The Extra Cool Group! (of people Michael is experimenting on) discussion

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Off-Topic, but Goodreads-related > Are there any favorite books that you avoid reviewing?

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message 1: by Mariel (new)

Mariel (fuchsiagroan) That's most books, for me. The books you love too much and you know you'll never be able to get it right. Or someone else did it so much better and you're scared off trying yourself.


message 2: by Nancy (last edited Dec 02, 2010 01:26PM) (new)

Nancy I read Christ in Concrete after reading my friend Evan's review and after a few attempts to write a review, my words always seemed inadequate.


message 3: by Brainycat (new)

Brainycat Maybe I'm entirely missing the question, but I just can't fathom being intimidated by a book. I can imagine not wanting to read a book for a whole host of reasons including but not limited to: I can't read the language, uninteresting subject matter, unable to procure a copy, etc. But I think the only way I'd be scared of a book is if it were a hardback travelling towards my body with substantial velocity.

As for posting a review... Goodreads has about as much to do with my self-esteem as the weather in Auckland, NZ. I'm going to write the reviews I like to read, and if someone finds it helpful or if someone gets their knickers knotted up, I'm still going to keep adding content to the community.


message 4: by Mariel (new)

Mariel (fuchsiagroan) I guess it's just me. I feel stressed out when I can't get words right. I have trouble making sense (couldn't even phrase this thread correctly!). If it something that really means something to me the harder it is to say. Not because of what anyone else takes from it, but because I feel like *I'm* not getting it.


message 5: by Brainycat (new)

Brainycat I find the process of writing helps clarify my feelings. I learned that in rehab, so YMMV.

I think the biggest reason I'm disappointed in my review of Altered Carbon is because I wrote it too soon after I finished the book. I was all twitterpated over it's awesomeness and didn't give my thoughts enough time to distill into coherent lines of reasoning.


message 6: by Stacey (new)

Stacey (staceyhh) | 11 comments Sometimes, yes. If the book created a storm of thoughts and feelings, and I feel as though I can't articulate those thoughts well, I'll hold off on reviewing. Mostly I review so I remember the book. I have the memory of a fruitfly, so if I write out a few of my observations, I'll probably remember reading the book. If I get to the end of the book and can't recall reading it, well, that's intimidating too. ;-)


message 7: by Mariel (new)

Mariel (fuchsiagroan) I did gravity's rainbow (ahem that's putting it generously) because I made myself do it simply because I was afraid to do it. Mariel, you shouldn't have.

I liked the episode of Undeclared when townie Will Ferrell writes papers for the college kids. One he does is The Brothers Karamazov. I'm only a little ashamed to say it gave me ideas for my own school paper. I owe Will Ferrell twenty bucks.


message 8: by Michael, Sonic the Hegemon (new)

Michael | 183 comments Mod
The Brothers Karamazov is like that with me. I have a very flimsy review of it, which kind of embarrasses me, since there is so much going on in it.

That's the same book I'm too intimidated to try really reviewing! I've just left my review as, "This is my favorite book ever." Short, honest, not especially creative. But, it's all I can say. If I say any more, I'll leave out too much.


message 9: by Paul (last edited Dec 02, 2010 03:26PM) (new)

Paul Bryant yes, I noticed that I had hardly reviewed any of my FIVE STAR books - because I was intimidated. So I'm gradually plucking up the nerve to review em all. E.g. I'm unintimidating myself with my long long review of Ulysses (ongoing).


message 10: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 199 comments i use to feel that way a lot, now I tend to be fine with reviewing almost anything. there are books I'm too intimidated to read.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Too intimidated to read a book? Which ones and why?

As for the original question: I feel the exact same as Mariel.


message 12: by Mariel (new)

Mariel (fuchsiagroan) I'm intimidated to read Ulysses. That probably means I have to read it now (weird mental thing). I'm afraid to read him and also curious after twice being (insulted?) with density comparisons to Joyce.


message 13: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 199 comments Ala wrote: "Too intimidated to read a book? Which ones and why?

As for the original question: I feel the exact same as Mariel."


have you read finnegans wake? I have read the first chapter 15 times, then I always get scared.

there is a factor for me of authors my friends love that I don't like that is intimidating. reading more jonathan coe or salinger ever would be very tough for me because I would worry about judgment and head shaking.

There are some philosophers who intimidate me because they like to pretend normal philosophy students know quantum mechanics.

sometimes I'm terrified a book will be bad. I love chuck palahniuk and I have signed copies of rant and snuff, but I can't bring myself to read them because I worry my entire idea of him will crumble if they are bad.


message 14: by Mariel (new)

Mariel (fuchsiagroan) Oh I do that too. I have had an intense phobia of reading about prison because my mind pictures what I read too vividly. This month I read three prison stories back to back and was okay, for some reason... I baby myself with moods, for what might be too depressing at any given time.

I got the four "pack" of Joyce on the kindle to read. Which one is best to start with? If I start with Ulysses I can use Paul's review as a decoder ring.

I get that about friend pressure. Not because I worry what they'll think. It's more that I worry that my own brain is much slower and I don't get stuff.


message 15: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 199 comments I love ulysses, I think that you shouldn't really worry about decoding it. I used one of those annotated books for the first half, I enjoyed it more once I stopped. But it is a book where you kind of have to accept that you aren't going to know whatever is going on.

dubliners and portrait of an artist are both suppose to be easier.

basically remember joyce is funny, and the entire book is sex jokes, you'll be fine.


message 16: by Mariel (new)

Mariel (fuchsiagroan) Oh I can do sex jokes and not knowing what is going on. That's me all the time. (No wonder I was compared to him then.)

I'll read that for my December read when I'm done with my Herzog. Thanks!


message 17: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 199 comments no worries. it's one of my favorite books.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Jasmine wrote: "have you read finnegans wake? I have read the first chapter 15 times..."

I've actually never bothered to read most of the 'classics'. Not that I'm intimidated by them, just that they don't interest me at this point.

there is a factor for me of authors my friends love that I don't like that is intimidating. reading more jonathan coe or salinger ever would be very tough for me because I would worry about judgment and head shaking.

Don't let someone else's opinions override your own to the point you won't even formulate one. If my friends(imaginary, of course) gave me hell for not liking something as much, or at all, I'd just shrug it off and move on. To each their own and all that.

There are some philosophers who intimidate me because they like to pretend normal philosophy students know quantum mechanics.
I got nada here. I don't usually read much(any) philosophy. But if I did, and some strange/unknown concept came up, I'd guess it'd be time to break out the old wikipedia and try and figure out at least a basic understanding. Just enough to continue on.

sometimes I'm terrified a book will be bad. I love chuck palahniuk and I have signed copies of rant and snuff, but I can't bring myself to read them because I worry my entire idea of him will crumble if they are bad.
Just chalk it up to everyone having an off day now and then?



Hope this doesn't come off as assholish or preachy, I just wanted to reply thoroughly since you took the time to reply to me :)


message 19: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 199 comments Don't let someone else's opinions override your own to the point you won't even formulate one. If my friends(imaginary, of course) gave me hell for not liking something as much, or at all, I'd just shrug it off and move on. To each their own and all that.

I don't let them inform my opinion, I just refuse to read more books by those people.


message 20: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Joyce :
Dubliners - bitter short stories - easy reading but depressing
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man : autobiography up to age 20, not a difficult book but also quite depressing
Ulysses : a comic masterpiece, but very difficult. Not too hard if you understand a couple of techniques (stream of consciousness, different styles, etc)
Finnegans Wake : IMPOSSIBLE to read, and if anyone did read it through I'd have to wonder why.


message 21: by David (new)

David (david_giltinan) | 13 comments It's not so much that I'm intimidated, but I find it impossible to review poetry. All I know is whether or not I like it, but I have no sense at all of what would be meaningful information for anyone else. I mean, what does one say - "some tasty rhymes", "overuse of vegetable metaphors", "judicious choice of poem lengths makes this ideal for reading on the bus". I don't really feel qualified to comment on technical aspects, and if I were to try to do so, I'd feel like one of those noxious people who refer to wine as being "sprightly".

Oddly enough, I feel perfectly happy reviewing poetry in translation. But that's because the quality of the translation gives me something to focus on.


message 22: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy (jimmylorunning) | 133 comments Only W.G. Sebald books.


message 23: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) I don't do reviews as if they're some sort of artwork, so I've never been intimidated by the thought of reviewing a book. I'm reviewing them for my friends here & trying to give them reasons why I rated it the way I did. If it helps them, great. If not, they can ask for clarification or ignore the review.


message 24: by Michael (new)

Michael I'm too intimidated to review most books because I don't think I'll do a good job. I don't have a problem with movie reviews or sharing opinions, I just don't think I'll be able to get book reviews right because I'll miss themes or whatever.


message 25: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant But we aren't examiners! we're book fans. So just rant away about what you thought, why it was such drivel, how you'd like to film it with a different ending, etc etc


message 26: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 231 comments exactly!


message 27: by Jessica (last edited Dec 04, 2010 06:42AM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 231 comments if I feel intimidated by a book when I think of reviewing it, it's only because there have already been so many excellent reviews written by folks on GR: people like D.Pow, brian g., DFJ (the Other Jessica), Kowalski.

For some reason the novel 2666 by Bolano comes to mind as one I might be intimidated to review, but I haven't even read it yet, and I know Kowalski will not go near it.


message 28: by Scribble (last edited Dec 03, 2010 08:23AM) (new)

Scribble Orca (scribbleorca) | 123 comments Yes, there are books I'm too intimidated to review. The ones I didn't like and stopped reading. Or because I can't recall enough of the book to say anything other than complete codswallop.


message 29: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 231 comments but everyone loves a good 'hater' review!


message 30: by Jimmy (new)

Jimmy (jimmylorunning) | 133 comments Life is too short.

Review everything once.


message 31: by Scribble (new)

Scribble Orca (scribbleorca) | 123 comments Jessica wrote: "but everyone loves a good 'hater' review!"

You're right, Jessica. But I just can't be a***d to finish reading the b*****s.

I suppose I could make an exception. It would depend on how much pre-liking I'd accummulate. You know, in anticipation of the sheer venom and antipathy.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) I'm trying to figure out what I'll say in my review of the book I'm reading now. So, I am at times. Also if I am reviewing a book I liked but many people hated or vice versa. Sometimes it's hard because you feel like you put yourself out there for ridicule if you have personal feelings that affect why you felt a certain way about a book, and the crowd sees differently.


message 33: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn (seeford) | 5 comments To the original question: Nope.

I don't write my reviews for anyone but myself (is that too selfish?) If I feel like saying something about a book, I write it. I don't worry about if I'm writing 'enough', covering all the angles, or if it's a good enough analysis - I had enough of that writing papers in college. (Now if I ever get to go to grad school, that might change.) Approaching a review like a book report or term paper doesn't appeal to me, it sounds too much like work - I read to enjoy myself, making it into work takes that fun away.

Essentially what it is is that I'm a reader at heart - I see many people (on GR anyways) who want to be writers - however, I have absolutely no desire to write - books, reviews, whatever. Many of my books have only ratings for that reason.


message 34: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 199 comments I don't write my reviews for anyone but myself (is that too selfish?) If I feel like saying something about a book, I write it.

not at all I'm like that.

although I noticed when I wrote a recent review of foer's book that it wasfor myself in retaliation against all the negative things I thought people were going to say about thebook.


message 35: by Michael (new)

Michael Paul wrote: "But we aren't examiners! we're book fans. So just rant away about what you thought, why it was such drivel, how you'd like to film it with a different ending, etc etc"

You're right, Paul. Thanks. And to Jessica in message 27, too. I've done a few reviews and they're pretty much just general thoughts as opposed to what I'd consider a "review". I guess there's nothing stopping me from changing my definition of "review" though...


message 36: by Bill (new)

Bill (kernos) | 41 comments I'm not sure 'intimidated' is the right word, but there are some books I have not reviewed yet, because I cannot put into words how I feel. A couple of examples are The Catch Trap by Marion Zimmer Bradley and At Swim Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill


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