Tuesday Thingers: Early Reviewers

Today’s question: Early Reviewers- do you participate? How many books (approximately) have you received through the program? Have you liked them generally? What’s your favorite ER book? Do you participate in the discussion group on LT?

For about 6 months I was using LibraryThing to keep track of my books.  I was not very disciplined about it, though, and didn’t always remember to add new books; nor did I participate in any of the social aspects of LT.  One day in January of this year, however, I happened to pop onto LibraryThing for reasons no longer known to me, and saw on the ‘tools’ tab a note about the Early Reviewers program.

“Free books?!?” I thought, “free books that haven’t even been released yet? COOL!”

I needed to learn more about the program.  I read the FAQ page, of course, and signed up, but I also began ‘lurking’ in the Early Reviewers Group on Talk to see what people were saying.  This discovery of Talk led to a serious addiction to the LT message boards that still rages today.

I wasn’t chosen for a book that first month (I’ve got no idea what I selected), but I was lucky enough to be granted a book in the February batch.  Unfortunately that book, Holding Her Head High, wasn’t very good.  My next book, The Venetian Mask, was just okay.

Here’s the whole list of books I’ve received, in order (all titles link to my review):

  • Holding Her Head High – not good, I ditched the last quarter due to the repetitive nature and bad pseudo-history.
  • The Venetian Mask – mediocre.  Venice was by far the best-developed character, but it was at least a fairly entertaining read.
  • Franklin and Lucy – although the title is a bit misleading (Eleanor plays a MAJOR part, probably bigger than Lucy), this is an interesting history of FDR from the perspective of his relationship with the women in his life.
  • Two Brothers: One North, One South – honestly one of the worst books I’ve ever read.  I had to give up 45 pages in because the prose was just that painful (see my review for an example).
  • The 19th Wife – A fantastic book!  It became my favorite ER book to that point.
  • My Father’s Paradise – Another fantastic book!  And the author is awesome too, see what happened when I met him.
  • Sweetsmoke – A very well-done book about the life of a slave during the Civil War.  Loved it.
  • Tears of the Desert – It is hard to say that this book is so great to read, because it is very painful, but a very well-written memoir of a girl growing up in Darfur.

It is too hard to choose a favorite out of the last four, so I’m not going to.  I think that each of them was chosen as my favorite book of the month in the month I read them (Sweetsmoke actually tied with other books).  Actually, it looks like The 19th Wife got edged out by Monique and the Mango Rains, but it was close.

I keep a close eye on the Early Reviewer Group, particularly for the “the books are being added to the ER library!” threads, the “what are you getting this month?” threads, and the “what books have arrived” threads.  I do not participate as much as I used to, however, because much of the discussion centers around new people asking the same questions that have been answered many times, although if nobody else has answered, sometimes I’ll jump in and do so.  It is less that I am annoyed by the repetitive questions than that not much other discussion takes place, perhaps BECAUSE of the repetitive questions.  I do love the “ARC Junkies” group that blossomed out of a thread I started in the Early Reviewers Group.  Come to think of it, that might be why there’s so little conversation in ER these days, we moved it all to another group!

Have you participated in LibraryThing Early Reviewers or a similar program?  How have you enjoyed your experience?  What great books have you received that everyone should read?

14 comments to Tuesday Thingers: Early Reviewers

  • I agree – I think when we migrated to ARC junkies, we took the life out of the ER thread!

  • :-) I just joined that pgm… just like that!! I don’t hope to get many choices 😉 …but wanted to join in the fun ! :o)

    But yur list is pretty impressive…!!

  • I stumbled upon the ER program a year after joining LT, I’ve been very lucky to snag some books and am enjoying the added features of LT I keep discovering. I really enjoy reading the ARC junkies discussions, but shyness makes me a natural lurker :)

  • I wondered why the ER group had blossomed into repetition and whining. Now I know you’re the culprit! 😉

  • You’ve gotten some great ones! I agree about the ER thread, I don’t spend much time there either now that we have all moved to ARC Junkies.

  • Amy

    Oh but come on! There’s the fun, “I’m sick of Early Reviewers” thread. :)

  • You’ve done well. My Father’s Paradise was wonderful. Tears of the Desert was painful, but it was still fantastic in my opinion. I just started The 19th Wife yesterday and I don’t want to do anything but read it right now – it grabbed me from the first page.

  • Shana – I wish I could say something encouraging like, ‘maybe you’ll like it more than I did,’ but it has a 2.73 rating on LT right now. Actually, of the three people that rated it higher than 3 stars, one was the author.

  • Shana

    Jen, I loved Franklin & Lucy.

    Oh, no! I am on a blog tour for Two Brothers. I haven’t started it yet, but I can’t stand bad prose.

  • Haven’t partcipated in the early reviewer thing but I want to read 19th Daughter…think I’m going to check it out at the library.

  • The program sounds very interesting but I haven’t participated in it. Incidentally, I appreciate the reminder about Franklin and Lucy. I remember reading about it but it had since fallen off my radar.

  • Great list of books and thoughts on ER program and discsussion group. I am SO glad that you started the ARC Junkies as that is one of my favorite groups. I don’t check ER group that often.

  • We’ve both gotten 8 books and only one (The 19th Wife) is the same!

  • My favorites of LTER books received are *The Genizah at the House of Sheper* (fiction) and *Hurry Down Sunshine* (memoir).

    I loved *The 19th Wife*, but I didn’t get it from LT. My “source” was tlcbooktours, and I’m running the review on 10/20. I also met David Ebershoff at a signing last month, which was fun.

    The LTER program is great; a mixed-bag with fun surprises!