Maybe I Should Treat Goodreads Like News Sites and Just Never Read The Comments

Let’s play a game.

The rules are simple. Go to Goodreads and search for a book. (Any book will do, but it works better with a popular one.) Then see how long it takes for somebody to post a review that either completely misses the point, or shows that the reader failed to notice the obvious. (Unfortunately I do not have any links or screencaps* to illustrate, so you’ll have to rely on my fantastic powers of description here.)

In the comments on Machine of Death, I found no less than three reviewers bemoaning the fact that the book was “too morbid.” Just to make this perfectly clear, the full title of this book is Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die. It is exactly what it says on the cover. With a title like that, I don’t think you have any room to complain about the subject matter. (And yet, these people aren’t quite as annoying as the guys who complain that there’s not enough death in the stories, when the entire premise as explained in the introduction is “What would happen if people suddenly knew how they were going to die?” and not “How many different ways can we kill people off?”)

Then there’s The Red Necklace (which I will be tackling after Eragon, as a palate-cleanser). The phrase “A story of the French Revolution” is right on the cover, and the back-cover blurb describes the protagonist as “a mysterious G*psy boy.” Again, fairly straight-forward descriptions of  the content… and yet I found one review that stated (paraphrased) “If you like stories about g*psies and the French Revolution, you’ll love this book! I don’t so I thought it was boring.” Heaven forbid you read the back cover to see if the subject interests you!

I’d say this could be turned into a drinking game (a shot for every misses-the-point review, two if they belligerently defend their position in the comments), but depending on the book you might not have a liver left afterward.

* I’d like to say this is because I am a nice person who doesn’t want to ridicule some random stranger for having a differing opinion from my own, but that would be a tad too optimistic. The main reason is because I read these reviews a few months ago, and when I tried to find them again they’d been buried under the 100+ pages of reviews that these books have. So it’s more due to laziness than any sort of magnanimity on my part.

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3 comments on “Maybe I Should Treat Goodreads Like News Sites and Just Never Read The Comments

  1. Hahahaha! Excellent game!

    RE The Time Traveler’s Wife:
    Erin: “i hate reading books that everyone keeps bothering me to read.”

    OK, thanks Erin, that was very helpful.

    RE The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time:
    Alex: “That’s not to say it’s a bad book. It wasn’t. I’ll be honest, I don’t know exactly how I feel about it,”

    SO SHUT UP ALREADY

    “but it was not bad. It was done well, in fact. It just didn’t have many elements that people like in best-sellers. Being done well, for example, is usually taboo. To start, it’s a bit of a challenging read for the DaVinci Code crowd. ”

    WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT

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