Ted's Reviews > 2015 on Goodreads

2015 on Goodreads by Various
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So here sits a sorry-ass old white man on Jan 6 trying to ”review” his sad 2015 on Goodreads. He knows there should be a deadline for this, probably before the New Year, and certainly before the date on which he writes. but Goodreads is lax on deadlines, if not on certain other things he thinks.

Yes, he’s had a sad year all right. Only finished a couple dozen books. Grade C at best. At least it’s not F … F … F .. F F F but not A + + + + + + + + either https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8L86...

Still he’s downcast & grumpy. But if there’s one thing this anal, obsessive ancient does have it’s data. So he sighs heavily and begins, not very originally …

January.

But then a thought. Perhaps, since writing reviews has been a major drain on his reading time, this should be mentioned too. Somewhat original. No, not very. So …

January New Years Day, a review of 2014 on Goodreads (six days ahead of his current effort). And exactly a year earlier than tonight, a review of a Klimt Poster Book. Three good books completed in the month, and all three reviewed. His spirits rise slightly at the memory. Maybe his best month of the year?
The Best Writing on Mathematics, 2012
The Leaning Girl
In Focus: Julia Margaret Cameron
And Gustav Klimt: A Poster Book

February He finishes two books, two decent reviews, one of a book read long years ago.
At Lady Molly’s
As You Like It

March He finishes two more books, which he thinks are excellent; reviews one, plus an odd review.
The End of Night
The Fourth Pig (which he thought the second best fiction of the year)
(1000 Ways to Win Monopoly)

Midnight passed an hour ago. We’ll watch this pathetic, old odd fellow struggle on, having missed his own self-imposed deadline.

April He finished two books, one only “sort of”, and only to support a review of it (which wasn’t completed until the next month. The only “book” actually read and reviewed in this month was the comic Asterix the Gaul. But he wrote 15 other reviews! These had been read so long ago he couldn’t even make a guess as to when; or only partially read, or were books that he’d used mostly as reference books, or even for books that he’d never really read much of at all. All in all a pretty pathetic exercise, vainly trying to leave a trail of crumbs.

May Four books finished (all rated 5), two of them reviewed. Fellini’s Satryicon from last month reviewed. Several other reviews of books from the past.
Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (which made this weepy old man choke up repeatedly)
My Antonia, which affected him almost as much
The Spanish Labyrinth, which to his shame he has not yet reviewed, even though he judged it to be the best non-fiction of 2015)
Break It Down by Lydia Davis

June The doldrums begin. One book finished, one book (from May) reviewed.
The Blind Assassin

July One more book finished, two reviews.
All’s Well That Ends Well

August A flurry of activity, four books being finished.
The World As I Found It (5, reviewed). His choice of best fiction of 2015.
Dawn, by Elie Wiesel (4,reviewed). The review must have been pretty worthless, he realized. Hardly anyone voted for it.
Pebble Chance (5, not reviewed until December)
Young Lonigan (5, reviewed)
He also reviewed All’s Well That Ends Well, from July.

September Finished three books.
Tragic Sense of Life (4, never reviewed, to his discomfort)
King Suckerman (5, reviewed with playlists). He’s a sucker for the man who wrote it, and has read the book three or perhaps more times.
Almost No Memory, Lydia Davis. (5, reviewed next month)
Also rewrote into a real review his review of Ornament of the World, read four years previously. (5)

With three months to go in 2015, things now took a strange and discouraging turn for this fool.

October None of the 10-12 books he was reading got finished. All he did was write two reviews, one for the Davis book and one for The Periodic Table (4). This was not much more than a reference to a New Yorker article (another of his weak points).

A slow-motion train wreck now ensued

November The only books opened this month were books previously read, to support reviews. Our aging hero made a lame attempt to see if he could join the list of “most popular reviewers”. We can only shake our heads sadly at this. Some of the reviews were perhaps worthwhile (Inventing the Middle Ages, for example). One of them was of a book he had been trying to review for over a year (Symbiotic Planet). As great as he felt to finally get this book reviewed, he came to realize that the review itself was garbage. The amount of time spent to generate these paltry seven reviews was pitifully excessive.

And now the year ends, with a weird series of events.

December
First he finished Shakespeare’s King John, but has yet to review it, or even to rate it.
Then he Previewed Lost Region, nothing but a link to his favorite reviewer’s review.
Finally, to cap off the disaster, he added a book (White Hotel) as “read” which he’s never held in his hand, to get credit for finishing a different book of the same length which he was not free to name. At least he had the sense to not rate White Hotel.

He also finally did a review of Pebble Chance, read in August. Most unfortunately, the review was another disaster, completely failing to explain why this book was one of the best reads of 2015, and why it has a rating of almost 4.5 on Goodreads.

Thus 2015, a year which began with promise, ended with three months or more of dismal discouragement for this fellow.

And what will 2016 bring for him on Goodreads? He hopes a revival of his interest and dedication to reading, and de-emphasis on writing long-winded reviews requiring hours or days of painful and fruitless effort.

We wish him well. (At least, the author of this review does.) Let's not feel sorry for him. He has a good life, and is fortunate in so many ways that so many others in this world are not. If only he could read faster, write better, and remember more accurately, even he would cheer up.




. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Previous review: The Lost Region P-review
Random review: Blood from a Stone
Next review: Genius in Disguise Harold Ross of The New Yorker

Previous library review: 2014 on Goodreads
Next library review: 2016 on Goodreads
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 6, 2016 – Shelved
January 8, 2016 – Shelved as: memoirs
January 8, 2016 – Shelved as: reviews-liked

Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 new)

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message 1: by Fionnuala (last edited Jan 07, 2016 04:43AM) (new) - added it

Fionnuala If I could give an award for the bravest review of 2015 on Goodreads by Various, I'd give it to this one.
If I could give an award for the most original review of 2015 on Goodreads by Various, I'd give it to this one.
If I could give an award for the most most entertaining review of 2015 on Goodreads by Various, I'd give it to this one.

Come to think of it, I can give awards for reviews of 2015 on Goodreads by Various - so here goes:

The award for top review in all the categories listed goes to Ted's review!



message 2: by Dolors (new)

Dolors Well Ted, tell the author of this review that I think he's done far better than an F... I believe the writer is quite demanding with himself for what he calls his long-winded reviews and reading pace has nothing to envy to his GR peers! Also, locating Cather's novel among the titles covered in 2015 brought back a very pleasant exchange on her novels with the aforesaid reviewer, so I hope he keeps sharing his readings and his thoughts with us for many years to come! ;P


message 3: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Fionnuala wrote: "If I could give an award for the bravest review of 2015 on Goodreads by Various, I'd give it to this one.
If I could give an award for the most original review of [bookcover:2015 on Goodr..."


Fionnuala, that comment is quite wonderful. Thank you very much.


message 4: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Dolors wrote: "Well Ted, tell the author of this review that I think he's done far better than an F... I believe the writer is quite demanding with himself for what he calls his long-winded reviews and reading pa..."

Thanks so much Dolors. Yes, Cather's book was a highlight for this fellow last year, and he may have got lucky and written a nice review. At any rate I recall a pretty picture, and they are always welcome. 8)


message 5: by Manny (last edited Jan 07, 2016 12:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Manny This has feelgood Hollywood movie written all over it (though I haven't quite guessed the twist). Ted, don't let them talk you into being played by Robert De Niro.


Seemita If only my year was this dismal... *sigh*


message 7: by Caroline (last edited Jan 07, 2016 02:06AM) (new)

Caroline What a wonderful review. In this household it generated much laughter, which is desperately needed on this wet and chilly January morning!

You underestimate your talents dreadfully, but so very funnily....

I loved all your complaints about the distractions and wrongdoings in your life - I share so many of them. Unlike you though I love my long (and in my case frequently boring) reviews. After years of books slipping out of my memory like buttered spaghetti, I now have these wonderful concrete reminders of what it is I have read. Oh hooray hooray!

I look forward enormously to seeing your books/reviews for 2016, and wish you a very happy new year.


Nandakishore Varma Is the author of this review anyway related to Marvin? I'm deep into depression after reading it...


message 9: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes Live this, Ted. Your suffering was worth it, as I have read and appreciated many of these year end reviews, but yours is the best, most original and funniest. I second Fiona ' s decision and applaud the awarding of it.


message 10: by Diane (new)

Diane Barnes Sorry Fionnuala, auto-correct got me.


message 11: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Manny wrote: "This has feelgood Hollywood movie written all over it (though I haven't quite guessed the twist). Ted, don't let them talk you into being played by Robert De Niro."

Why not? (He's already called.)


message 12: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Seemita wrote: "If only my year was this dismal... *sigh*"

Well, you may have one sometime Seemita! 8)


message 13: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Caroline wrote: "What a wonderful review. In this household it generated much laughter, which is desperately needed on this wet and chilly January morning!

You underestimate your talents dreadfully, but so very fu..."


Caroline, that's the best (perhaps only) good thing about the time spent on these reviews, when one rereads them they bring back that take on the book (at least) which one struggled to describe. So glad you found the review enjoyable.


message 14: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Nandakishore wrote: "Is the author of this review anyway related to Marvin? I'm deep into depression after reading it..."

There could be a connection, Nandakishore. I might find out more sometime if I can get to reading Hitchhiker's, which waits patiently on a basement shelf.


message 15: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Diane wrote: "Live this, Ted. Your suffering was worth it, as I have read and appreciated many of these year end reviews, but yours is the best, most original and funniest. I second Fiona ' s decision and applau..."

Thanks so much, Diane. I'm surprised a bit (more than a bit) at all these compliments, but should add that I did start writing last night under the influence of Leslie Jones, whom I was introduced to in a New Yorker article early in the evening. I was definitely in thrall of a grin-and-bear-it attitude. I'm going to try to catch her on SNL, which I haven't watched in ages.


message 16: by Teresa (new)

Teresa As one of the 'likers' of Ted's review of Wiesel's "Dawn", I feel I have the right to wonder out loud about the mysterious book "he was not free to name". I hope Ted is not being held hostage by someone who is restricting his reviews -- now that would be a tragedy.


message 17: by Ted (last edited Jan 07, 2016 12:25PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Teresa wrote: "As one of the 'likers' of Ted's review of Wiesel's "Dawn", I feel I have the right to wonder out loud about the mysterious book "he was not free to name". I hope Ted is not being held hostage by so..."

No hostage, Teresa. It's a book written by a friend who does not want it publicized (yet, at any rate).


message 18: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Ted wrote: "It's a book written by a friend who does not want it publicized (yet, at any rate)."

The one scenario I hadn't thought of! And quite understandable.


message 19: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn Elliott Oh, Ted. This is so Eeyore-ish. I could see you drooping in a corner with your head hanging down. Poor Ted. I am, after all, much the same age and don't want to hear all these references to 'old'!
I always enjoy your reviews and feel much better about not having done my 2015 review yet, and having several books stuck with paper slips waiting by my computer for me to review.


message 20: by Roy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Roy Lotz Ted wrote a fantastic review of the year! I congratulate Ted.

Jus curious. Has Ted read South From Granada. I ask because I just ordered it, and Ted liked the author's other book, The Spanish Labyrinth.


message 21: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Lyn wrote: "Oh, Ted. This is so Eeyore-ish. I could see you drooping in a corner with your head hanging down. Poor Ted. I am, after all, much the same age and don't want to hear all these references to 'old'! ..."

Your comment is funny, Lyn, I enjoyed it. Sorry about the references to age. I'm afraid since turning 70 I have begun to feel that a milestone has been passed which makes me uneasy sometimes. But of course it's better to pass that milestone than not reach it, so it's all in the perception. ;)


message 22: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Ted wrote: "Teresa wrote: "As one of the 'likers' of Ted's review of Wiesel's "Dawn", I feel I have the right to wonder out loud about the mysterious book "he was not free to name". I hope Ted is not being hel..."

Glad to reassure you, Teresa!


message 23: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Lotz wrote: "Ted wrote a fantastic review of the year! I congratulate Ted.

Jus curious. Has Ted read South From Granada. I ask because I just ordered it, and Ted liked the author's other book, The Spanish Laby..."


Ted would very much like to read South From Granada, Lotz. I don't even have to ask him.

I'm sure it's a less "serious" book than Spanish Labyrinth, and will make very pleasurable reading, especially with your being in Spain. Awaiting your review later in 2016.


message 24: by Glenn (last edited Jan 07, 2016 04:06PM) (new)

Glenn Russell Thanks for sharing, Ted. I sense an autobiographical novel brewing. All the best for 2016!


message 25: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Glenn wrote: "Thanks for sharing, Ted. I sense an autobiographical novel brewing. All the best for 2016!"

Thanks Glenn - though I think your perceptions of my future writing might be on the optimistic end of the likelihood scale. Have a great year, will look forward to your wonderful reviews.


message 26: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn Elliott Ted wrote: "Lotz wrote: "Ted wrote a fantastic review of the year! I congratulate Ted.

Jus curious. Has Ted read South From Granada. I ask because I just ordered it, and Ted liked the author's other book, The..."


I re-read South From Granada this year and it's going be in my top 10 for the year -I have got that far with my looking back, just haven't written anything yet.


message 27: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Sabah wrote: "Ted, thank you! I love your recount of your reading year because through it all shines a lovely man who I simply adore! Your sense of humour, your reality check and your honesty above all else. So ..."

Thanks for such a warm, lovely comment, Sabah. Makes my day.8)


message 28: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Lyn wrote: "Ted wrote: "Lotz wrote: "Ted wrote a fantastic review of the year! I congratulate Ted.

Jus curious. Has Ted read South From Granada. I ask because I just ordered it, and Ted liked the author's oth..."


Lyn, I hope I see that review when you write it. I may order that book soon, I'm quite excited about it now that two people have mentioned it here.


message 29: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn Elliott Hi Ted, I reviewed it during the year and here is the link https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

It does make a difference when you're interested in a book, doesn't it?


Cheryl aahhh, love this! Laughing with this sorry-ass old white guy while saying, I hear ya, brother!
And if your best read of the year was The Pebble Chance: Feuilletons and Other Prose then I've got to check it out. Thanks, Ted


message 31: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Cheryl wrote: "aahhh, love this! Laughing with this sorry-ass old white guy while saying, I hear ya, brother!
And if your best read of the year was The Pebble Chance: Feuilletons and Other Prose t..."


Well that was the best non-fiction. The World As I Found It and The Fourth Pig the best fiction I think.

So glad you got a chuckle, Cheryl. 8)


Cecily What delightful self-deprecation. Doing this review relatively late must have made it hard to find an original angle (not that that's obligatory), but you have!


message 33: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Thanks Cecily! Actually I was sort of depressed, grasping at straws. The fact that I got the reaction I did surprised me, and brought me out of a first week funk. One never knows what life has around the corner I guess. This time it was definitely a ladder, not a chute, if you know what I mean. 8)


Cecily I'm happy you're turning the corner and going up the wall. I think. ;)


message 35: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Cecily wrote: "I'm happy you're turning the corner and going up the wall. I think. ;)"

Yup! ;)


message 36: by Ken (new)

Ken I keep thinking about WILD, being a former hiker of Katahdin and all.


message 37: by Ted (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ted Ken wrote: "I keep thinking about WILD, being a former hiker of Katahdin and all."

It was a good book. Katahdin is something else, from what I hear.


message 38: by Ken (new)

Ken Unfortunately, I didn't hike the entire AT, just the Green Trail through VT, parts of the NH, and, of course, the crown jewel at the end. College days. You know. About seven years ago....


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