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Doug_Pardee
Posts: 5,522
Kudos: 4,015
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: negative reviews


dhaupt wrote:

 

I never rate a book review less than a three because if I hate the novel I'll quit reading it and won't review something I think is terrible. Who am I to say that my opinion isn't just that and in someone else's hands they might love it, besides I leave the negative reviews to the "experts".

Life's too short to read a bad book.


Yes, life's too short to read a bad book. That's why you should rate all of the books that you feel qualified to rate. If nobody rates anything below 3 stars, then all books will be 3-stars or better. That makes the whole rating thing pointless.

 

There are books I don't review because they simply "weren't intended for me" and I should have known that (or did know it) from the book description. I'm willing to experiment in my reading choices, I recognize that those experiments will frequently fail, and that's hardly the author's fault.

 

But there are books that are simply bad. There are also books that aren't what they "promise" to be. And I will scorch those books in the ratings, and I'll explain exactly why in the review, so that other readers can decide if my concerns would bother them or not.

 

Why not help save someone else from wasting part of their life reading a bad book? Or wasting their money buying a bad book? Or maybe not a bad book, but one they wouldn't like?

 

Don't worry about whether someone else might love it. I'll guarantee that's always the case. If there are a lot of people who love it, there should be a lot of positive reviews to counterbalance yours. Reviews and ratings are not the place to apply the old "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". They're not reviews and ratings if you do.

 

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: negative reviews

 


Doug_Pardee wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

 

I never rate a book review less than a three because if I hate the novel I'll quit reading it and won't review something I think is terrible. Who am I to say that my opinion isn't just that and in someone else's hands they might love it, besides I leave the negative reviews to the "experts".

Life's too short to read a bad book.


Yes, life's too short to read a bad book. That's why you should rate all of the books that you feel qualified to rate. If nobody rates anything below 3 stars, then all books will be 3-stars or better. That makes the whole rating thing pointless.

 

There are books I don't review because they simply "weren't intended for me" and I should have known that (or did know it) from the book description. I'm willing to experiment in my reading choices, I recognize that those experiments will frequently fail, and that's hardly the author's fault.

 

But there are books that are simply bad. There are also books that aren't what they "promise" to be. And I will scorch those books in the ratings, and I'll explain exactly why in the review, so that other readers can decide if my concerns would bother them or not.

 

Why not help save someone else from wasting part of their life reading a bad book? Or wasting their money buying a bad book? Or maybe not a bad book, but one they wouldn't like?

 

Don't worry about whether someone else might love it. I'll guarantee that's always the case. If there are a lot of people who love it, there should be a lot of positive reviews to counterbalance yours. Reviews and ratings are not the place to apply the old "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". They're not reviews and ratings if you do.

 


 

Very good points, but I'm not a publisher "plant" so if I hate a book I stop reading it and it's not fair to review something that you didn't finish. I read for pleasure and those novels I'll review here and on other public sites but there are exceptions, the publications that I review for and there you'll find often books that I rate under a three, but those reviews don't belong to me and I can't post them here or anywhere else that I visit publicly.

But very good points, reader reviews should be honest. Although I do believe there's a "nice" way to give a negative review.

Just my opinion.

Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: negative reviews

 


dhaupt wrote:

 


Doug_Pardee wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

 

I never rate a book review less than a three because if I hate the novel I'll quit reading it and won't review something I think is terrible. Who am I to say that my opinion isn't just that and in someone else's hands they might love it, besides I leave the negative reviews to the "experts".

Life's too short to read a bad book.


Yes, life's too short to read a bad book. That's why you should rate all of the books that you feel qualified to rate. If nobody rates anything below 3 stars, then all books will be 3-stars or better. That makes the whole rating thing pointless.

 

There are books I don't review because they simply "weren't intended for me" and I should have known that (or did know it) from the book description. I'm willing to experiment in my reading choices, I recognize that those experiments will frequently fail, and that's hardly the author's fault.

 

But there are books that are simply bad. There are also books that aren't what they "promise" to be. And I will scorch those books in the ratings, and I'll explain exactly why in the review, so that other readers can decide if my concerns would bother them or not.

 

Why not help save someone else from wasting part of their life reading a bad book? Or wasting their money buying a bad book? Or maybe not a bad book, but one they wouldn't like?

 

Don't worry about whether someone else might love it. I'll guarantee that's always the case. If there are a lot of people who love it, there should be a lot of positive reviews to counterbalance yours. Reviews and ratings are not the place to apply the old "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". They're not reviews and ratings if you do.

 


 

Very good points, but I'm not a publisher "plant" so if I hate a book I stop reading it and it's not fair to review something that you didn't finish. I read for pleasure and those novels I'll review here and on other public sites but there are exceptions, the publications that I review for and there you'll find often books that I rate under a three, but those reviews don't belong to me and I can't post them here or anywhere else that I visit publicly.

But very good points, reader reviews should be honest. Although I do believe there's a "nice" way to give a negative review.

Just my opinion.


Yeah I call them construction reviews. A bad review while being constructive; instead of being destructive.

 

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Harriet Klausner

[ Edited ]

Doug_Pardee wrote:

Ah, yes, the notorious Harriet Klausner. She claims that she's a speed-reader and can read a number of novels in a day, then she writes glowing reviews of all of them. Almost all of her reviews are 5-star, and for her a bad review is 4-star. She got started at Amazon, where she became quite controversial (and their #1 reviewer, with over 20,000 books reviewed). Now she's started dumping her reviews onto B&N.

 

Look her up on Wikipedia. Yes, she's notorious enough to have a Wikipedia page dedicated to her.

 

In the meantime, just ignore her reviews. There are some other reviewers here who only give glowing 5-star reviews, too, so I ignore them as well.

 

kathylcsw: here's a link to Harriet's profile page on B&N. She currently has over 20,000 reviews here, too. http://my.barnesandnoble.com/harstan-profile/

 


I've learned, a long time ago, to never read Harriet's reviews.  She doesn't review books, she tells their stories, in detail.

 

I used to review books, and never give a bad review...like you say, if you can't say something nice, etc....., but I've discovered that telling it like it is, will save a lot of people from buying bad books.  I'm not intentionally mean, just want to see, and let other's see, what is in store for them, if they buy this book.  There is a heck of a difference between a bad story, and a badly written one. 

 

If a reviewer stops reading a story, because they didn't like it, it tells us nothing about that reviewer, or that book.  A reviewer needs to see all sides of their genre(s).  I need to know exactly what makes that reviewer a good one, or a bad one, and I can only make that decision based on how, what, and why they come to their thoughts about a book. There are some reviewers who can make mud sound delicious enough to eat it.

Doug_Pardee
Posts: 5,522
Kudos: 4,015
Registered: ‎03-09-2010
0 Kudos

Re: reviewing

[ Edited ]

KathyS wrote:

 

If a reviewer stops reading a story, because they didn't like it, it tells us nothing about that reviewer, or that book.


It depends on why they stopped reading. As I noted above, there are many that I stopped reading that I didn't review because the book was what it claimed to be, but wasn't to my taste.

 

On the other hand, I do give reviews like this one (for Ransom X):

Promising characters and a moderately promising premise -- although it was at my limits for suspension of disbelief -- are undermined by poor writing. Sentence and paragraph construction is haphazard and occasionally inscrutable, point of view skitters about even within a paragraph, and at least one flashback occurs without any indication that it's a flashback.

I wanted to know what happened, but I couldn't bring myself to keep fighting my way through the prose. By page 45, I threw in the towel.

Bad writing is bad writing. If a writer can't use words properly, can't form sentences properly, can't put them into paragraphs properly, can't put the paragraphs into scenes properly, and can't follow the basic conventions of fiction-writing and the particular genre, it doesn't matter how good the story is, so there's no point in finishing just to say you finished it.

 

And weird writing is weird writing, even if you can't say that it's "bad". My review of Omaha:

O'Kane has made some bold choices in his narrative style. Bold in the sense of "a burlap shirt is a bold choice". And like a burlap shirt, those choices continuously irritated me.

I gave up around page 30, because I couldn't stand to read any more. So I can't tell you if the story is any good or not.

"Third-person omniscient" point of view is rarely seen in modern fiction outside of an occasional piece of literary fiction. Present tense is rarely seen in modern fiction, although a few authors do use it with first-person narrative. Third-person omniscient present-tense is just weird; it reads like a screenplay warped into narrative form, where the actors are being given stage directions.

The present-tense narrative is occasionally turned into Yoda-speak, with "says Mike" instead of "Mike says".

There is a *lot* of description. Mike enters a night club and we get treated to 850 words (about 4 pages) of description of the night club before action resumes. No wonder this novel came in about 50% over the typical 90,000 words.

Like I said, it reads like a screenplay for a 10-hour miniseries rather than a novel. Set descriptions, stage directions, etc.

Repeated misuse of participial phrases also made me wince, although in my experience most people wouldn't notice. Some wrong words (hey, they passed the spell checker) didn't help.

I don't regret at all rating that book at 2-stars even though I only read 30 pages and my complaint was one of style, because the style is way outside of the norm that the average reader would expect. If a reader happens to like third-person omniscient present-tense, with tons of irrelevant description, they can easily discount my opinion as not being relevant to them.

 

[Those are the only two reviews I've posted on B&N of unfinished reads.]

 

I do wish that B&N would allow posting a review without a rating. There have been a couple of books where I think the reader should know what they're getting into, but it's not a matter of "good vs. bad".

 

And it's annoying that B&N allows posting ratings without reviews. Those don't tell me (as a reader) anything.

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: negative reviews

 


Doug_Pardee wrote:
....But there are books that are simply bad. There are also books that aren't what they "promise" to be. And I will scorch those books in the ratings, and I'll explain exactly why in the review, so that other readers can decide if my concerns would bother them or not.

 

Why not help save someone else from wasting part of their life reading a bad book? Or wasting their money buying a bad book? Or maybe not a bad book, but one they wouldn't like?

 


 

Despite all the reading I do, I seldom write reviews.  As much as I appreciate good reviews, I find them difficult and time consuming to write.  I'd rather be reading or discussing what I am reading.

 

All of which is why it was so strange to me a few weeks ago to be so provoked by a book, its author, and its publisher as to post a one star review!  Yes, I did try to explain why; yes, I did try to explain why some might "enjoy" the book.  In this case, my judgment was reinforced by the potpourri of other reviews.  Still, knowing that someone had invested considerable resources in writing their first novel gave me pause.

 

When I read reader reviews, I almost always mix high reviews and low reviews. It frequently  amuses me when I find the same arguments on both sides of the ledger -- but those are often very insightful and impact my own choices about reading or buying the book.

 

Bottom line -- my thanks to all with the honesty and integrity to write reviews that state clearly their reactions about the quality of what they have read.  Many of you know how often I quote Mark Twain's "Don't read good books.  There isn't time for that.  Read only the best."  To the extent I am able to follow his maxim, I am heavily dependent on reviewers in helping suggest how to use my time.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Contributor
NookGirlPA
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎02-25-2010
0 Kudos

Re: negative reviews

Well I'm glad to see it wasn't just me !  We are all in agreement that Harriet Klausner's reviews are nothing more than a synopsis of the book; they are long and boring without really saying if the book is good, bad, or the worst.  Now that I know she is a speed reader and does book reviews for companies, I have to wonder, just how much enjoyment does she get out of reading?  Can't be much enjoyment in my opinion.

Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Think about this~

[ Edited ]

NookGirlPA wrote:

Well I'm glad to see it wasn't just me !  We are all in agreement that Harriet Klausner's reviews are nothing more than a synopsis of the book; they are long and boring without really saying if the book is good, bad, or the worst.  Now that I know she is a speed reader and does book reviews for companies, I have to wonder, just how much enjoyment does she get out of reading?  Can't be much enjoyment in my opinion.


There has been a lot of discussion, on and off these boards, about "Harriet", whether or not "she" really exists....maybe at one time, or it's been said that she's made up of several different readers.....paid X amount for dropping names.  Anyway you look at "her", be wise in reading these reviews. 

 

Also, you might think about this...be wise when reading certain popular authors, who punch out book after book, year after year....these authors will write a synopsis, and have other (unknown) writers write the book for them, and still keep their name on the fly.  It's all about money, and it denigrates the truth, and the sincere talents of a creative writers name.

Distinguished Bibliophile
dalnewt
Posts: 2,725
Registered: ‎06-16-2009

Re: negative reviews

 


Doug_Pardee wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

 

I never rate a book review less than a three because if I hate the novel I'll quit reading it and won't review something I think is terrible. Who am I to say that my opinion isn't just that and in someone else's hands they might love it, besides I leave the negative reviews to the "experts".

Life's too short to read a bad book.


Yes, life's too short to read a bad book. That's why you should rate all of the books that you feel qualified to rate. If nobody rates anything below 3 stars, then all books will be 3-stars or better. That makes the whole rating thing pointless.

 

There are books I don't review because they simply "weren't intended for me" and I should have known that (or did know it) from the book description. I'm willing to experiment in my reading choices, I recognize that those experiments will frequently fail, and that's hardly the author's fault.

 

But there are books that are simply bad. There are also books that aren't what they "promise" to be. And I will scorch those books in the ratings, and I'll explain exactly why in the review, so that other readers can decide if my concerns would bother them or not.

 

Why not help save someone else from wasting part of their life reading a bad book? Or wasting their money buying a bad book? Or maybe not a bad book, but one they wouldn't like?

 

Don't worry about whether someone else might love it. I'll guarantee that's always the case. If there are a lot of people who love it, there should be a lot of positive reviews to counterbalance yours. Reviews and ratings are not the place to apply the old "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all". They're not reviews and ratings if you do.

 


After I first became a B&N member, I wrote reviews for the majority of books I read. Recently I've gotten more laid back, and will only write a review if I am blown away or, conversely, disappointed. But, I have rated books at two stars and haven't bothered to write a review where another review expresses my points/objections and/or where the book generally conforms to the series' standard but has material I consider offensive/objectionable for personal/individual reasons. So, whether or not I write a review depends upon variable circumstances.