Friday, March 06, 2009

Thoughts ...

A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

One of my least favorite jobs with The Long and the Short of It is declining reviews. When Judy and I started the site, we agreed that we were going to be a "no snark" reviews site. I'm an author, Judy is an aspiring one, we know how it hurts when someone says bad things about your work. Obviously, every book or story doesn't rate a positive review -- though most have at least enough to recommend them despite some parts that may not be great.

Still, it happens, and when it does I ask my reviewers to give me reasons why they can't recommend a story (and rejected requests go through at least two reviewers because a review is only one person's opinion, so we give them the best chance we can). But if two or more can't give it a good review, it's declined and I sent an email explaining why.

I've been banished from doing reviews anymore because I clearly haven't a clue what the majority of people like. Recently, I read a book that I thought was just plain awful: stupid heroine, lousy plot, poor writing. A big-time wallbanger. And when I passed it on for a second review, the next person LOVED it. RAVED about it.

But this post is about the ones that don't make it through...

My reviewers can be honest with me, and are frequently brutal and often funny when they turn down a review. They know I'll sift through their remarks and craft a letter to the publisher or author that is both kind and constructive (I think I do the job well, as we've had authors come back to us more than once with new work and asking us to review it, even after a decline from us). But, I'm often amused by comments from them when they can really let loose. And one, recently, really made me laugh:

The denouement actually had me regret the book was in e-format, it would have been satisfying to hurl it in a corner.

So... my question for you is this: When you read something that is so awful you wouldn't even want to curse another reader with the copy... how would you dispose of the book? Get creative... let loose... it's only a figurative book -- you're not really lining the cage of your pet parrot. Or using it for a firestarter.

Remember-- this is a pretend book, and pretend destruction. It's okay to have a little fun!

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You Are Engaged



You feel completely absorbed and intrigued right now. You're cheerfully busy.

You're alert and completely involved with everything you do. You don't walk through life half-asleep.



If you're interested and engrossed, then you feel incredibly happy.

You are constantly curious and never bored. There's too much to be fascinated with!

12 comments:

MJFredrick said...

I read one earlier this year that made me want to run it through a shredder. Seriously. Instead, I took every one of her books off my shelf (I had them all, too) and donated them to the library. Yeesh, what a waste of paper.

Dru said...

I was reading this series and the most recent book that the author wrote for the series was horrible. She completely ruined the whole series for me and so I donated all the books to the library.

I'm more likely to toss paperback books in the garbage though.

re: quiz, I'm engaged.

Charity said...

Okay, I realize like that we're not supposed to curse another reader with the book, but I'd still take it to a locally owned used bookstore.

The sale of the book helps the local economy, but doesn't financially reward the author. (And yes, I've heard authors kvetch about this, to which I say, suck it up, buttercup.)

Oh, M, re: your reading. Maybe you have the "genre blues" and need to mix it up a bit.

groovyoldlady said...

I have had books I found morally reprehensible. Those I have destroyed. Usually I rip out and tear up several pages, then throw the book in my recycling bin. However, if I had the time and inclination it might be rather satisfying to burn them page by page.

Others I haven't enjoyed because I didn't like the writer's style or because I hated the ending. I remember reading "Gone With the Wind" and becoming almost violent because I despised the ending. I felt the same way about "The Giver". Here are these facinating, well-written, compelling stories with crappy endings. In both cases I ranted and raved and frothed. I gave the librarian an earful about "Gone..." and since I own "The Giver" I glare at it and "Hmph" each time I pass the book shelf it is on.

MomJane said...

I don't even finish books that I don't like. I don't throw them away unless they are really gross, but take them to the senior center. Sometimes books that I hate, others love, so I give them a second chance.

MomJane said...

By the way, here is my quiz result.


What Kind of Happy Are You?
You Are Affectionate

Your life is full of love and friendship - and you always have more to give.
You have an open heart. You are willing to take that leap and put your faith in people.

You see the good in everyone and everything. You are a very sympathetic person.
The people you love make you very happy. You feel warmly toward those around you.

Sarita Leone said...

I donate a lot of books to the local hospital. The good, the bad, the ugly...I figure one person's "bad" book may go on someone else's keeper shelf!

Melissa McClone said...

I figure readers have different tastes so someone else might love it so I either give it away to someone who likes that kind of story/author, donate or take to a used bookstore to sell back.

Tori Lennox said...

Ordinarily I'd just donate it to the library. Or sell it. In a fantasy situation, though, I might torch it. *g*

Brandy said...

In real life, I'd donate it or take it to the UBS. And if it was a brand new book and I didn't like it within the first chapter I'll take it back to the bookstore. Just did that as a matter of fact. *g* In fantasy world however, I'd shred it and use it for the litter box or packing paper. *g*
As for the quiz, I'm Affectionate. *g* Hmm, it fits. *g*

I hope you're having a good day and find something better to read!

Invoker said...

I had an entire series that I LOVED...until the last book. The author neatly and thoroughly took every aspect I loved about the series and destroyed them. All of them. I am saving the books, because I want to take them to her house and have a little book BBQ on her front lawn. I've never had such a powerful reaction to a book since, and I never read an unfinished series because of it.

Kim S. said...

I am so OCD(my kids say!!) that I can NOT finish a book!! Drives me crazy to have a book here that I haven't finished!!

There has only been one book that it was a total torture to finish reading. And I've read thousands. But this one was so badly written, horrible concept and yucky characters that....ugh!!! It took me forever and was almost painful!! And it was a hard cover by a new author! When I emailed them after reading it and said just that I thought it was "interesting"(that was the best I could put in print without hurting them!!), they then told me the book was going to be made it to a movie!? HUH???

So I passed it to my friend, who has a used bookstore!! I figured someone else might see something in it I didn't.

But as this is make believe...I would take it camping, if we still went, and use it in the campfire and the potty!!