More than Just a Rating discussion

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getting to know each other: > pet peeves about reviews




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message 119: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
Maybe examples would help. I think I've seen the pretentious, but ultimately uninteresting and almost unreadable, kind of review Raevyn refers to. Gundula, I'm pretty sure she doesn't mean the kind of reviews you write. You do have a somewhat more formal 'voice' and write more about what's 'between the lines' of a book, but not to the point where it's annoying. :)

Paragraph breaks, topic sentences, transitions, an introductory paragraph... all are important to communication whether it's an academic review, a digressive scholarly one, or just a casual sharing of one's thoughts. Some people ramble on and on showing off their vocabulary or their ability to sound like know-it-alls without taking into account the fact that, if they want people to enjoy their reviews, they need to write enjoyable (or at least comprehensible) reviews. And proofread.

I'm guilty, sometimes, of poorly-written overly-intellectual reviews. I do have a large vocabulary, and sometimes the exact word I want to use is an obscure one. But I try to give enough context so the reader doesn't need to use a dictionary to get the gist of my meaning. And I often write elliptically, but don't always remember to go back and untangle my long sentences and reorder my paragraphs.

It does definitely depend on the book what kind of review one will *probably* write. If the book is written for scholars or college students, the review will much more likely be scholarly, and, in my opinion, should be. But I also agree with Shomeret that sometimes we see details or implications, even in, say, a Magic Tree House book, that we want to explore from a scholar's pov. And that's ok too... though I'd prefer that those kinds of reviews still be carefully written and edited.


message 118: by Gundula (new)

Gundula | 41 comments Shomeret wrote: "Gundula wrote: "Shomeret wrote: "Raevyn wrote: "I also don't like the seemingly-off-topic "storytelling" reviews, the kind that only a literary scholar or someone like that would understand in corr..."

I should try setting up a blog as well because I do the same thing (but I also do this kind of research when reading and that often leads to books taking a lot longer to finish than they should).

I've had that issue with Word myself, but I always end up reformatting because if I get annoyed with no paragraph divisions I should at least make sure that I am not offending myself.


message 117: by Shomeret (last edited Aug 31, 2014 09:37AM) (new)

Shomeret | 31 comments Gundula wrote: "Shomeret wrote: "Raevyn wrote: "I also don't like the seemingly-off-topic "storytelling" reviews, the kind that only a literary scholar or someone like that would understand in correlation to the b..."

I am capable of writing long scholarly digressions about non-scholarly books. I find a detail in a novel that interests me, I research it and discover all sorts of related additional information. Then I write and discuss this discovery in the blog version of my review. My scholarship might be historical, anthropological, theological, literary criticism, etymology or some other field. I sometimes become interested in an area of scholarship that I've never pursued before. I just love research and like to indulge myself on my blog.

Reviews without paragraph divisions might be copied and pasted from Word. I discovered that when I do that, the paragraphing is gone and needs to be re-done. Some reviewers probably aren't bothering to re-add the paragraphing.


message 116: by Gundula (last edited Aug 31, 2014 09:06AM) (new)

Gundula | 41 comments Raevyn wrote: "I agree with that, but I'm annoyed most when it's so academic that it no longer feels like a review of that particular book (this has only happened once or twice in reviews I've read on GR)."

As I said, I am not going to change the way I write to suit those who read my reviews. I have a generally academic style and that is not going to change. However, I agree that there are some reviews that actually sound more like someone is trying to show off and brag about how educated he or she is (going off topic, using obscure wording and the like). On the other hand, if someone is reviewing a book on philosophy, reviews can get obscure and convoluted even with the best intentions.

Actually, one of my pet peeves is when someone writes a long and involved review that is spelled badly and has no paragraph divisions; it's really hard on the eyes.


message 115: by Raevyn (new)

Raevyn ~I Stand For Jesus~ | 23 comments I agree with that, but I'm annoyed most when it's so academic that it no longer feels like a review of that particular book (this has only happened once or twice in reviews I've read on GR).


message 114: by Gundula (last edited Aug 31, 2014 08:59AM) (new)

Gundula | 41 comments Shomeret wrote: "Raevyn wrote: "I also don't like the seemingly-off-topic "storytelling" reviews, the kind that only a literary scholar or someone like that would understand in correlation to the book....I don't mi..."

I think it really depends on the kind of book one is reviewing. If I am reviewing a scholarly, academic book, my review will also most likely be academic and scholarly. Also, because I happen to have a graduate degree in German literature, and am thus more used to writing in a scholarly manner, most of the reviews I write will be somewhat like that, somewhat scholarly and academic sounding, even when I am not actively trying to sound academic (that is the way I write and I am not going to change it because then it would not be my writing anymore).


message 113: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 31 comments Raevyn wrote: "I also don't like the seemingly-off-topic "storytelling" reviews, the kind that only a literary scholar or someone like that would understand in correlation to the book....I don't mind wit, but if ..."

When I write reviews with long scholarly digressions, I recognize that they are personal indulgences and put them on my blog. The Goodreads version of the review will always leave them out.


message 112: by Raevyn (last edited Aug 30, 2014 11:43AM) (new)

Raevyn ~I Stand For Jesus~ | 23 comments I also don't like the seemingly-off-topic "storytelling" reviews, the kind that only a literary scholar or someone like that would understand in correlation to the book....I don't mind wit, but if it's confusing to everyone on GR, than stay away from that method.


message 111: by Cheryl, first facilitator (last edited Aug 12, 2014 07:42PM) (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
And some books are added during automated imports, too. I don't know the details, though, sorry.

It is so annoying to me to find those kinds of books that I call them 'orphan books' and try to find copies to read & review, if they're at all interesting. But I'm glad they're in the database, at least. I've found several lesser-known out-of-print children's books that were actually quite worthwhile, by looking at popular authors' back catalogs and finding their other titles.

I'm sure there are true 'ghost books' too. Some might be ARCs that were withdrawn from publication, some might be planned works and the author died or something, some might be mis-entered or misspelled real books. If you come across something that doesn't seem real at all, you can post information in the Librarian's Group or here in our Librarian's folder and we might even delete the book from the database. But we'd have to be really sure, first.


message 110: by Gundula (last edited Aug 31, 2014 08:57AM) (new)

Gundula | 41 comments Raevyn wrote: "Gundula wrote: "Raevyn wrote: "The one that I probably dislike the most is what I call a Ghost Book. The hypothetical book is added to GR, so someone must have read it, right? But it has no reviews..."

I never thought you meant to be rude, and I bet that there are so-called ghost books around. It's just that with older and more obscure books (as well as books in languages other than English, especially more academic books), sometimes it's best just to get them added to the database (and I have to admit, some of the books I added, I read something like 20 years ago or more, definitely long before I ever joined GR, and while I have sometimes rated them, I don't often remember enough about them to add what I would consider an adequate review, at least not without rereading them first and that's not likely to happen with all the currenly reading and tbr books crowding my bookshelves).


message 109: by Raevyn (new)

Raevyn ~I Stand For Jesus~ | 23 comments Gundula wrote: "Raevyn wrote: "The one that I probably dislike the most is what I call a Ghost Book. The hypothetical book is added to GR, so someone must have read it, right? But it has no reviews....and probably..."

That's very true. I suppose I've done the same thing, like when I added Adopted with my old account. Thank you. I didn't mean to be rude.


message 108: by Gundula (new)

Gundula | 41 comments Raevyn wrote: "The one that I probably dislike the most is what I call a Ghost Book. The hypothetical book is added to GR, so someone must have read it, right? But it has no reviews....and probably no ratings eit..."

A lot of obscure books and older books are like that. I've added some classic college fiction with no ratings and no reviews because I'm planning on reading the books and think that it is not only books with many ratings and reviews that are important to catalogue. I guess I could add a fake rating and a fake review (even though many of the books I have not read yet), but that would not be all that honest. And I am certainly not going to stop adding books I find interesting and potentially readable just because they might be obscure with little or no ratings or reviews.


message 107: by Raevyn (new)

Raevyn ~I Stand For Jesus~ | 23 comments The one that I probably dislike the most is what I call a Ghost Book. The hypothetical book is added to GR, so someone must have read it, right? But it has no reviews....and probably no ratings either.


message 106: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
I agree with both of you. If the connection between the two books is either obvious or made clear, it's a Good Thing. I do it often. If it's just random, it's annoying.


message 105: by Raevyn (new)

Raevyn ~I Stand For Jesus~ | 23 comments Gundula wrote: "Raevyn wrote: "Another review type that I dislike is (I made this example up):
"I loved the Harry Potter series. It's wonderful. You should read it!" (book: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter...)

I've s..."

I agree. :)


message 104: by Gundula (last edited Aug 05, 2014 08:58AM) (new)

Gundula | 41 comments Raevyn wrote: "Another review type that I dislike is (I made this example up):
"I loved the Harry Potter series. It's wonderful. You should read it!" (book: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter...)

I've seen this with r..."


I would not generally consider promoting another book in a review of a different book a genuine review, UNLESS of course, if at the end of the review of a given book, the reviewer gave perhaps a short link etc. to a another similar book interested readers might enjoy (for example, if I reviewed Anna Sewell's Black Beauty and then at the end of the review also stated that readers might enjoy and consider Will James' Smoky the Cow Horse, that would be acceptable because Black Beauty had been adequately reviewed and I was just quickly pointing out that Smoky the Cow Horse might be also interesting to people who enjoy reading stories about horses overcoming obstacles and abuse).


message 103: by Raevyn (new)

Raevyn ~I Stand For Jesus~ | 23 comments Another review type that I dislike is (I made this example up):
"I loved the Harry Potter series. It's wonderful. You should read it!" (book: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter...)

I've seen this with reviews of the Goosebumps series.


message 102: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
I've had a few, but thankfully not many.


message 101: by Gundula (new)

Gundula | 41 comments Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "I hope everyone realizes that you can delete others' comments on your reviews. Don't argue with them, don't explain why you've done so, just quietly delete them."

I've never had any comments as yet that were so awful as to warrant deletion (I've had some debates and differences of opinion, but I would likely generally only delete a comment that was a personal attack or really politically incorrect).


message 100: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
I hope everyone realizes that you can delete others' comments on your reviews. Don't argue with them, don't explain why you've done so, just quietly delete them.


message 99: by Gundula (new)

Gundula | 41 comments Raevyn wrote: "Here's one:
The commenters who never review, but if someone dislikes a book they 'luuuurved', they get all defensive and insulting. I mean, why don't they just review the books themselves instead ..."


Getting insulting is so juvenile. Even if the review itself was insulting (or you felt it was insulting), acting the same way just makes you the same.

And your second point is even sillier, just plain unenlightened and ignorant.


message 98: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
Totally agree with both of your concerns!


message 97: by Raevyn (last edited Jul 15, 2014 10:47AM) (new)

Raevyn ~I Stand For Jesus~ | 23 comments Here's one:
The commenters who never review, but if someone dislikes a book they 'luuuurved', they get all defensive and insulting. I mean, why don't they just review the books themselves instead of starting arguments? 0.0

And the people who basically say "I loved this YA book, but since it's YA I'm demoting it to 3 stars."


message 96: by S.C. (new)

S.C. Wynne | 2 comments Thank you, Cheryl. I feel better and wiser already! :)

Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "That's pretty good advice! If you feel you must look at the reviews, look at only them, at least. You're right that ratings mean diddly. Especially on GR - people have even been known to think 1..."


message 95: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
That's pretty good advice! If you feel you must look at the reviews, look at only them, at least. You're right that ratings mean diddly. Especially on GR - people have even been known to think 1 star is best. Others use them to indicate the priority about when they want to get around to reading a book. So, yeah, just write! :)


message 94: by S.C. (new)

S.C. Wynne | 2 comments I'm a new author and just had my first book published from Loose Id Oct 14th 2013. I find reconciling the words in the review and the stars difficult at times. Some reviewers will say they really liked the story and are excited for another story and then they only give it three stars. I find that puzzling. :) Although to me three stars means they liked the book, but reading some of the earlier posts on this thread some people think three stars only means "meh". I should listen to the seasoned authors who say never look at your reviews, just write! ;)


message 93: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
y'know, I don't think I've ever met an enter-key maniac... sounds weird... don't show me an example, plz... ;)

And I agree, some review is better than none. Absolutely. That's why I acquiesced to popular demand and started this group.


message 92: by Raevyn (last edited Aug 05, 2013 04:41PM) (new)

Raevyn "Lucia" [I'm in it for the books] (raevynstar) | 13 comments Maybe this is overkill, but I have two more:
The enter key maniac--when someone writes a sentence, presses enter one hundred times, and continues.

And the non-reviewer. Even if the reviewers I mentioned above are annoying, at least they provide something...


message 91: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
Yay - I feel validated. :)


message 90: by Raevyn (new)

Raevyn "Lucia" [I'm in it for the books] (raevynstar) | 13 comments They're okay, and one made entirely of pictures actually worked well, but I'd rather just have text.


message 89: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
Makes perfect sense to me!
I'm glad you've given up on filler smileys. So third-grade. ;)
And I agree that long or preachy (especially misinformed) or arrogant reviews are annoying. Some snarky ramblers get lots of 'likes' on their reviews, but they won't get them from me.

How do you feel about pictures and videos in reviews? I like a few, if they say something that can't be said in words, but so many are just, well, filler, imo. But then, I'm an old fart, so maybe my opinion is not worth so much.


message 88: by Raevyn (last edited Aug 04, 2013 09:54AM) (new)

Raevyn "Lucia" [I'm in it for the books] (raevynstar) | 13 comments When a person writes a one-star review and they have the facts all wrong--like if people thought Harry Potter was bad because it's based on Norse mythology (what?). Luckily no one's written that yet! Or the reviewers who, for some reason, seem overbearing, as in 'Junie B. Jones is ruining our children'. Argh.
And extra-long ones. Those are worse than the whiny/misinformed reviews!
I used to write extremely short reviews and do a lot of smileys (:D) for 'fillers' to make the review longer. Don't do that!

Finally, the reviews that review the release date/cover before the book comes out...then reviews the plot and everything IN THE SAME REVIEW! If you want to talk about the release date, fine. Comment on your review. But please try not to confuse us anymore! (I hope that made sense)


message 87: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
Oh sheesh - I'm glad I've not seen those!


message 86: by Kimba (new)

Kimba  (kimba88) Sarah wrote: "Reviews that talk about the movie. I'm not talking about reviews that mention there is a movie, I'm talking about reviews that go into great length about the movie. These reviews may or may not inc..."
I totally agree with you.


message 85: by Zaira (new)

Zaira (Zairafire) Oh yeah, I hate those too!


message 84: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Castillo (mredria) Reviews that talk about the movie. I'm not talking about reviews that mention there is a movie, I'm talking about reviews that go into great length about the movie. These reviews may or may not include the words "I didn't read the book but..."


message 83: by Kimba (new)

Kimba  (kimba88) I basically ignore amazon, since it will not let you post a review till after the book is published. Most of the books I am reading are ARC's. I review at B&N, my blog and Goodreads.


message 82: by Zaira (new)

Zaira (Zairafire) If not, I go on common sense media and look there.


message 81: by Zaira (new)

Zaira (Zairafire) I didn't even know Amazon had reviews, I've always looked here on GR. I usually get the feedback I need!


message 80: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Walton Grant (tamgrant) | 70 comments I don't go by anything anybody says on Amazon. :)


message 79: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
probably - I don't much use Amazon's reviews any more unless I can't find any here


message 78: by Manugw (last edited Sep 03, 2011 01:09PM) (new)

Manugw | 3 comments Very often I witness particularly in Amazon that critical reviews with low ratings get many non helpful votes, so that it hampers the credibility of the review even though it may be very good writen and based on true justifed criteria. I wonder if both writer and publisher are voting against all critical reviews


message 77: by Zaira (new)

Zaira (Zairafire) Oh, mean. I don't like writing unfavorable reviews. It makes me feel kind of bad, though eventually I get over it but still...


message 76: by Gundula (last edited Sep 01, 2011 11:31AM) (new)

Gundula | 41 comments Victoria wrote: "People who give a book a bad review, because it’s a theme/genre they don’t like. Then why did you read the book?"

Unless it's the first time a reader has tried a particular theme/genre, then I can understand a negative review if the theme or genre did not appeal (or if the reader is being obligated to read a particular theme/genre for a school or college/university class, I can understand unflattering reviews for a theme/genre said reader did not and does not like).

But I agree that it's a bit annoying when certain readers seemingly read specific genres they know they will not like (often it seems that this is done only in order to write unfavourable reviews).


message 75: by David (new)

David Santos (Authordas) Victoria wrote: "People who give a book a bad review, because it’s a theme/genre they don’t like. Then why did you read the book?"

I get that too. A book clearly states its a christian book then a review says they didn't like the religious stuff, the bible references and stuff.

Bottomline is there are some terrible reviewers out there haha


message 74: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (VSquared) People who give a book a bad review, because it’s a theme/genre they don’t like. Then why did you read the book?


message 73: by Zaira (new)

Zaira (Zairafire) I know! I've actually been looking for a critique for my novel, and I believe I found her! She's so awesome!


message 72: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
lol - some people! - aggravating!!


message 71: by David (new)

David Santos (Authordas) BunWat wrote: "One of my pet peeves about reviews is when reviewers criticise or downgrade a book for "mistakes" that aren't. For example, I have read several reviews of the various books in the series that begi..."

Oh I know all about that! I had someone on Facebook give me feedback and said they didn't like it because I skipped days. I replied and told him the page that each day started on. Then he asks to be my editor...How is he supposed to be my editor if he couldnt even catch that? ha

I'm just glad he didnt leave a review anywhere online.


message 70: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 523 comments Mod
I never thought about paragraphs being so short that the review seems jumpy and incomplete. I guess in an era of Tweets and texts, even though I don't use them, I've just gotten used to the idea of a well-developed paragraph or essay or review as being 'old-school.' But of course you make a great point and I'll remember it!


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Books mentioned in this topic

Hidden (other topics)
Destined (other topics)
Black Beauty (other topics)
Smoky the Cow Horse (other topics)
Adopted (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Ann Patchett (other topics)