Want to tell people what you think of their reviews?

KeskusteluBook reviewers

Liity LibraryThingin jäseneksi, niin voit kirjoittaa viestin.

Want to tell people what you think of their reviews?

Tämä viestiketju on "uinuva" —viimeisin viesti on vanhempi kuin 90 päivää. Ryhmä "virkoaa", kun lähetät vastauksen.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 22, 2012, 1:32pm

#1, jimroberts: ""If you feel you might like to comment on other peoples' reviews and don't mind hearing their comments on yours, please give the new group Reviews reviewed a try.

ETA: There are two groups devoted to discussing reviews, but with different approaches and aims (both admirable): Reviews reviewed and Review Discussions. Neither has had much activity recently. I think a lot of the comments below are referring to the second.

maaliskuu 10, 2012, 6:19pm

What happened to that group? It doesn't seem to have had any activity for several months.

maaliskuu 12, 2012, 3:14pm

It's always struggled to find/get/remember people to volunteer their reviews for comment. If you find a review from a member of the group and want to comment on it, please do start a thread, however many members who aren't in this group would probably be less pleased if that were to happen.

maaliskuu 14, 2012, 11:18pm

I don't think I could in good conscious, review another review without a request. Ironic since that's what we do with books. :) I did submit a review over a month ago that was never commented on. Other than that review, nothing has been submitted to the group since October.

I can be patient. :)

And relentless. :)

maaliskuu 15, 2012, 2:51pm

Must have missed it at the time otherwise I'd would have added something then, it being on a favourite author of mine.

This is perhaps the other problem, threads have at most a day or so on a Talk page otehrwise they've dropped off - at least if you're a member of as many groups as I am, where I'm never going to check them all for activity and rely of hte 'your groups and posts' to display anything relevant.

maaliskuu 21, 2012, 1:46am

The Talk Forums section of the home page is very useful (to me) for that purpose.

I have mine set to show new posts on groups and starred topics.

I'd include an image, but haven't the foggiest idea of how to. :)

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 24, 2012, 10:29am

On my Reviews page I always look forward to reading reviews of books in my library "reviewed by others". There is usually such a range: erudite reviews, challenging crits, gromic utterances ... and ones so eye-watering that you can't believe they're intentional. Here is my current favourite, which I've left anonymous, but if you really want to know who it is you won't have any problems:

"The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1)… by Philip Pullman
This book was not very good.it was a very slow read.it was very boring. i id not like it that much.
i dropped this book because i got a new book that i wanted to read.it also helped that it was a very boring and slow book. i tried to read it once before but i dropped it then to.
this book was not very good and i would not reccomend it to anyone."

I'm not absolutely convinced that this is the same book that I've enjoyed a few times; it must be another book with the same title and the same author (rather as that short story by Jorge Luis Borges, Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote.

Seriously, though, you have to give this child credit for posting reviews after giving some really wordy titles a go. He (?) clearly has had help in editing and correcting earlier reviews before being given a free rein, and I'm glad that LibraryThing is being used as the vehicle it was meant for by a new generation of readers.

huhtikuu 24, 2012, 12:59pm

>7 ed.pendragon:
I love "gromic" - I think I'm going to make it my word of the day. Much more expressive than what you probably intended :-)

I see that particular review has already got two thumbs. My personal favourite LT review is still "So much more than a story about a man chasing a whale". A review you can safely apply to any book other than the one it's meant for...

huhtikuu 24, 2012, 1:46pm

I have always been on the "more is better" side of the review argument (with Tim being, notably, a defender and exemplar of the one-to-two-word review), with most of my reviews running 800-1000 words. However, I recently ran across a book whose reviews featured two from "Tim's side of the fence" which had the delightful serendipity of providing nearly perfect examples of what is or is not a review. One said "social media" ... this is not (in my opinion, at least) a review but, essentially, a misplaced tag categorizing the subject matter without characterization or commentary. Another simply said "Crap" ... which, while scatological, communicates in a mere four letters the reviewer's judgement on the book.

This moves me a little closer to accepting that a less-than-a-sentence review can be a review ... along with the realization that my "bias" toward long reviews may well come from the fact that I started writing reviews as content for my blog (and having a 1,070-word post is better than a sentence fragment in that context!).


Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 17, 2014, 11:32am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

kesäkuu 14, 2012, 1:28pm

>10 Cecrow:
I've certainly given up taking pride in my reviews based on how many people thumb them.
Spoken from the point of view of someone who got, what, was it 28 'likes'?! At least, it shows that at least that number of LTers read (or perhaps skimmed) the review. Which is perhaps why we as reviewers write: to reach an audience.

I've been (with a hiatus at present) writing haikus on the main pages of some of he titles in my collection. Some are concise synopses, some pick up on just one aspect, some are downright critical, so I suppose the latter are examples of one sentence or, if lacking a verb, less-than-a-sentence reviews.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 14, 2012, 2:31pm

>10 Cecrow:,11
Tips for getting thumbs (by the author of 340 thumbless reviews):
- put an attention-grabber in the first sentence
- avoid the dead zone around 100-200 words: reviews that get noticed are mostly either very long or very short
- be absurdly controversial
- agree with everyone else
- parody the book or other reviewers
- find kind things to say about the book, even if it was terrible
- explain why it's OK to like it even though the author was a fascist/sexist/homophobe/Daily Telegraph columnist
- go on at some length about the author's use of imagery
- use the word "postmodern"
- choose a book that's not too popular at the moment (otherwise your review will disappear off the first page before anyone sees it)
- choose a book that's not too obscure (otherwise no-one will be interested in your review)
- choose a book that's only likely to be read by kind, generous people (Barbara Pym's novels, for instance)
- join a mutual-appreciation society
- have patience (old reviews still get thumbs)

kesäkuu 14, 2012, 2:40pm


- mention and link to your review in popular groups you participate in (like the 75 Book Challenge); the best review in the world won't get thumbs if it doesn't get read.

kesäkuu 14, 2012, 2:48pm

>13 lorax:
Doesn't that come under "mutual appreciation societies"? :-)

I should have added "avoid egregious errors of grammar or spelling in the opening and closing lines of the review"

kesäkuu 14, 2012, 4:40pm


Probably. I must admit I didn't notice that item the first time around.

kesäkuu 14, 2012, 6:01pm

What I wrote sounded like sour grapes. I meant that my reviews I take the most pride in don't often correspond to what other people thumbed. Thorold's list matches my observations.

There's some reviews I would like to go back and try again, since some additional reflection and others' subsequent reviews have put a different spin on those books for me (I'm thinking especially of A Passage to India and The Magicians), but I'm letting them stand as is. They happen to also be reviews that nobody thumbed, and I don't trust my own motivation.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 30, 2012, 7:15am

H.L. Mencken wrote an essay titled Criticism of Criticism of Criticism. Everybody who posts here should read Mencken's essay. That said, we should all remember that opinions are like assholes: everybody's got one.

A lot of us forget that book reviews are opinion pieces -- no different, really, from the op-ed items that coat one or two pages of most any newspaper. In days of old, op-ed writers felt it a matter of professional courtesy that none of them should criticize any of the others. Now comes the Internet, and "flame wars" that erupt on comment pages globally should serve as proof that the old-timers' "professional courtesy" made sense in at least one respect.

What makes Library Thing different from most sites is that a substantial number of the books that get reviewed here are works that were written by author-members who offer their books on LT and expect recipients will review their books in return. Hurt feelings at both ends of the equation are inevitable.

Looking at all the reviews posted on LT, it's sometimes hard to believe that the person who wrote the "review" ever read a book -- any book -- in his or her life. Pendragon (in No. 7, above) quotes one of the type I refer to.

We also feature a type of "review" that I call "crypticism". By that term I mean "reviews" that are so short they don't make any sense. "This book sucks" is common. "I didn't like it" is another. My favorite is one syllable: "meh". You all get what I refer to because everyone here has seen them. On different occasions, I've posted a few of my own: nobody is perfect. Sometimes we're just in a mood.

Still it ought to be considered that many who visit LT do so because they're looking for intelligent discussion of books and things bookish. A quick glance at LT's review columns could well drive some such people away, while the type who ordinarily post drivel (thinking they have found a home) will be attracted.

Summing up: Considering that the native English speaker (free to say as he/she pleases) can easily spout some 200 words per minute in conversation, it isn't unreasonable to impose a minimum length for all reviews posted on the site. Something in the range of three-or-four-hundred words seems about right to me. Others may think differently, but I ain't a-scairt o' them. . . .

elokuu 28, 2012, 11:48am

The reviews I like best are of two types: for a book I haven't read, a spoiler-free review that gives a good grasp of the novel's basic construction, themes and possibly its problems; or for a book I've already read, a review that shares some insight I hadn't thought of. I've had a negative opinion or two changed by someone's carefully constructed positive analysis (I'm especially thinking of The Left Hand of Darkness, which didn't impress me at all when I read it.)

At the same time I accept that not everyone here is trying to please me, lol. Some folks are just jotting down impressions for their own future referral, to share with friends, or to indulge in some fun attacks on books they despise. I've no objection to that, just as I'm sure they've no objection to me skipping over their reviews while I look for what I think are the "good ones."

I'll have to agree with >17 dekesolomon: up to a point, in that I don't see why the one-worders are even bothering, unless it's that they just don't like leaving blanks when they list a book. I wouldn't like to see an imposed minimum length, however. I don't think it would suprise anyone how easily someone with nothing to say could still fill up the space: "Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb ..." 100 times, for example. At least I can scroll past a one-word review with minimum hassle.

elokuu 28, 2012, 1:23pm

Want to tell people what you think of their reviews?

Sure. The only time I ever read a review is when I am trying to unravel a garbled catalog entry. I never read reviews for content because I don't care what people think about books. All this sharing with each other and looking for thumb pats is icky and gross.

elokuu 28, 2012, 1:40pm

>19 Collectorator:
The only time I read other people's posts for content is if they agree with my previously expressed opinions, because I don't care what people think about books. All this sharing ideas with each other--who came up with that idea?

elokuu 28, 2012, 2:15pm

20, Disjointed, not closely mirrored, and not humorous.

elokuu 28, 2012, 2:44pm

>21 Collectorator:
Fair enough.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 28, 2012, 4:36pm

Long ago a Book Review was a critique, mainly opinion, a Book Report gave plot details. The line between the two has been blurred. *Is a balance of the two the best ... some details to support critique?

elokuu 28, 2012, 1:12am

I really do think that a lot of crappy reviews are posted by people who simply don't know how to write good ones. That's why I recommended Mencken's essay in >17 dekesolomon:, above. Mencken's essay explains the purpose of lit crit better than any other I've seen. As for how to compose a sensible review, nobody needs to look farther than that old, tired, five-paragraph essay format everybody used to learn in Rhetoric 101. A lot of schools don't teach rhetoric any more. Too bad: It's just another situation in which "there ought to be a law".

Muokkaaja: elokuu 30, 2012, 7:11am

I know this guy who runs a poetry web site. For cash he edits manuscripts for cheap and sells the occasional ebook. He also teaches writing seminars in bookstores.

Yet he tells me he doesn't believe in lit crit. Doesn't think it's helpful to anyone and nobody should read it because it's all a waste of time and a big ego trip.

I went at him with the fact that the edit of manuscripts is criticism of a sort, and told him he can't avoid criticism when teaching writing seminars. By that I mean he is constantly asked to (and does) assay the (de)merits of other people's prose.

I gave up when I came to the realization that (so far as he is concerned) everything that contradicts his beliefs is wrong and everything that supports his beliefs is right, despite any and all evidence to the contrary.

First I got angry thinking of all the people he burns for the petty fees he charges for edit and for teaching. Then I became fascinated by the idea that, all over the nation, hordes of illiterate dumbbells apparently sit and watch TV all day while they secretly aspire to the authorship of books. Then I dropped the whole matter when I realized that trying to figure it out would drive me crazy.

Was I wise or am I already too late?

syyskuu 11, 2012, 3:27pm

I'm sure I saw a thread somehow on LT about reviewing your own books, but I can't find it. Anyway, you may be interested to know that 'sock puppetry' is not new, apparently: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/sep/11/internet-sock-puppeteers-f...
Exempli gratia: 'Esdras Barnivelt was writing in the period when reviewing, publicity and the widespread discussion of literature in broadsheets, newspapers and magazines was just emerging. He wrote a pamphlet called A Key To The Lock, subtitled "a Treatise proving, beyond all Contradiction, the dangerous Tendency of a late Poem entitled The Rape of the Lock to Government and Religion", claiming that Pope's witty mock-heroic was actually a coded allegory about the Barrier Treaty. The joke is, of course, that Esdras Barnivelt was actually Alexander Pope himself.'

syyskuu 23, 2012, 2:11pm

How often do you give thumbs up to a review? One way to get around this problem is to vote, move the good reviews to the top. sometimes I want to vote down a review. But mine might get voted down. :) I'm working on it. :)

In regards to short reviews, it makes me wonder. I'd enjoy seeing a contest to see who could write the shortest review that provided information of value. I'll bet the creative ensemble here could surprise all of us.

syyskuu 23, 2012, 1:03am

The shortest review I've seen is, as I said above, a one-syllable essay: "meh." One could argue that it does provide information of value because it conveys (to me) the idea that the writer found the book to be something short of a page-turning epic. On the other hand, it doesn't provide the information I really crave, which is WHY the reader didn't like the book. If it doesn't tell me why, it doesn't help me at all: just because one person didn't like it doesn't mean that another would not.

syyskuu 24, 2012, 1:19pm

> 28

Tim must like one-word reviews! There's also his famous one: "No" (http://www.librarything.com/work/365683/reviews/4805387)

syyskuu 24, 2012, 1:23pm


I give thumbs up approximately as often as I see an outstanding review. I refuse to upvote mediocre reviews just to force the dreadful to the bottom. Fortunately there are people who will upvote anything vaguely coherent, so the end result is much the same as if I could downvote the dreadful.

I'd enjoy seeing a contest to see who could write the shortest review that provided information of value.

The leading contenders would have to be either this review from Tim or this one, which wouldn't convey information for most books but does on this one, I think.

syyskuu 27, 2012, 8:29pm

As far as reviews go, I prefer to be both informed and entertained. 'Meh' neither informs nor entertains me in any useful way, though I suppose that it might count as a thumbs-down.* However, I wouldn't want to see dislikes made available to apply to reviews, though that's fair enough for recommendations.

* Is 'a (singular) thumbs-down' good grammar? It looks wrong to me, but I have to admit it doesn't sound wrong. So can 'thumbs-down' be both singular and plural?

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 28, 2012, 12:20pm

> 31 -- "can 'thumbs-down' be both singular and plural?"

It can if you got three or more thumbs.

syyskuu 28, 2012, 10:50am

>31 ed.pendragon:
Thumbs-down is a bit like goosedown, only less fluffy.

syyskuu 28, 2012, 1:45pm

>33 thorold:
Is the cause the same as for hairy palms then?

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 17, 2014, 11:34am

I've sometimes left comments on people's walls when I've especially admired their reviews, as a note of appreciation.