It’s Not You, It’s Me: Why I won’t be accepting any more books for review …for now

One year on from deciding to feature book reviews on this site, I have realised that I have neglected my work for far too long, writes Philip Cummins

Books pouring out from my office window.

DESIGNED as an arena where I could flex my critical muscles and intended as an online portfolio of my freelance journalism to date for print, online and broadcast media, the decision to set up this site was one of the wisest decisions that I have made for some time and one of which I have no regrets.

Well, when I say no regrets…I do regret that the time and the energy that I have spent in reading and reviewing works by contemporary authors has drained me of all the time and the energy that is necessary to craft my work.

In short, I have tipped the balance between creative writing and critical writing in favor of the latter and, often, more to the benefit of others- authors, publishers, editors- rather than that of my own.

Reviewing has been a hugely enjoyable and insightful experience, pressuring me to read books that I wouldn’t otherwise gravitate towards. Critical reviews demanded me to deliver persuasive, critical opinion, which recreational reading does not demand of the reader, leading me to read new work more rigorously.

All that said, there are times when I wish that I had spent more time on my work than that of others.

When talking to a friend, recently, about how I felt that my work was stagnant, it became clear to me that I haven’t been making more of an effort to get my work published in magazines and journals. Larger projects, such as a play that I have worked on, intermittently, since the start of the year, have become a secondary concern to that of critical writing.

It is for some of the above reasons that I will not accepting any more books of review…for now. This may change, though as it stands, the only book reviews that will appear on this site are two joint reviews: I will review Hélène Cardona‘s Dreaming My Animal Selves along with Patrick Deeley’s New and Selected Poems, while I will also review Karl Parkinson’s Litany Of The City  along with Dave Lordan’s First Book of Frags.

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