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The Mallet of Loving Correction: Selected Writings from Whatever, 2008-2012

(Whatever #2)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  310 ratings  ·  40 reviews
“In a very real sense, Whatever is my life’s work; it’s fifteen years (so far) of me thinking about what’s going on in my life and in my world.”—John Scalzi

What sort of idiot spends fifteen years writing a blog? New York Times Bestselling author John Scalzi is that sort of idiot. And in those fifteen years the blog he’s written, called Whatever, has won awards, had its en
Hardcover, 488 pages
Published September 13th 2013 by Subterranean Press (first published September 12th 2013)
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Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Winner of the coveted 2013 award for: Best-book-I-read-while-sitting-on-the-Toilet.

Seriously though, it's a great collection of thoughtful essays on marvelously diverse topics. My only regret is that the book format has forced them to leave out the comments and discussions that happen on Scalzi's blog. As that is a bizarre oasis of sanity and rational discourse on the internet.

The short essays here are, in turn, witty, funny, clever, thought-provoking, snarky, and warm hearted. Or some combinat
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found myself deeply troubled by Scalzi’s lack of narrative structure. While the date of each chapter was clearly noted, the plot was nearly impossible to follow. Scalzi, genius that he is, apparently wrote all the chapters and then rearranged them them into, of all things, alphabetical order. I assume this was an editing error. So to give Scalzi a fair review, I re-read the entire book in chronological order. Ugh, even more of a mess. There was bright cheery optimism right at the beginning, an ...more
Alex Sarll
John Scalzi is quite a good writer; I've read five of his novels, of which two were very good and the rest were all entertaining enough. He also seems to be quite a good person; as he notes himself, in a lot of places and times he would count as a compassionate centre-right type, and it's only the lunacy of the present US political climate which has seen him held up as some kind of liberal avatar. Still, he is all in favour of equal rights regardless of race, gender, know, the ba ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, essays, nonfiction
At this point, I’ve read far more of Scalzi’s blog posts than his fiction. His first blog post collection, Your Hate Mail will be Graded, was the first thing I ever read by him. I don’t remember why my path to Scalzi looks like this, but after reading this more recent collection, I’m putting him on my list of Favorite People I Don’t Actually Know.
Not all the posts are equally interesting to me personally—it’s a long book—but I enjoyed his writing throughout, even in the posts that were timely b
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I've read any of Scalzi's books/writing. It's funny that I was introduced to his work through his blog around a decade back and remember some of the entries in this selection. I don't think I was ever devout enough to read all the posts of his blog but lurked enough to enjoy a lot of it. I can say the same for several entries in this book. Scalzi's style is engaging, opinionated, sharp and topical. It was interesting to walk through the years leading up to the first Obama ...more
Colin Forbes
I wrote a review then managed to lose it when trying to sort out duplicate editions on Goodreads ...
Catherine Siemann
Oct 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Science fiction author John Scalzi is a popular blogger; dipping into his back posts is often entertaining. However, reading the political posts centering around the 2008 and 2012 elections, and key moments in Obama's presidency, seem almost impossibly distant with the 2016 election shortly upon us.
Karen A. Wyle
Sep 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I first encountered John Scalzi's writing, and his blog Whatever, when he published a brilliantly scathing, incisive, laugh-until-you-choke-hilarious critique of the contracts being offered to authors by several Random House imprints. I immediately started tracking down Scalzi's science fiction, because (a) I read a lot of science fiction, and (b) I figured that anything else this fellow wrote would probably be worth reading. I also started following Whatever, as well as Scalzi's Twitter feed. A ...more
Artur Nowrot
So it looks like my review was eaten by the ever-hungry denizens of the Inter-Internet, the Place Between Internets, the Void Between Bits. Here’s the concise version:

1. my impression of the author, after reading his book and having recently started following his blog on, well, his blog: smart, funny, thoughtful, critical, considerate.

2. what I liked about this book: his perspective on life and other stuff (including, but not limited to: love, politics, being considerate of other people, life ad
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoy John Scalzi's blog tremendously, and this covers select entries from 2008 - 2012, before I was a regular reader. Scalzi's posts are well thought out, informative, insightful, touching, and hilarious; often all at the same time. I only have two minor quibbles, which are as follows.

For a collection called "The Mallet of Loving Correction", which is Scalzi's term for when he "mallets" unruly comments out of existence, I thought there might be more of a focus on the comments themselves. Show
Jul 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
I bought this a few months ago as part of a Humble ebook Bundle.
Full disclosure: I only read a few of these essays (blog posts) so I cannot comment on the book in its entirety. What I read though I strongly disliked. Mr Scalzi may think he is amusing but insulting everyone who doesn't share his particular views or brand of politics, especially in the manner in which he does it seems in quite poor taste.

Over the last few years I've grown to appreciate the different perspectives or moral axes peo
Fantasy Literature
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Mallet of Loving Correction is a second collection of blog postings from John Scalzi’s well-known blog, the Whatever. Scalzi’s previous collection, Your Hate Mail will be Graded, won a Hugo.

Before I comment on the content of the “Mallet”, I just want to say that in addition to his Hugos and his Nebulas and countless other awards, Scalzi should win some kind of prize just for his industriousness. He publishes several works of prose, both fiction and non-fiction, a year; he assertively markets
Nov 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Much of this book I read in the original blog posts on Whatever, but they are just as entertaining the second time. Scalzi's collection runs the gamut from political observations (especially about the 2012 election) to his now-infamous 'Straight White Males are the lowest Difficulty Setting' essay, which is a remarkably strong metaphor, even if we straight white males don't want to admit it. The writing is very informal and friendly, and there are lots of nuggets spread throughout. It's in bite ...more
Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Readers of John Scalzi's Whatever blog will be well familiar with the themes and topics covered in this book. Indeed, the essays that comprise the book were pulled from thousands of blog posts written by Scalzi over the years and collected here with such annotations and context as required.

Having said that, reading this book in 2015 was one part re-visiting fun, engaging essays I had read some years before, and one part skimming over half-remembered political scandals and election cycles that, f
Ryk Stanton
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this pretty much. I haven't been a big fan of Scalzi although I read a few of his books and liked them well enough. I'll even read more. But so far he has not made me feel I needed to wait eagerly for his next book to come out.

This book nudged me closer to being a fan. It's an assemblage of posts he made to his blog, which apparently is/was called "Whatever." Funny, snarky stiff, well worth the time to read. I few passages worth highlighting and one or two articles worth taking wholesa
Nov 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another collection of Whatever posts, oddly enough alphabetical by title rather than by subject or chronology. Given that a lot of the political posts got selected, this gets a touch confusing. This "Greatest Hits" format is a fun way to revisit the blog, and it's almost better without the temptation to page through the comments, but there's little new material or commentary. I don't actually chase these books down; they come along in bundles with other things. I think I now own this twice and Y ...more
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I first became aware of John Scalzi when his name came up a number of years back in the foofraw over the woman selling her Star Wars fanfic on Amazon. I looked him up, found his blog, which led to his fiction, and have been a fan ever since.

THE MALLET OF LOVING CORRECTION collects writings from his blog. He covers a wide range of topics from writing, his and others, politics, religion, life, family, and any number of other topics. Sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, never boring.

Jonathan Appleton
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
I love John Scalzi whether it be fiction or nonfiction. I like his blog, but often miss entries due to my own attention span. This is the second collection of his blog posts, and it was great to catch up. I liked "Your Hate Mail Will be Graded" a bit better, but you just can't go wrong here. When a person's view of life is so similar to your own and they can put it into language that is poignant, persuasive and damn funny what more can you want.
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
If I had to choose between Mallet of Loving Correction and Your Hate Mail Will be Graded, I'd go with Hate Mail every time. That is not to say this isn't a delightful collection of some of Scalzi's best blog entries, but I found myself skimming several of the election-focused articles, of which there were many.

Totally worth the price as an ebook, majorly worth it for a library check-out.
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
As an anthology of Scalzi's prior blog posts, this made a highly enjoyable read (especially since I hadn't religiously read the posts in the past).

Having said that, the decision to structure the entries in alphabetical order made for an odd reading process - it was an interesting experience and I can see why he wouldn't want to go chronologically, but I do wish there was an attempt for a more thematic structure.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
If you enjoy Scalzi's fiction works and particularly if you follow his blog, you will enjoy this book. Otherwise it probably won't interest you. The entries about presidential elections were interesting from a historical point of view, but my favorite parts were the entries about Scalzi honing his writing technique.

Sometimes I have to work to get into Scalzi's writing "voice" in his novels because it's a little too chummy and casual. That voice works great for the blog entries, though.
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is the second selection of posts from Scalzi's blog that was in the Subterranean Scalzi Super Bundle, the other one being "You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing". I've enjoyed that one (even though I'm far from the target audience).

This, however, gave me nothing. Most of it was on topics, events or people I know nothing about, and I don't care. In the end I've skipped most of it.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f
Reading this can be somewhat depressing, but just with the bits talking about elections and Obama, and how the Democrats have the vote from then on because of demographic changes.

Nonetheless, I like reading Scalzi's blog, so I like this book, too.

I actually haven't read his fiction yet, even though I do have his Redshirts...
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This arrived just this afternoon, since then I've been flitting through it - a story here, a story there. It's one of those books that I will keep coming back to until I realise I have in fact read it completely. At that point I will convince myself otherwise & promptly start re-reading it. Why? Honestly, why not?! It's much easier than scrolling through Whatever :)
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I think it's a little more fun to read these on the Whatever blog, because then you get the comments, too, but I really enjoyed this book. I had it on my Kindle app on my iPod, so when I was stuck in line or just had a few minutes free, I could read one or two entries. I think Scalzi is a really funny, intelligent, interesting person, and that all comes through in this book.
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Scalzi, as always, is funny thoughtful, thought provoking, and says some of the things I think better than I do. I'd really recommend him. Great for commute-reading or toilet reading when you're not able to invest a lot of time, as these are all blog posts and not a concise book in the traditional sense. Utterly worth reading.
Ralyn Longs
Does what it says on the tin - blog entries with an even mix of politics, advice, writing and social commentary. Having not read Scalzi's blog, I found it an interesting view into his thoughts, and the nice, clever writing doesn't hurt. Note that it has blog entries from 2008-12 so sometimes feels like history already.
Miramira Endevall
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-e-book
I've already read most of what's collected here because I've been following Scalzi's blog for a number of years, but there were some nice surprises. My favorite was the article he wrote for he and Krissy's 15th/16th/17th anniversary festival. It was even something that I was able to share with my parents, and I think they'll be sharing it with their church.
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-very-good
This is the sort of book you wish everyone would read and take to heart. I fear, of course, that the people you really wish would read it won't, and the people who already agree with his sensible worldview are just enjoying the echochamber. Regardless, it was still quite satisfying to read, and I'll definitely recommend it whether or not I think you need to read it (because you do).
Ahmet A. Sabancı
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love reading Scalzi's Whatever, one of my favourite blogs. And as a collection of the blog, I liked this book too. It includes some of my favourite posts of John's on writing, science fiction and geek culture and some of those which doesn't really fall into my interest circles.

But it was definitely a good read and will keep it on my Kindle's drive to come back time to time.
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John Scalzi, having declared his absolute boredom with biographies, disappeared in a puff of glitter and lilac scent.

(If you want to contact John, using the mail function here is a really bad way to do it. Go to his site and use the contact information you find there.)

Other books in the series

Whatever (2 books)
  • Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008

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