The Thing About Book Reviews

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SIRI Take This Down And Nag Me About It Will You?

I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions because I’m too absentminded to keep them even with my professional nag, SIRI, beeping my iPhone about something non-stop. However, one thing I’ve decided to do is keep track of all the books I read this year–print, ebooks, and audiobooks.

While the grandsons, Kevman and Einstein, visited us over the Christmas break, we read the audiobook called The Case of the Hooking Bull a Hank The Cowdog book by a real Texas rancher and very funny writer, John Erickson. We all enjoyed that story very much. And last month, Gramps and I read an audiobook by Cormac McCarthy called The Road. That was an amazing book. Not a happy book, but the writing and the story (to me) were incredible.

Yer Book Wuz Real Dum and Yer Dum To

Which brings me to book reviews on Amazon. Some people gave The Road a 1 star review. I would’ve given The Road a 10 star review if possible. Why did some think that book was just about a boring, aimless wandering in a grey land while I took it as a riveting story of a father’s selfless love for his son when life as he knew it was over…when it didn’t even matter anymore if he had a name?

I would’ve given the narrator of the audio version 10 stars, too. He was awesome. But even with audio books we get into reviews sort of like those below that I made up off the top of my head. (But if you look there will be some similar types, for real.)

smrtee57 says: I gave this book 1 star, but I would have given it less if possible. They gave that chump Cormac McCarthy a Pulitzer for twaddle like that? Seriously? He doesn’t even use punctuation. It was a setup. And the narrator stunk big time. If I ever have to listen to him again, somebody just shoot me now. For a real thrill, read my post-apocalyptic novel, Dead Zombies, narrated by a real funeral director…

Followed directly by:

okbambi123 says: 10 stars! Because…omg!!! does it even matter what this book was about with a narrator like that I could listen to him every day and half the night for the rest of my life is he married? omg!! tell me hes not married i’ll shoot myself if hes married…

So, I guess the thing about reviews is they are subjective and beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder.

Which brings me to my book The Cedar Tree, which rated its first 1 star review over the holiday break. I would rather it hadn’t, of course, but it reminded me of a quote I read the other day by famous children’s author Roald Dahl who wrote books like Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and The Twits.

Β I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book ~ Roald Dahl

Here’s Hoping The Old Brain Box Holds Together Through the Entire Series

For those whose inquiring minds want to know, I’ve finished writing the second book in the Love Is Not Enough Series. My writing friend, mentor, and professional editor, Terri Valentine, waved her magic wand over it and now the manuscript is with some of my readers who check for fatal flaws and additional typos and so-forth. After I get everybody’s feedback, I’ll go through it again and clean up the last mistakes we found. After that comes a book cover, which is a big deal, but hopefully I’ll turn the book loose sometime in the spring-ish…summer-ish part of the year. I’m also researching and working on the third in the series, but it is still a long ways out. More on that as we go, I trust.

So, what are y’all reading?

I’d really be interested to know what books all of you are reading and what you think of them, so tell me in the comments. I’ll start with a sample comment:

At present I am reading a book called Tall Woman, and I give it 5 stars because it’s a fascinating glimpse of Navajo culture in the past and doesn’t put me to sleep in my recliner. The book itself has a picture of an elderly Navajo lady (Tall Woman) at her loom and is quite a heavy work, useful for squashing the stray spider or beetle.

Next?

God bless all y’all until next time and enjoy The Afters tearing up their acoustic guitars on Every Good Thing.

[youtube.com/watch?v=skdO_sUlf0A]

*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just like their music.


16 thoughts on “The Thing About Book Reviews

  1. I am currently reading a book called Grain Brain by David Pearlmutter. It’s about how the shift in our diet to include massive amounts of carbohydrates is causing all sorts of health problems and is making me consider whether i should keep eating bread and if life is worth living without it…

    • Thank you for sharing your reading material, #3. I’ve heard of that book, Grain Brain. My take on all food trends is that most people in the modern USA are too sedentary and they eat too much of everything, including grain, but food is not the culprit.
      I remember when I was being raised up in the olden days by hand (you know the Great Expectations reference,) global warming hadn’t been conceived yet–but rather we were looking forward to annihilation by a world-wide ice age–and if one so much as ate an egg fried in coconut oil, one was as good as dead. Trends come and go all the time. If we didn’t eat all the foods somebody had written a book about, what would we eat?
      When I was raising up you farm boys by hand, y’all took massive quantities of taters and grain products to fill your hollow legs. My grandpa ate eggs and taters fried in bacon grease with white bread slathered with real butter every day, along with whatever sweets he could snag, and he lived to almost 103. What does it all mean? I don’t know. Maybe that people need to move more and eat less and be thankful we’ve got food?
      My personal belief is life is a grim prospect without grain. Please don’t quit bread until you make Gramps and me one last pan of dinner rolls! πŸ™‚

  2. Well way to go Danni, you will be pleased to know that to date you are my favorite author! I read “The Cedar Tree” & “Agnes Campbell’s Hat” both in one day and a night. I rank you as a 10 star since you could hold my attention for that long! I haven’t read any other books in recent months except for an excerpt from a chitons manual or a popular website like fordenthusiast.com. Way to go!

    • Oh, my goodness, #1!You’ve made my year and we’re already eight days into it πŸ™‚ You are so busy I take your reading my stuff as a great compliment. And there is nothing wrong with reading Chiltons manuals. They’re very instructive. Thank you, thank you, JG. Love you

  3. Congratulations on the publication of your second book Danni, Hey all authors will get one or two people who may not have liked the story. But if you’re happy with what you’ve created and others like it that is all that matters. I’ve been reading a book called “Chosen by a horse” by Susan Richards. The book was a NY Times best seller. It’s raw, gritty and reminds me very much of my own life so much so it’s run very close to the bone with me. A brilliant book I haven’t been able to put down.

    • Well, I haven’t read anything of yours except your blog and your magazine articles about life on your farm, but I think you’re good at what you do. If anybody tries to say they don’t like it you can just say, Ha! I’ve got a blogger friend in Oklahoma who thinks my articles are hilarious, so take that! πŸ™‚
      Chosen By a Horse sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out. I love it when I can’t put down a book.

  4. Well, I don’t want to stir up Jealousy or anything, but I read your second book & thought it was fantastic! I read Pearl Buck’s – The Time Is Noon – a few months ago. It was thought provoking, as all her stuff is. I also spent my birthday Barnes & Noble card that I’d been hoarding on several books about Holocaust survivors. Cheerful, I know. I love to find out what each one of them brought away from such a time in their lives. Riveting. I also have been reading about Jack ( the wolf-catching) Abernathy, and his two boys. Amazing lives. Ree Drummond’s new cook book is a delicious read. Clinton Anderson has a new biography about the growth of his Horsemanship business that is really interesting. And… as always (contrary to bad reviews) the Bible is the Best Book of all. It’s the most uplifting and instructional book ever written. You asked for a list, and thar she is… Keep writing.

    • Thank you for reading it, trusted trial reader πŸ™‚ And isn’t that ridiculous jealousy and competition would drive someone to such lengths about their books? If a book can’t stand on its own merit I don’t think cheating will help.
      That is a good reading list. I’ve got a whole stash of Pearl Buck books, but I don’t recall that one. I’ll have to get to it one day. I plan to read that one TG got me for Christmas after I finish Tall Woman. I thumbed through it. It looks really interesting–all those no-nonsense Texas cowladies. I know they were tough.
      You know what I think about cookbooks, but did Clinton Anderson write his own book or did he have a co-writer? If he wrote it himself, he really is an amazing horse guy.
      I came away from reading those terrible reviews about the Bible–the only book I can’t do without–feeling really sad, more than anything.

  5. It’s interesting that you bring up Amazon reviews because while promoting my book I and my co-authors discovered that it’s become a new practice that people intentionally give bad reviews to any book they consider competition to their own. Now that Amazon and Goodreads have merged, it’s happening on Goodreads as well. It’s discouraging and frustrating to see it happening in a field that’s already hugely challenging to get your footing. But I loved your Roald Dahl quote. And at the end of the day we simply need to write the best story we can and release it into the wild, learn from mistakes, and press on. Congratulations on the 2nd novel! I’ll be getting to you 1st novel shortly–my MFA reading list is shrinking slowly. I’m currently reading “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. Interesting so far, but I’m expecting it to become emotionally draining considering it’s about kids with cancer 😦 Thanks, Danni!

    • Oh, dear. Yes, that’s probably not going to be a happy book to read.
      I used to feel it my duty to finish every book I started, but as I aged I realized life is too short to read crummy books when there are so many good ones. Maybe I will start leaving reviews like this: Hey, I got all the way to the end of your book. That means your book was special! πŸ™‚
      I know Amazon has put some measures in place to try to stop shenanigans on the book reviews, but I don’t know how effective they are. Somebody always figures out how to get around the rules. I know Amazon wouldn’t let Tabitha review my books and the only thing we could think of was she used my account a few times. So far, Amazon lets me (as an author) review other books, but maybe that’s because if I can’t leave a book four or five stars, I don’t review it. I don’t know.
      On a related note–the worst outpouring of venom I’ve seen has been the 1 star reviews for the Bible on Amazon. I can’t recommend reading those. Very sad.
      I hope you’re getting settled back in the post-holiday groove πŸ™‚

  6. Congrats on completing your second novel, Danni. WTG! I am currently reading “The Most of Nora Ephron.” While I knew her movies, I am new to her essays. I am enjoying them very much.

    • Thank you, Drema, and thanks for sharing your current reading material. Nora Ephron had a prolific writing career and I’m sure her essays are interesting. I love it when I find something I really enjoy reading like that. πŸ™‚

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