Harriet, The Reader

March 29th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

There are some who believe that Harriet Klausner doesn’t exist*. Couldn’t exist. Nobody could read that fast. Well, nobody with a life. And perhaps that’s Klausner’s secret. Sure that makes those of us who are finding reading time a luxury jealous. While we’ve long maintained that it’s not true that Klausner only gives glowing reviews, the truth is more nuanced (something we only achieve when in the mood):

It would be overstating things to suggest that Ms. Klausner, 53, has never met a book she didn’t like. It would be more on the money to say she’s of the “if you don’t have anything nice to write, don’t write anything at all” school of literary criticism. “If a book doesn’t hold my interest by page 50 I’ll stop reading, which is one of the reasons I give a lot of good ratings,” says Ms. Klausner, whose voice suggests she’s taken more than a few nips of helium. “And why review a book to give it a low rating or to tear it apart? Nothing in that.”

But rest assured she can cut the motor on her enthusiasm when necessary. “I give Ralph McInerny, the author of the ‘Father Dowling’ mysteries, a low rating and tell why I can’t stand the books,” says Ms. Klausner, who’s contributed reviews to Amazon since 2000. “It’s basically the same story over and over.”

She has the same “been there, read that” problem with Cassie Edwards, a scribe of Native American romances. “It’s either a half-breed Indian male or a full-breed Indian male and a white virgin,” sighs Ms. Klausner, running down the essential plot of titles like “Savage Joy,” “Savage Devotion,” “Savage innocence,” “Savage Hope,” “Savage Courage” and “Savage Torment.” “She gets kidnapped, returns to white society, then comes back to Native American society to be with her lover, who ends up as her husband.

Okay, we can buy into a lot of the Klausner myth…except maybe the discovery of Tess Gerritsen. Gerritsen built a huge following as a Harlequin author before venturing into the world of big publishing bucks. Maybe the good reviews helped, but we suspect that since Gerritsen’s career predated Amazon by approximately a decade, this may not be the whole story. Yes, feeling a bit skeptical this morning. And we wonder if Klausner reads more for work or pleasure; and hope she finds time for the latter. Reading is, after all, FUNdamental. Sorry. No idea where that came from.

* – Since we’ve had much correspondence with Klausner in the past, we do not fall into this camp.

File Under: Square Pegs