Monday, March 15, 2021

20 Years!

No new review today, but I wanted to take a moment to mark a milestone.

20 years ago this month, I started reviewing online.

Yes, I do have some older than March of 2001, but I decided that year I was going to take it seriously.  I started over at Amazon, and my goal was to make it to the top 1000 (back when that was more realistic than it is today).  I eventually made it to the top 100 before I started drifting back down again.  Now, I'm somewhere in the 2000's.

My next stop was an now defunct website called Epinions in the fall of 2005.  It was a rough introduction, but I stuck with it and owe much of my current reviewing style (for better or worse) to that site.  Made some good friends along the way.

As that site was coming to an end in 2013, I decided to move all my reviews over here to my blog.  If you dive into the achieves from 2013, you'll find I posted a lot of reviews until mid-July.  I was posting all those old reviews.  That was quite the project, and I was so thrilled when I finally got caught up.

No, I don't have 20 years worth of reviews on the site.  There are still a few things that never did migrate over from Amazon, but I have reviews of stuff from 2001 onward on the blog.  Just don't go looking for some of those old ones.  They were pretty bad (which is why I am glad I stuck around at Epinions).

The fact that I started out at Amazon and Epinions is why this blog features such a variety of items reviewed.  And the fact that I review so many different things is one reason why I am still doing this all these years later.  Every time I start to get a little bored, I find something new to review, and it sparks my interest again.

I never would have guessed that I'd still be reviewing 20 years later.  Seems crazy to me.  But at this point, I don't know if I could turn it off.  Even if I watch something not intending to review it, my brain starts composing the review as I'm watching it.  Honestly, it's hard to turn off at this point.

I started reviewing to help authors I love get more readers.  I figured the more readers they have, the greater the likelihood they will get contracts for more books, so I'll have more great books to read. See, purely selfish.  Naturally, over the years, some authors have stopped writing, but I've found some great new authors I've enjoyed just as much.  And some of the authors I was reading back then are still writing today.  I guess that means my strategy worked.

Thanks so much to all of you who read my blog.  I know I'm horrible at responding to comments, but I do read them all and appreciate them.  It is motivating knowing that I'm not just talking to myself.

Here's to the next 20!


  1. Mark, you are a precious part of the writing community. Your generosity in giving your time to write these thoughtful and helpful reviews is a boon to both writers and readers alike. I thank you from the bottom of my heart! And yes, here's to another twenty years of fabulous reviews! Long Live Carstairs!

  2. Mark, congratulations!! Your thoughtful, articulate reviews are a constant pleasure. So grateful you do what you do. And ditto what Leslie said!

  3. Congratulations! 20 years is a huge accomplishment and as both a reader and writer, I appreciate the content that you provide! Here's to another 20 years!!!

  4. 20 years is amazing! Congratulations! I love how you review with saying what you don't like without attacking the book or being overly negative. You have not been good for TBR though - especially since our reading tastes tend to run along similar lines!

  5. Congratulations!! That's a ton of books in that time! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us!

  6. Wow!! Congratulations on the 20 years!! Thanks for reviewing books & everything else for us, readers & your followers! I may not comment much, but I always read your newsletters! Here's to 20 more!!! Big hugs!

  7. WOW!!! 20 yrs. You have introduced me to some fabulous authors Ypur reviews are to the point and not inflated

  8. Congratulations on this wonderful milestone! As Leslie said, you are indeed a treasured part of the community. Your reviews are always insightful and you're one reviewer I trust to always steer me to a good read. (thus the toppling TBR!) Cheers to many more years of Carstairs!