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I Hate Coffee, Ergo All Coffee Sucks

“I have your review in front of me and soon it will be behind me.” -George Bernard Shaw to a critic who gave him a bad review.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been using Goodreadsto track the books I am reading and I want to read. I am, and always have been, a voracious reader. When I as a kid, my worst punishment was that I couldn’t go to the library that week.

Huckleberry Finn

Two Thumbs Down.

Goodreads allows you to organize books you want to read, track progress on books you’re reading, and see what other people are reading. There is also a rating and reviews component. I’ve written before about my experiences with book reviews on Amazon and, unsurprisingly, I have found as much stupidity on Goodreads. That’s not to say I blame Amazon or Goodreads, only that lots of intellectually unendowed people exist and some of them post reviews on these sites.

Lately, I’ve noticed a number of people giving a book a negative rating and then starting their review with “I don’t like fantasy books” or “I don’t care for John Scalzi’s style.” If you hate the author or the genre, why are you reading the book? That’s akin to me reading a book about parenting and then giving it a negative review because I don’t like kids.

I’m glad, I guess, that people are trying books outside of their comfort zone. I’m just confused by why you’d rate a book you expected to dislike because of an element inherent in the book. Don’t lower a book’s rating because you don’t care for fairies or aliens or fiction books written in the present tense.

  • http://twitter.com/kouredios SKF

    It’s kind of the way people don’t understand the difference between a personal preference and an opinion, I think. “I don’t like coffee:” personal preference. Can’t argue with that. “Coffee is not a drink fit for human consumption. God didn’t say anything about coffee in the Bible, and the forefathers never mentioned coffee in the Constitution, therefore coffee should not exist.” Um, how about no? “IT’S JUST MY OPINION! YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH MY OPINION!” 

  • http://twitter.com/kouredios SKF

    It’s kind of the way people don’t understand the difference between a personal preference and an opinion, I think. “I don’t like coffee:” personal preference. Can’t argue with that. “Coffee is not a drink fit for human consumption. God didn’t say anything about coffee in the Bible, and the forefathers never mentioned coffee in the Constitution, therefore coffee should not exist.” Um, how about no? “IT’S JUST MY OPINION! YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH MY OPINION!” 

  • https://profiles.google.com/dmfarley dmf

    Some people on Goodreads also, apparently, tend to confuse “review” with “book report” or “summary”.

    one of my favorites, though, is some aussie living in canada with a clearly bloated sense of self importance that wrote a rather long winded review of A Game of Thrones… and gave it one star.

  • http://twitter.com/kouredios SKF

    Was their problem with it that it was long-winded and bloated? Because that would be perfect.

  • https://profiles.google.com/dmfarley dmf

    haaahahahaha. well i don’t know. i sort of skimmed. she had a lot to say. including that Martin’s writing was sub-par. also, she gave the first Sookie Stackhouse book 5 stars. also, the GoT story was boring and simple. also none of the characters “surprised” her. apparently to be good literature, one must include a Shyamalan Twist™.

    someone raised an issue with her “review” and of course she asked if she was not allowed to dislike a book. which then made me think of someone saying something along the lines of “i don’t like XX because he’s black.” “what? that’s not a valid reason!” “what, i’m not allowed to dislike people!?”



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