Glenn’s review of Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Jaidee (new)

Jaidee Hi Glenn....I find the way people allocate stars very interesting....If I read your review without seeing your rating I would have guessed that this was a three star read....shows how subjective rating scales are huh?


message 2: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Sumi Jaidee wrote: "Hi Glenn....I find the way people allocate stars very interesting....If I read your review without seeing your rating I would have guessed that this was a three star read....shows how subjective ra..."

You know, you're right! At work, I have an editor who will say, "This sounds like 3, not 4," and I'll either add things to make it sound more positive or I'll change the rating. There's so much research and information in here, and it's important, but kinda exhaustive. And the first third and epilogue are excellent. A classic 3.5?


message 3: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Do you find yourself rating differently based on content? Perhaps judging fiction differently from non-fiction, or taking into account a novel's "classic" standing? I know I do. Some books just resonate with me more based on subject matter, or I may expect more out of a certain author than another. A three star Hardy novel might be a four star book by a more *ahem* popular fiction writer. For example, reading Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter books may bring me lots of joy and I may get swept into the swash buckling adventure, so they get four stars, but then I read a book by Hardy and think, "Man, he can write better than this!" and therefore there is a discrepancy between the ratings.

Maybe that's not fair, or a good way to review? Thoughts?


message 4: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Sumi Joseph: Agree with all your points. I always appreciate when a reviewer shows s/he knows an author's other work and how the current one compares. Surely familiarity with a subject, author or genre helps - but can also make one pickier. I also think good writing is good writing and can be found anywhere.

Those things aside, I often thing of three things: What is the book trying to do? How well does it do it? Was it worth doing?

There are also books - or other pieces of art - that take time to work their way into your memory. They stay with you. That makes instant ratings and reviews sometimes difficult.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I love this review...I like how you mention the depth of it---so many faces involved which explains why it definitely would not be a quick read. I like when people mention the pace of how they read the book. Helps me to figure when I could fit this book in. Such an interesting modern subject as well. Probably made you more knowledgeable than what the news portrayed.


message 6: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Sumi @Tbrando: Thanks! Yes, this was so heavily researched that I learned a lot. It would actually make a good non-fiction miniseries. For me, pace is a big part of a book's appeal. And non-fiction has a different rhythm to it than fiction.


message 7: by Peter (new)

Peter Boyle Thanks for your insightful review, Glenn. I had been holding off on this one seeing as it is quite a long book - I think I will need to set aside a lot of time if I do get around to it.


message 8: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Sumi Peter: curious to see what you think. But yes, the book's pace, especially after the gripping first section, can be slow.


message 9: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Quann I read this one a few years back and quite enjoyed it, though I agree with your assessment of the book's pace.


message 10: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Sumi Thanks, Matthew. Reading this I did feel grateful about Canada's healthcare system. What a mess of red tape and disorganization.


message 11: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Quann @Glenn, absolutely! I think working in the American healthcare system would present a very different set of challenges than those you find in Canada.


message 12: by Lizzy (new)

Lizzy Loved your review, Glenn! Seems very interesting story, however I would imagine not easy to read. I might try it later, however I have a long list of books that are disputing my spare time. :)


message 13: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Sumi @Lizzy: Thanks! I hear you. So many books to read. It will still be there when you're ready! I try not to plan what to read too far in advance, just see how I feel and what draws me.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Another great review, Glenn. In my working life I was a nurse, so I really felt as you did--what would I do in this situation. I was also a hospice nurse for many years, and I couldn't help thinking what a horrible way for these people to die.

On another note, I just recently decided to stop planning my reading so much, to leave more room for impulse and serendipity. I think my reading is more meaningful that way. :)


message 15: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Sumi @Terri: Thanks for your perspective. I can't imagine being in that situation, and I think the author did an incredible job piecing together all the elements. I didn't know you were a hospice nurse. I trust you've read Atul Gawande's Being Mortal? I still haven't reviewed it on here, but it deeply affected me and made me think of some serious issues.

And good for you for mixing up the way you read! Isn't it fascinating where you end up once you allow for impulse and serendipity? There really is nothing like "the right book at the right time," and I think we need to be open in our choices. Life is too regimented as it is; reading should be enjoyable - why limit oneself?!


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Glenn, I was very impressed with Being Mortal. I sent a copy to my son, and we've had discussions with him on quality of life issues at the end of life. The last job I had as a nurse was as Director of Nursing in a dementia-specific long-term care facility. So often we dealt with the line between encouraging independence in relation to risks ensued. So many children just want mom and dad to be "safe." This can lead to some really bad decisions.

And Glenn, I love your philosophy of reading. Why limit oneself, indeed?!


message 17: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Sumi Terri: very wise thoughts about Being Mortal and end of life issues. I should pick the book up again and finally write down what I think. 5 star books are often difficult to describe. It's often easier to comment on what DOESN'T work.


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