In My Own Words:
I write reviews with the idea in mind of finding what is good and interesting in the book and sharing this with others. I therefore try to write almost exclusively about books that have given me something, books that I care about and like. I above all like to write about the books I truly love. I also when I write a review try to make that review even if it is very small a composition in itself so… Read more
I write reviews with the idea in mind of finding what is good and interesting in the book and sharing this with others. I therefore try to write almost exclusively about books that have given me something, books that I care about and like. I above all like to write about the books I truly love. I also when I write a review try to make that review even if it is very small a composition in itself so that the person who reads it will get some enjoyment from reading it.
As I have been a reader for many years there is a very long list of books I would like to review. Many of these books are ` classics' the best of what has been thought, and said and I enjoy having my little say about books about which so much has already been said, and will be said. I also am especially interested in books on Jewish subjects. I too like very much to write about books which I feel have been neglected, books of special worth which do not receive the attention they merit.
I believe very much in the saying of 'Pirke Avot' that we should try to greet each and every one we meet with a pleasant countenance. I believe that is the way we should greet the books we meet also. If I have to say something negative about a book,I try to do this with restraint. Only on occasion will I let human weakness get to me and review with anger and scorn a work that I consider wrongheaded or even evil.
Ideally, I think that every reviewer who reviews in time many different books is really making a kind of picture of his own little world, and perhaps too a kind of inner self- portrait. Thus I think when I write not only of the individual review but of whether I want it to be a part of the little world I am making around my own name.
I would hope that that world would have a certain truth and beauty and goodness in it. And in that way by giving something to the reader it will too be in the spirit of the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves and in this way better serve God.
2.I wrote the initial expression of intention many hundreds of reviews ago. I think I have fallen short of it in a number of ways. I simply got into the game of reviewing, began enjoying a bit too much the whole process of researching anew books I had already read once, and then writing about them. I also at some point after the two- thousandth or so review began to review other kinds of 'products' first magazines, then movies, and music. Somehow , perhaps wrongly, I consider the reviewing of all the things which are not books, as less appropriate for me. But in reviewing them I once again had a chance to return and learn about something I had experienced once.
In this regard I must say that many of my reviews are not of 'first- readings' or 'first seeings' but rather recollections of my own past experience.
All in all I now see it is almost as if I wish to put in my two cents, give my opinion about all the works of literature and art that I have experienced. It is as if by writing about them recalling what I have thought I can cancel the idea that I was 'wasting time' in experiencing them.
Writing about them is thus in my own mind a way of redeeming my own personal time.
This may of course be an illusion.
Whether it is or not, it seems to me as if in much of the writing I am falling far short of initial hoped for aim of 'serving G-d in my writing through giving thoughts and insights of value to other people.
3) I late in 2007 began reviewing DVD's of the Charlie Rose show. Rose's interviews are first class. He does an outstanding job of learning about his guest beforehand, and invariably treats them with respect and consideration. Through these interviews I have come to see , hear and know in a way I could not know by reading their books alone many of the most interesting public figures, writers, scholars, historians, politicians now working today. These interviews have given pleasure and insight and I wanted therefore to say something about them.