Neil's Reviews > Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers

Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers by Don Marquis
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's review
Nov 29, 2008

did not like it

I bought this from Amazon... it turns out to be a book where someone has taken the Project Gutenberg text and printed it, "typist's note' and all. And demonstrated that simply Print on demanding Project Gutenberg text does not give you a book, especially when nobody's bothered to lay it out. Every paragraph double spaced. no publication info. Avoid. Sorry.
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06/28 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Monica (new)

Monica Edinger I went looking for this after seeing your review (that one star) and have to agree. I was curious because I'm a longtime fan of archy and mehitabel. (Used one of archy's poems for my high school yearbook photo.) Ah well. Or, as mehitabel would have put it, wotthehell.

message 2: by Johnny (new)

Johnny Dude! Amazon is slightly evil. Support to local independents & they will give you real books! Real!

message 3: by Sandi (new)

Sandi Johnny, some of us don't have local independents and the major chains aren't always the best places to find new books. I do use Amazon because I can get hard-to-find books from small presses that my local Borders and Barnes & Noble don't carry.

message 4: by Paul (new)

Paul I have pondered what it would take to actually take the Gutenberg books up one level and add some sort of context-sensitive styling/design/formatting (as we see with web materials). So in a browser, it would appear one way, if printed another. Or at the very least, standardize them so you don't end up with hard returns at the end of each line and double-spacing throughout. This latter part would be trivial while the former might take some effort. But if PoD demand grew as a result, it might be worth it.

If you're going to keep books alive, let them really live.

message 5: by Doug (new)

Doug Paul, the HTML formatted PG texts are similar enough in layout that there seems to be some sort of standard conversion script going on, but I might be wrong. That might be hand inserted.

I've never tried printing out their HTML formatted pages, so I don't know how well they will print to physical copy, but I have worked with relatively simple (often LaTeX based programs like LyX) formatting and typesetting programs that can take vanilla, hard-break PG text files and convert them into quite lovely documents using a few simple algorithms. I'm not sure, but it doesn't seem like it would be too hard to make a program that loads a text file, asks a few basic questions about formatting, and then generates a fair- to high-quality printable copy.

message 6: by Johnny (new)

Johnny Independents (regular old booksellers) operate on the web too and you're more likely to at least see what options they offer by visiting sites such at or Yes it can take a little more effort or time, but in the end isn't it really about the amount of effort you want to make. Everyone is free to make their own choices, and in the end it may come down to only one choice being available, but in the meantime there are at least a handfull of alternative options to consider.

message 7: by Paul (new)

Paul Some scope drift here ;-) A lot of the texts at PG are unavailable in any bookshop, so a good PoD solution would be useful if one wanted to get these books out with some standard of quality.

a quick glance at this makes it plain that this book is unlikely to be found by even the most intrepid bookshop archaeologist.

message 8: by Nikki (new)

Nikki That sounds absolutely awful. Worse than Humanities 214 lectures, which led some sassy students to invent a drinking game for said lectures just to make them bearable.

message 9: by Jeannettescape (new)

Jeannettescape Jeannette Which would put me to sleep faster... this book or the manual to my video camera?

message 10: by Neil (new) - rated it 1 star

Neil The book is rather wonderful. You can read it at Google books, at and download it as a PDF from

message 11: by Sandi (new)

Sandi So, the one-star rating is for the format, not the content. Right?

message 12: by Jeannettescape (new)

Jeannettescape Jeannette !!! Jeez. He's right. I totally understand the review now. There are a bunch of other editions of this book @ Amazon under the title Hermione's Group of Serious Thinkers (cheaper ones) and there's also a hardcover edition of this by a different print on demand publisher (Bibliolife). I wonder if you'd run across the same problem with that one. (scuze the snide remark really is a cool book)

message 13: by Christiane (new)

Christiane Sandi wrote: "Johnny, some of us don't have local independents and the major chains aren't always the best places to find new books. I do use Amazon because I can get hard-to-find books from small presses that ..."

I agree completely. I also get books from Amazon, especially having to work and study full-time, I never have time to go to my local bookstores and browse their collections.

message 14: by tib (new) - rated it 4 stars

tib The book was hilarious- I have lived among Serious Thinkers,( I have even been a Serious Thinker but am over that now) and each little zinger was right-on!

message 15: by Neil (new) - rated it 1 star

Neil Sandi wrote: "So, the one-star rating is for the format, not the content. Right? "

Right. It's a "Beware" on this edition, not on the content.

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