Lesa Holstine began her library career as Director of a Public Library when she was only 22 years old. Presently, she's a Library Manager and reviewer for Library Journal, Blogcritics Magazine, and various websites. Her own blog, Lesa's Book Critiques, is syndicated through Blogburst, and her reviews are often picked up by Reuters and USA Today. In this interview, Holstine talks about reviewing, including objectivity when reviewing friend's books, as well as the philosophy behind reviewers who write mean, nasty reviews.
How long have you been reviewing?
I’ve been reviewing for about 18 years. I started by reviewing teen mysteries for Voice of Youth Advocates. For two years, I wrote a weekly book column for a newspaper. Two years ago, I started reviewing women’s fiction for Library Journal. I’ve been writing short reviews for Stacy Alesi’s website bookbitch.com for almost three years. And then I started my blog.
Please tell us about your blog, Lesa's Book Critiques. How and when did it get started?
Lesa’s Book Critiques came about because I had a new job, and was missing the opportunity to talk about books. I went to a library workshop at which I learned how to blog. A light bulb went off, and I saw this as my chance to talk about books. I wanted to share my excitement for books. I read a little of everything, and, I think that comes through on my blog. There’s an emphasis on mysteries, but I review biographies, women’s fiction, children’s and teen books, and more sports books than people might expect. I’ve had the blog since January 2005. I’m very proud of the fact that Lesa’s Book Critiques is syndicated through Blogburst, and my book reviews have been picked up by USAtoday.com, Reuters, IBS, and other distributors.
I also use the blog to report on authors appearances I attend at the library I manage, the Velma Teague Library in Glendale, Arizona, or appearances at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale and, once in a while, at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe.
I also run weekly contests on my blog that bring in additional readers. Once in a while, I’ll do an author interview.
How long have you been writing for Blogcritics Magazine?
I’ve been writing for Blogcritics for just nine months. In that time, I’ve written 28 reviews for them.
How many books do you review a month?
I read 13-15 books a month, so that’s how many I review. Of course, I might dip into a few more books, but I only review the ones I finish.