Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Announcing Kara.Reviews

Most of you know I post book reviews on Goodreads. But did you know I’ve been doing this for 12 years, for every book I’ve read, amounting to over 1600 reviews?

If I sound like I’m bragging, I am, because that’s the point of this post: I write book reviews; I write a lot of book reviews; and I’m good at it. So prolific and so good at it that today I’m launching a dedicated book review website: Kara.Reviews

What’s Kara.Reviews?

On this site, you’ll find:

  • every review I have posted on Goodreads
  • new reviews at your fingertips
  • an easy way to browse all those old reviews, by bookshelf (tag), numerous links from other reviews, or searching for a book/author
  • a sign-up form for my newsletter

A Newsletter, You Say?

I know some of my friends and family enjoy reading my reviews but aren’t on Goodreads, and I’m bad at remembering to tweet links to my book reviews. At the moment I plan on publishing a new issue every 2 weeks, starting tomorrow, August 19. So subscribe now for the first issue!

Each issue will have links to all my reviews since the last issue, plus some kind of “bookish thought.”

I promise not to use your email address for nefarious purposes. I am definitely not twirling my mustache as I say that.

P.S. For the more tech savvy there are RSS and Atom feeds available for the whole site or individual shelves.

Are You Still Posting to Goodreads?

Yes, for the foreseeable future all my reviews will be published on Goodreads. I’m not leaving the platform; I’m just expanding beyond it. I’ve also joined The StoryGraph if you’re on there and want to follow me!

How Can I Support You?

Share the site! Share the reviews that you like! Honestly I’m so self-conscious about promoting myself, but I have no problem with other people sharing my words if you think they are worth reading.

If you are interested, subscribe to my newsletter. If I decide, one day, to start reaching out and requesting review copies or collaborating with others, a subscriber count is a nice statistic to be able to quote!

So Are You, Like, a Book Blogger Now?

For the moment I’m not calling myself a book blogger because Kara.Reviews isn’t a book blog per se. I am posting only reviews on the site. While my newsletter will have various short pieces about reading, I don’t have plans to feature author interviews, etc., which is kind of the heart of book blogging. I have been for the past 12 years, and will continue to be, an amateur book reviewer, and, I would like to think, a damn good one! I don’t quite have the interest or stamina to slide into book blogging right now.

The Story Behind Kara.Reviews

This website has been both a long and short time in the making. Short in the sense that the design came together fairly quickly once I realized I wanted a separate site. Long because I have been working on hosting my reviews on my personal site for a few years now.

Goodreads is a fantastic place for reviewing and tracking books, and it used to be a vibrant community. Ever since Amazon took it over, it has stagnated. New features are few and far between. At this point, I am deeply uncomfortable with my reviews only being available on Goodreads. One day … it might not be there any more.

Hosting your own content is the only way to ensure you control it. This is true for any content creator, on any platform. Sometimes that’s not realistic (YouTube is much better at distributing video than a personal site could ever hope to achieve), but it’s still important to consider the weak links in your distribution chain.

Additionally … it’s just time. I’ve been doing this for 12 years. I know that people like reading my reviews. While I am ambivalent about the idea of building an audience, I at least want to explore that possibility and see how that makes me feel—and I want to give people who aren’t on Goodreads a nice way to discover and wander through all these lovely books I’ve reviewed.

Finally, I’ll note that I don’t think I would be doing this had I not come out as trans earlier this year and started transitioning. Oh, I still would have hosted my reviews myself—as I noted above, I have been working on that for a few years now—but I would have just filed them away here, as another part of this personal site, like my blog. But coming out and becoming Kara has given me confidence and a certain fearlessness with which to dive into new adventures. “Kara.Reivews” just felt so right that I had to do it.

I intend to write a few more posts exploring the technical story behind Kara.Reviews (like this site, I coded it myself). Until then, check out the site, and if you’re interested, as they say on YouTube, like, share, and subscribe!