Over twenty years ago I read Louis L’Amour’s book, “Education of a Wandering Man”. It is one of my all time favorites. L’Amour kept a journal recording the books he read year by year. The idea seemed unusual to me at the time, but I started doing it. About the same time I attended a writer’s conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Author Calvin Miller was the featured speaker. He also suggested keeping track of what you read. He added maybe writing a one page summary of the book and your thoughts about the book would be a good record to keep. He saw value in reading the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize Award winning authors as well.
I thought both gentleman’s idea was good and added a twist of my own. I would write a short book review. In the late 1980s I had my first book review published. Several years ago I stared posting my reviews on-line on Yahoo 360. About the same time I started Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews. My oldest review on the site dates back to October 2007. Since then I have read and reviewed 107 military history or military historical fiction books. The website was name a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs in late 2009. I receive about six requests a month to read and review books. Several publishers send me their books automatically. Some authors and/or their publicists contact me directly asking if I will review their book. I have about a six month backlog of books to review. Most authors who contact me want the book reviewed now. I tell them of the backlog and many withdraw their offer of a review copy of the book.
What do I get out of it? First, I get the enjoyment of reading the book. I love reading and history. This is a great way to read new material and get review copies of the books. Second, I share my love for history in general and military history specifically. Third, I try to be a good finder in what I read. I will read the entire book. Sometimes it is a struggle, but I look for the good. I don’t say it is wonderful if it is tough to read, but I don’t read looking for the bad. How blessed I am getting to review the books.