Picture montage by William Kimmerle
Who in the world is Harriet Klausner?
Many of you have never heard her name before, but anyone who has read a mystery book review on either Amazon or Barnes and Noble will be familiar with the name Harriet Klausner. Harriet seems to be the most prolific reader and reviewer on our planet. Legend has it that she actually left 44 book reviews on Amazon on just one day.
I first discovered Harriet's book reviews a few years ago on the B&N website. Even if I had just read and reviewed an advance copy of a book that wasn't scheduled to be published for a few months, Harriet had already left a review under the pen name HARSTAN. She certainly piqued my interest!
If you google Harriet Klausner, there are links to many blogs and web pages that question whether or not Harriet is a live person, a cottage industry, or a shill for publishers. According to an article in Time Magazine in December of 2006, Harriet reads between six and seven books a day (this is not a typo!) and receives up to fifty free books from publishers weekly. I pride myself on being a fast reader, but compared to Harriet, I haven't even reached the kindergarten reading group.
The interesting thing about the reviews that Harriet leaves on both Amazon and the Barnes and Noble websites is that almost every review receives five stars. Occasionally, you'll find one that only has four stars, but I've never ever seen less. As most of us know, not every book we read is top notch. How many times have you plunked down $25 plus dollars and, after reading the book, you feel like you've been swindled because it was so bad? Not Harriet, apparently.
It seems that in the wonderful world of Harriet Klausner, there are no bad books. A world where every single book she reads falls into the category of fabulous! It's startling when I see her five star review of a book and I'm about to enter my own two star review of the same book. When I read a book that can only be labeled a dog, I feel compelled to let other people know before they fork over their hard earned cash. The same is true for a good book. When I love a book, I feel like I need to shout it from the rooftop!
If Harriet is truly reading six or seven books each day, where is the pleasure in that? When I read a really great book, one that I hate to see end, I want to live with it for a while. I don't want to immediately break the connection with the characters or the mood; rather I want to savor the experience.
So, Harriet Klausner. If you really exist and you really do read more than 2,000 books each year, send me an email. I'd love to hear from you and interview you for my blog.
Just think about this for a moment. Harriet's photo is from the Times Magazine article of 2006. She is surrounded by mountains of books. If she were to continue to receive books at the same rate, she would have received over 11,200 books since that photo was taken. The average hardcover book weighs approximately 1.25 pounds. Therefore, 11,200 books would weigh approximately 14,000 pounds and if they were stacked on top of each other, the pile would measure about 1,150 feet tall! I hope for Harriet's sake that she isn't buried under that seven ton pile of books.