it's pretty amazing how it has opened up for me.

Name one reviewer not in the Forbes 25 that people should be aware of.
i love blair's reviews. she is always one step ahead of me - finding and reading books before i have even heard of them. there have been so many times i have heard a whisper about a book and come on here to check it out only to find her with her flag already in the soil - BOOM! she's great, and we have very similar tastes, and a shared love of secret history, so she is invaluable to me.

What was your initial reaction to Amazon buying Goodreads?
honestly, it was "oh, fuck." i work for bn, so i was concerned i would have to leave the site which would be devastating for me. i was also concerned about how the reviews/reviewers would be treated because amazon has certain...priorities when it comes to their reviewer guidelines that, if implemented here, would seriously ruin everything that makes this site special, and i abhor the way the steamroll small publishers.i mean, so far, so good, but i am still a little wary. i liked that this place was "just" a place for booknerds to talk about books, and now there is this corporate shadow over it, but we'll see how it goes.

How many books do you own?
that number has not yet been invented. which is glib, but i honestly don't know. it's kind of a problem, actually. well over 5,000, which was where it was at the last time i counted, years and years ago.

Who is your favorite author?
ugh. the dreaded question. i will say donald harington, because i love him like candy and kittens smooshed together, and he could really use the exposure.

What is your favorite book of all time?
another dreaded question! i'll say jude the obscure. today.

What are your thoughts on ebooks?
heh. okay, well, i used to be so opposed to them. like, up-in-arms-frothing-at-the-mouth opposed.i even wrote a review wherein i bemoaned their existence. but then i started realizing that a lot of authors were publishing little novellas and things within the universe of their print novels only as e-books, and it really started to make sense as an alternative to publishers allowing backlist titles to go out of print (for example, child across the sky, one of my favorite books ever, is available on nook, but not in a print edition),and i discovered netgalley and edelweiss, and now i actually work for bn.com, making booklists for nook. so, it's kind of a complete 180 for me.

What are your thoughts on self-publishing?
i think it is extraordinarily difficult sometimes for authors to get their foot in the door with major publishers, and i applaud anyone with the balls to forge their own path and take the initiative and make their dreams come true. i mean,i have read a l ot of really crappy self-published books, but also some real gems. but that's true of all publishers.i think it is a wonderful option, particularly since the e-book option makes it so much easier and cheaper.

Any literary aspirations?
nope. i am a reader. reviews are all i have in me.

How does it feel to be queen?

oh, it's good to be queen.


  1. Haha, absolutely love that photo.

  2. Loved this interview (i.e., your answers). And got to it because I connected and loved how you wrote a review of "Fugitive Pieces," by Anne Michael. This is more than 10 years old, but I have no doubt that you are still queen.