Where do the books come from?
When I started out, most of my books came from the The Star, who received them from publishers and distributors. I still get books from The Star, and now, from MPH as well. The distributors and magazine arm have books they'd like to market, in the form of author interviews, reviews and feature articles. I received my first direct-from-publisher book in June 2011. I do buy books, but not a lot and not often.
A lot of books get reviewed, but many more don't: Unheard-of titles and authors, books with unpopular titles or obscure topics, and books published more than a year ago, to name a few. As publishers of news, the media tend to feature new or best-selling titles or authors. But you'll find reviews of old or out-of-print books - whatever I'm interested in, naturally.
For the time being, I've got all the review copies I can manage.
Is that ratings bar for real?
I have a ratings bar, but it's not meant to be taken too seriously. At first it was a web design gimmick, just to see how it would look in the blog. As the reviews piled up, I thought, "why not?" It's based on a personal scale, the rules of which I've yet to codify. Your mileage may vary.
Just curious, what happens all these books after you're done with them? Any chance they can be donated to less fortunate beings who have to pay for books?
A pertinent question, o' less fortunate being, though it could use less sarcasm.
I don't keep all the books I review, particularly those that arrive in the MPH offices. I don't have room, but I have allergic rhinitis, and books are terrific dust magnets. Book donations are a good idea, as I'm loathe to send books to the recycling bin. If you know any place in the Klang Valley where I can "retire" books I can't keep anymore, drop me an e-mail.
Looks like you've been shilling a lot for MPH nowadays, doesn't it?
Of course. I am an employee. Do note that I promote, not review, some books from MPH Group Publishing. There will be a conflict of interest if I reviewed books published by my own company.
Doesn't look like you only do books here.
I used to do food or restaurant reviews, but these are few and far between. Nowadays I do food reviews even less, due to finances and health issues.
This, by the way, is a personal blog. I will be commenting on things not related to books, food or the publishing sector.