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Writing book reviews is a ministry and service

Writing a book review can be seen as a ministry to others.
Writing a book review can be seen as a ministry to others.
Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for ELLE

The last five years of my mother's life, she was too feeble to get to a store. She spent most of her time in a recliner, reading books, working puzzles and watching TV. Her home was filled with books on a variety of subjects, and when she had reread all of those, she joined a mail order book club.

She appreciated it when I would bring a book to her and say "here, I enjoyed this one. I think you'll like it, too." She agreed with me most of the time, and when she didn't, it just gave us something to talk about besides how bad her knees hurt.

Writing book reviews is a continuation of that. I enjoy giving self-published authors a platform in which they can be seen in my newspaper column. I like helping their rankings and sales, hoping that somehow, someone else will return the favor, and help my books get some exposure and ranking, too.

But the real reason I do it is my mother and all the other people like her who can't get to a store. Some people are too busy with their jobs. Some people have disabilities. Some people have small children. I think of my reviews as a ministry to people who can't shop, helping them find a good book to make their life more enjoyable.

When my husband and I attended a retreat about our spiritual lives, we were told that everyone should have a ministry of some kind. We don't all have to be preachers or missionaries to serve God. All we need to do is perform some small act of kindness on a regular basis because it helps someone some how.

Amazon says that only one percent of their customers take the time to write a review. This is frustrating to authors, because they need at least 20 reviews to be considered for some of the promotional offers that are out there for them on the net. It’s frustrating for readers, because it’s like buying a pig in a poke. They don’t have a objective opinion of how enjoyable the book is.

Perhaps writing book reviews can be your ministry as well. Help authors like me. Help people like my mother. It doesn’t take much time or writing talent. A simple paragraph will do. And then go to sleep with a smile on your face because you did your good deed for the day.

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