Tuesday, May 26, 2009

hobbit the avenger.

currently listening to: Take It Easy by The Eagles

A few weeks ago, I read a book I didn't enjoy. I'm not going to mention the title. I am very aware even books I cringe thinking about are books writers poured a great deal of heart and energy into writing. And I know how much mean reviews hurt. And I'm not a reviewer or a critic. I'm just a reader. Sometimes I rail about books I dislike but I try to keep it as conversation with my friends*, not blogspew. You're welcome. Also, I'm of the firm opinion art is subjective. What I dislike might be a top shelf pick for you.

But (you knew it was coming didn't you? :). This unnamed book. Ugh, this book. I need just a little bit of bloggy room to recoil. The Unnamed Book is getting oodles of hype and I totally, completely, regretted spending money on it. I tried to shrug of my distaste thinking it was, possibly, just written for a younger audience than I realized. But that has nothing to do with it. There are plenty of middle grade novels I think are exquisite. I think the characters put me off. The girl in the book seemed too self obsessed and whiny. The guys were both boring eye candy (sad when the only form of characterization a guy gets is just great abs and a pretty smile). I finished the book but it took some effort. Just not my thing - which is okay. It's in the pile of books I'm taking to my used bookstore. May someone else find it and love it as it deserves to be loved.

So. I was checking out some reader reviews and noticed a bad customer review on Amazon (a bad review that was way too mean) and then, under that bad review, people left some equally mean comments about the reviewer. All of it makes me cringe. This whole shabang has incurred some more thoughts I wanted to discuss, mostly because I know most of you are book lovers too.

I can't decide if reader anonymity helps, or hurts, when it comes to really discussing how you feel about books. I believe books are meant to be discussed. But sometimes, on Amazon (and other online book forums) in particular, people just lose their stuff (reviewers and people who comment on the reviews). I was annoyed I read the book too, but it wasn't the bane of my book reading existence. The book review in question was a smidge too dramatic (yes, even more dramatic than this blog entry :). But I don't know that even a bad review merits other people chiming in bashing the reviewer. :(

Because at the end of the day, it is just fiction. In the inspirational words of one of my favorite middle school Lisa Frank folders, the one with the purple penguins and jalapeno pepper lights: chilly out!

Sometimes anonymity is a good thing. I bet that particular reviewer is really glad he/she didn't list a name. Anonymity gives you room to articulate a response without fear of retaliation. I totally get that. I've posted one anonymous review of a book (a different, and far more goofy read, than The Unnamed Book :) and while my review wasn't vile, I discussed some of the aspects I thought were amiss. I thought it might help someone else, who reads the kinds of books I read, choose to spend their $20 on something more worthwhile. The reason I posted anon is because the book has a passionate (verging on obsessive) fanbase and I knew I would get verbally drop kicked for discussing its stink.

My consensus is that anonymity can be great but sometimes it gives people an excuse to be unnecessarily mean. Then again, I spent this entire post talking about a book that bored me worse than Nascar so it's not as though, by not mentioning the book's title, I've done some great kindness ...

In other news:

I just finished an interview about Paperdoll with Adam, from a radio station in Missouri. Any Missouri readers? I'm a fan of your state, Missouri. I have been to Kamp Kanakuk (not as a camper ... I'm not exactly athletic...). I have played your human-sized game of chess (well ... I posed for a picture with your game of chess. I have no clue how to actually play). Missouri is a lovely place. Talking about the book is always fun, even though I'm kind of lame and say "umm" way too much.

If you're traveling around this summer, or working at camp, or just feeling disconnected from your church you should check out Jessica's blog. Jessica is in the process of raising money so she can teach in the Ukraine. Because she's traveling so much, she can't join in a small group or be part of a Bible study at her church. So she's thinking about discussing the book of John (or another book) on her blog (or on Facebook) during the month of June with her friends. Oh the joys of the interweb! :) I think it sounds fun. I'm hoping she does this on her blog because I want to follow along. Facebook and I are arch enemies. *Roderigo brandishes his plastic sword to defend me.*

Dad thinks the new Harry Potter movie looks cool. I agree. I suggested he watch the other movies before he watches the new one. Mom didn't know if he would "get them". This is the conversation that ensued over dinner this weekend:

Dad: You don't think I can follow along? I did fine on those other movies. The movies about the, uh, what were they called? The Dark Angels.

Natalie (knits eyebrows together in confusion): Dark Angels?

Dad: You know. The little guys in the trees ...

*we all look at each other clueless*

Natalie: Are you talking about hobbits?

Dad: Yes! Hobbits. I kept up in those movies.

For the record, until the final installment of Lord of the Rings, dad didn't realize there were four hobbits. He thought there were only two. Once he realized there were four, I think it cleared up quite a bit of confusion.

Have a lovely Monday :)

* Example: I called Sarah to tell her the "plot" of The Unnamed Book and she said, "I really wish I could just erase the two minutes you spent telling me that." It was that bad.


  1. Do you have any idea how badly I want to know what this unnamed book is called?! LOL

  2. Ah, this book that you did post an anon review on wouldn't happen to be a certain vampire saga would it? Because when people say "obsessed", I say "vampire saga"! Lol, anyway, I'm totally with Ruth. Curiosity kills more than just cats;)

    The whole thing with the web and anonymity confuddles me. I love hearing what people think about other things but I (like I assume everybody else does) feel entirely too comfortable hiding behind my PC screen. Surely there's a happy medium between being honest but nice?

    I've tried several times to watch the Lord of the Rings but I keep falling asleep. At least now I know there are 4 hobbits.

    PS: I love your stories about your dad:)...and this is one long comment.

  3. Ruth and Sarah,
    You have no idea what you're asking for! Ignorance is bliss-trust me on this one. I got the title and synopsis, and some brain cells die everytime it crosses my mind! :)

  4. Augh!!! How on earth could your dad not even realize there are four hobbits?! Blasphemy! I love those movies so much...I've watched all three in a row before, *with commentary*.
    Now, however, I am dying to know what the book was.

  5. I promise you all - ignorance is bliss! :)

    MC, I am so sorry I unloaded on you. It is a hazard of friendship. I owe you big time. Next awful movie you watc, I'm all aears. It's just that when it comes to awful movies we usually watch them together so....

    Melodie, so glad you came by! :) I have no clue how dad didn't realize there were four hobbits. I can't believe he made it through the films so long that confused! :)

  6. I know this is going to make me seem a blog stalker, and for that I am only very slightly sorry...but when it's summertime and I'm needing words I sometimes go back in bloggy archives for friends and blog friends and...yeah.

    So. The way you are talking about this book is how I felt about Eat Pray Love the first time I read it. I have yet to read it a second time. I haven't decided if I will, though I'm moderately interested in doing so because Julia Roberts is playing the main character in the movie and I heart her.

    Anyways. :) I know the feeling.