Monday, March 31, 2014

Everybody's a Critic: Found Reviews of Books

 Compiled by Kristin

Back a few years ago—well, perhaps more than a FEW years ago—our library books had an insert in the front.  It was a mostly blank page, with the following instructions:

 “Dear Patron:  After reading this book, please write one or two sentences giving your impressions of it.  These comments will help others decide if they want to borrow this volume.  Please keep comments short, so others may also participate.  Thank you.”

Recently, while checking  in some books I started making notes of some of the comments.  For example, here are the ones for A Dead Giveaway by Stella Allan:
    “Good reading.  You’ll enjoy this book!”
    “Very good—I enjoyed it.”
    “Very good.”
    “Too much sex.  Unnecessary to story line.”
    “The sentence above is my comment which ruined the story.”
    “I liked it.”
    “Well written—enjoyable.”

St. Peter’s Fair by Ellis Peters drew these comments: 
“Very good—I enjoyed it.”
“Dull, could not hold my interest.”
“Like all Brother Cadfael mysteries, a great read!”
“Very good like all his other books.”
“’Moguing, pleached, quintain, posset, seisia, palatine,’ her use of archaic and little used words is a delight and enriches our vocabularies.  The middle ages come alive!”
(A note on the gender of Ellis Peters—this was a pseudonym for Edith Pargeter, a female British author.)

While the insert for comments was discontinued a long time ago, some patrons apparently can’t stop the habit of writing their mini-reviews in books.  While this definitely not something we encourage, I have to admit I find some of them very interesting and entertaining, such as:

 “Dirty words” –a book by Ethan Hawke  (I went back to try to find the title of the book—it was checked out.  So I guess someone else didn’t mind the dirty words or else thought that was a recommendation.)

“Excellent AAA.  Zane Grey is, no doubt, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.”  --Union Pacific by Zane Grey.

“Too Corny and Vulgar for me.” –Blue Eyed Devil by Robert B. Parker

“Excellent A++!” and “Just OK.” (in the same book, which goes to show how much opinions can vary!)

“Odd, but good!” and “Almost Agatha Christie plot—too many twists and turns!” –The Doctors Were Brothers by Elizabeth Seifert

“Wow—Great read” –Stolen Magic by M.J. Putney

“Interesting…..” –The Girl Who Passed for Normal by Hugh Fleetwood

“I read in 1 day!  I couldn’t put it down!” Zoya—by Danielle Steel

“Weird, strange subject matter, off the wall. Not to my liking.” –Witch and Wizard: The Fire by James Patterson

“Very interesting, not very clean.”  --The Senator’s Wife by Karen Robards

“Good story but crude & foul language” and “A++ The Best” –The Savage Trail by Jory Sherman

“Fantastic!” --On Hummingbird Wings by Lauraine Snelling

“V. Good—so true to life” –Home Song by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer

“Really Great Story” and “Silly” –Word of Promise by Dorothy Garlock

“Good, but didn’t like the ending!” –Summer of the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson

“V. Good Story but unfortunately should be rated ‘X’.” and “Oh So Good (heart)” –Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson.

“Weird story but good reading.” and “Just OK.”  --When the Wind Blows by James Patterson

“Couldn’t understand it.  Very odd.” –An Irish Eye by John Hawkes

“One heck of a story.” –The Hunter by John R. Erickson

“Hot steamy romance, loved it (heart)” –Never Lie to a Lady by Liz Carlyle

“Science Fiction but a very good read” Toys by James Patterson

“Never have you seen the hero do so many stupid things, but it ended well.”  --Pursuit by Lewis B. Patten

“Hot! Great book (heart)” –Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz

“Great novel.  Too bad he chose to use such crude language.”  --Conviction by Richard North Patterson

“Too much philosophy, not enough mystery.  Ridiculous ending!” and “Just enough mystery to hold the reader’s attention and enough philosophy to help understand the mystery.  Excellent, entertaining read.”  --The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith

“Another great story.  A true love story.  I cried at the last chapter. (heart)” –The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks

“Boring.” –Collateral Damage by Stuart Woods

“Waste of Time!” –The Perfect Murder: Five Great Mystery Writers Create the Perfect Crime

“Heartwarming.  I read it in one afternoon.  A tribute to the Appalachian way of life; a moving story.  I would like a copy of my own!” –Patchwork by Ila Yount

Another patron felt a book deserved more than a one or two word review:  “Highly recommended. Somewhat risqué; however, ignore the four letter words & enjoy a good Italian mystery!  RLF 12.20.02” This didn’t seem to be quite enough, so added below in the same handwriting is, “Surprising insights into Italian political & police procedures.”  If this has whetted your appetite, then check out The Shape of Water:  A Novel of Food, Wine, and Homicide in Small Town Sicily by Andrea Camilleri.

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