I’m Will. I have been posting reviews on Goodreads since 2008, 1222 as of October 2021, if you can believe that. If you are serving a particularly lengthy prison sentence you may find reading all of them a way to help pass the time. I will not be porting all of those over here. I might need a prison sentence of my own (always a possibility) to have the time. I have provided a link to GR where you may wander through them all at your leisure, if you get that urge.
The impetus for starting this blog was the purchase of Goodreads by Amazon. I was very concerned that Amazon would alter the rather comfortable setup so many of us enjoyed at GR, and I wanted to have a safe haven for my babies before that day was set to arrive. Well, several years on, Amazon has mostly kept their hands off, so I continue to do my reviewing primarily on GR, but hung onto this site as a fall-back should Amazon decide one day to become more intrusive. As of August, 2021, after GR reduced its allowable review size in 2019 by 25%, forcing longer reviews to dip into the Comments section, and having just recently banned the use of external links in comments, (both those changes, BTW, having been made with zero notice to us reviewers) it became clear that it was time to bring my somnolent site back to life. It does, IMHO, need a significant overhaul, but for now I am leaving it pretty much as is and will just be posting new reviews.
I am a Boomer, thus the “Coot” of the title. I have had a few careers, which is not unusual these days. I retired several years ago. I have even done a bit of freelance book-editing, but am not in the publishing field beyond that and never have been. If you want to be pissy, I guess an exception might be the newsletters I wrote for the little league teams I managed. But other than that, not in publishing. Ok? Jeez!
You will not find images of me here. I have a face made for radio and a voice made for print. But there are images out there, if you know where to look and have a strong stomach.
It should be known that my book goddess, my wife, works at Harper Collins. So if you believe that negates my reviews for Harper books, be my guest. In fact, she has no say in what I write and only rarely reads my little offerings even after I post. If you have a concern about whether I am a mole, secretly flogging Rupert product, I suggest you read a few reviews and see for yourself whether you think I am an honest reviewer, or not.
The image in the header is a photo I took from Brooklyn Bridge Park of the lower Manhattan skyline. I have a couple hundred more from the park on Flickr. Also on Flickr, I started writing the beginnings of stories that insinuated themselves into my tiny mind while looking at some of the photos I had posted. I have made a set there, called Beginnings, and have ported those to the Beginnings Menu item here. I hope to add more to the seven I have written so far, both on Flickr and here.
What else? I am a native Noo Yawkah, and do the accent quite nicely when upset. I have lived or worked in all five boroughs (and a few parts of Joisey, as well). My undergrad semester in London back in the 70s was my only break from living in NYC. These days, I live in Wilkes Barre, PA. I had an embarrassing moment in 2018, when I got to meet Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf (we love him) at a public event here in WB. We exchanged some intel on New York items. Two of his kids live in NYC and his wife was born in the same Brooklyn hospital as my youngest. When he asked me about my fifteen months of life in Pennsylvania, (at that time) “Well, what do you think?” I drew a blank and emitted some form of huminahuminahumina. He offered a very sensitive reply about it being quite a change from living in NYC. But there are some things about living in Wilkes Barre that are pretty cool. In the 2018 political season my wife and I met a lot of interesting people, via being volunteers for PA Dems, canvassing, volunteering in phone banks, running phone banks, doing data entry into the state Democratic Party database, attending many gatherings of diverse sorts, parties, rallies, fund-raisers, arts awards ceremonies, protests, meet-and-greets. We feel a connection here to our elected representatives that was much less the case back in NYC. I have nothing against my NY politicians, one of whom even helped me get a job in a desperate time, but the connection here is more personal overall. It will be very interesting to see if those connections persist beyond the election seasons. I am optimistic. We intend to remain politically active to some degree.
I have been a baseball fan since gestation, I expect. A die-hard (emphasis on die) fan of the New York Metropolitans since before their birth. Even managed teams for thirteen seasons of little league baseball/softball.
I am still pondering what to include in this blog, whether to expose some short pieces of fiction and non-fiction I have written, and poems I wrote for my kids (three, all grown) some years back. The downside is burning them for potential use in an actual magazine or journal. Publishers of such things tend to reject anything that has previously been posted, and I still have aspirations. I am also pondering re-naming this to something else, and wondering if I need to do a total redesign.
As of October 2021, this blog is still in transition, as I expect it will always be. I am not entirely comfortable with the WordPress interface, and am not interested in learning enough CSS to be able to roll my own. (I was a programmer for over two decades, so could, if I wanted to, but my life is a busy one, and I would rather spend my time doing other things.) The site has been in a suspended state for four years. But it is time to wake up. Part of this is to repair the many broken image links. I counted over 100 reviews requiring repair, and am seeing to those in a slow-but-steady manner. Currently, I am over half-way finished. I am posting on Coot’s some of the reviews I posted on GR in the four years I have been away. It is another slow-but-steady process.
I have a considerable number of readers (more than 120K) on GoodReads. One result of this is that I receive an ungodly number of review requests, enough that I felt it necessary to ask that authors with review requests pass me by. I simply cannot take on any more than I am already doing. Sorry.
So, that’s me. Welcome! Hope you enjoy the site.