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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Please sign if you want Goodreads to improve their privacy settings/not give out your address willy-nilly to random creepy-ass authors.

#kathleen hale    #creepy    #stalker    #goodreads    #privacy    #safety    #crime    #criminal    #disease    #unsafe    #mental health    #no one else can have you    #psychologist needed    #change    #petition    #reading    #literature    #bloggers    #booktuber    #youtube    #books    #book    #shelfie    #reader    #read    #literacy    #teen    #young adult    #ya    #gr    

I highly suggest reading Kathleen Hale’s article first. Does the Guardian look positively on stalking? Would her stalking escalate over time? I don’t think it’s too farfetched that she could hurt someone.  All I can think about is the show Stalker and I am fucking creeped out by this woman.

She’s a lot like her main character in No One Else Can Have You, but this isn’t a fictional small-town mystery with an annoyingly precocious teen sleuth.

#reading    #kathleen hale    #author    #stalking    #blogger    #review    #goodreads    #drama    #no one else can have you    #teen    #young adult    #ya    #guardian    

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

I’m sure this will excite some people. The cover is very pretty, but I don’t think that’s enough to make me read it. Unless it includes more Uriah. Yes, I will read this just for him. He’s hilarious.

I’m sure this will excite some people. The cover is very pretty, but I don’t think that’s enough to make me read it. Unless it includes more Uriah. Yes, I will read this just for him. He’s hilarious.

#uriah    #divergent    #four    #new    #trilogy    #stories    #goodreads    #harpercollins    

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

hiddenreviews:

Original post here. Wendy blogs at The Midnight Garden.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to say since this announcement went live, and I almost said nothing—because at this point, it seems obvious this Feedback thread, like countless others before it, is pretty futile anyway.

I want…

#opinion    #goodreads    

Monday, 23 September 2013

Goodreads Censors Reviews and Personal Shelves During Banned Books Week

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Dear Readers,

It’s time we got into the gritty subject of censorship. This is an open letter to all readers (authors, Goodreads staff, and members are obviously included). I say all readers, because do even mean those of you unfamiliar with Goodreads and its drama, for lack of a better term.

Readers, I don’t mean to teach you some of the facts of life, but I just want to briefly (this didn’t end up being as brief as initially planned) mention a) censorship, b) freedom of speech and its limitations, c) Banned Books Week and d) hypocrisy.

a) Censor — v. [with object] examine (a book, film, etc.) officially and suppress unacceptable parts of it. (Oxford Dictionary)

Filter — v. [with object] a fancy web-based term for partial censorship. (Me)

Quality Control — n. the activity of checking goods as they are produced to make sure that the final products are good. (Merriam Webster)

The essential point to take away from these terms is that while censoring is synonymous with filtering, quality control is neither of those, unless we view Goodreads as a product, rather than just a social media platform.

Okay, so let’s say Goodreads is this free “product.” What is the target market? It’s for reviewers and literary lovers to discuss books (and authors), so I’d wager all readers. However, “quality control” via the review guidelines suggests a specific group within those readers. SOME authors, the compliant (they may not know what’s happening at all), and offended fans of authors.

b) Freedom of speech is an international human right. Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states that “e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

However, in any country, the freedom of speech has its limitations and restrictions, especially in regards to "respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals." (UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 999, p. 171, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3aa0.html.)

All of that being said, my personal opinion is that I should not judge a book by its author. I don’t like to get personal about authors within my reviews, but I will use some blatant shelving labels as I see fit. This is my opinion regarding MY OWN REVIEWS AND NO ONE ELSE’S. It is none of my business what another reviewers methods are, just as it is none of my business what their sexual orientation is. Maybe I think it’s blatant and I can identify it right off the bat, but that doesn’t mean I should criticize them for it. The only difference is that reviews are OPINION pieces, while sexuality is something you are born with (though I’m sure I could argue nature versus nurture here, but that’s completely off topic).

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Another issue is that Goodreads staff really want us to stay on the topic of the book, rather than the author. I have written a number of reviews that sort of go off on a tangent. Will GR make its way around to removing these reviews? The greatest part about this is that GR’s Customer (Don’t) Care director has made it appear a lot worse than I initially thought (other than the deleting without notifying bit):

We recognize that not everyone is going to agree with our approach. People have different - and often quite strongly held - viewpoints about what should and should not be allowed in a review. We’ve had suggestions that no GIFs should be allowed, reviews should be limited to 300 words only, reviews should only be allowed if you have read the book to the very last page, etc.”

You know what this says to me? Goodreads has actually considered these suggestions. 

c) Banned Books Week was founded in in 1982 by Judith Krug and is most notably sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA). Many people recognize Judith as an advocate for uncensored literature, free speech, and confidentiality of personal library records. You, reader, may not know that while she also fought for our right to read whatever we may choose, she also fought against the Children’s Internet Protection Act, as web filters often blocked educational material on healthcare, sexual education and social matters (Krug, Judith F. (2000). “Internet and Filtering in Libraries: The American Experience”. IFLA journal (München : Verlag Dokumentation; British Library Serials) 26 (4): 284.).

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Judith Krug was a fucking star.

Goodreads has incredibly poor timing to deliver their amended guidelines to patrons of the site in time for Banned Books Week. This is especially a travesty in the face of Judith Krug’s lifelong fight. And for that alone, Goodreads has lost so much credibility as actually being for BOOK PEOPLE. It’s almost as if it’s being run by staff that have no idea what matters to people passionate about reading. They are slowly becoming just another social media site I can live without.

d) Hypocrisy — n. the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense. (Oxford Dictionary)

Double standard— n. a rule or principle which is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups. (Oxford Dictionary)

Goodreads has deleted reviews that detail the author or the author’s behaviour, unless within a review for a memoir or biography (or, I suppose, book that features an author). They did not follow through on reviews with positive remarks about an author’s behaviour or complimentary shelves about authors. I also mentioned above that part of GR’s argument for deleting author-centric reviews is that it’s not on the topic of the actual book being reviewed, yet they will not delete off-topic reviews that mention very little about the book or writing at all. This is GR’s double standard.

Do you remember that minute group of authors, offended fans and the compliant I mentioned at the beginning? This is to appease them.

You may be wondering, reader, what the point of this extremely tl;dr rant was.

It should offend you to learn that you have the right to read what you want, but you do not have the right to express what you want; to write what you want. 

What has Goodreads done for its patrons other than exist for us to manipulate?

1. Bring the reading community together to discuss all things literary or AUTHORS. This is something you can do on any other site or blog. And we do.

2. A source of ARCs! But let’s not be melodramatic about this. I get the majority of my ARCs directly from those amazing authors and publishers we very much love when they’re not trying to convince us our opinions are incorrect. Quite a few blogs now host a slew of giveaways.  

3. E-book exchanges and sources. There are literally thousands of sites for this. I understand some authors cannot shift from Goodreads as easily, but neither should GR be the sole source for these things.

4. Organizing everything you’ve read or want to read. Hundreds of sites free and with a cost exist for this very purpose.

Unfortunately for GR, amazing book-related projects such as Oyster (Netflix for books) and BookLikes are picking up the slack in, what feels like, a intermediary format period for books (digital publications and alternatives).

Finally, dear reader, taking a stand against Goodreads and their poor choices is not about “sticking it to the man,” it’s about making sure your basic human rights are not slighted. It’s about fighting compliance and taking the moral stance, even when you cannot see yourself physically being affected. Your community is affected. If you can actively practice Banned Books Week, you can certainly take a closer look at websites like Goodreads. I’m not saying give up on Goodreads, I’m just asking "what have they really done for readers?”

Hidden Reviews?

#goodreads    #gr    #stgrb    #bullies    #harassment    #drama    #tos    #terms    #guidelines    #rules    #reviews    #books    #ya    #fiction    #literature    #literacy    #readers    #read    #shelves    #censor    #hypocrisy    #double standard    #oyster    #netflix    #judith krug    #ala    #american library association    #cipa    #library    #freedom of speech    

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey for Grade 5 and Other Updates

So a long time ago in a galaxy of shitty university times, I was studying science education and pretty much had resigned myself to become a math or science teacher (if not an archaeologist). But no longer! Anyway, in my editing course we’ve been looking at the Flesch-Kincaid readability scoring system for passages/books. I used to use this on every freaking thing I could lay my eyes on. It was brilliant. It’s not the most accurate equation for adult fiction, especially if the work has run-on sentences or falls under the genre of “chick-lit”. In any case, I decided I wanted to use it for the rest of my book reviews from this point on—allons-y

Here is the formula:

0.39*(number of words/number of sentences) + 11.8*(number of syllables/number of words) — 15.59 = readability score, as a grade level 

number of words/number of sentences is the Average Sentence Length (ASL): I usually choose about three to five sentences and do a word count for those. I do this three or four times before I’m satisfied by a mode number. I do not average out the numbers.

number of syllables/number of words is the Average Syllables per Word (ASW): I choose about two sentences for this, especially if they are excessively lengthy. I like keep it around 20-35 words. Keep in mind, you could even just use two and a half sentences or something. You’re counting words here, not sentences. I also take three or four of these calculations before I find an appropriate mode I can use. 

Also, before trying this at home, please remember your BEDMAS/PEMDAS rules. Brackets/Parentheses, Exponents, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction.

As an example, here are my calculations for Fifty Shades of Grey, based on various passages throughout the book. 

0.39*14 + 11.8*1.3 = 5.21

So what does this mean? Simply put, the reading score for Fifty Shades of Grey is at a grade five reading level. This puts it on par with books such as The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan or Coraline by Neil Gaiman. It is important to note that the F-K score does not account for content and stylistic details of a book. While E.L. James’s masterpiece may be of a simplistic reading level, it is certainly not suitable for those of that level.

I have many calculations for middle school books that are actually at a level much higher than FSoG, but let’s not get into that…today. 

Instead, please waste your time on this extensive review of FSoG.

Adieu.

#5    #anti-feminist    #books    #caveman    #fifty    #five    #flesch    #fuckyeah    #goodreads    #grade    #grey    #intelligence    #kincaid    #lacking    #level    #literacy    #middle    #obtuse    #of    #offensive    #on    #poor    #readability    #reviews    #school    #sex    #shades    #simple    #whatever    #writing    

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Book on Trial #39: [We’ve] Reached [the end.]

Note: I’ll keep this short, unlike this book (not as bad as Insurgent though).

Spoilers are highly likely.

Title: Reached

Author: Condie, Ally

Keywords: Deserts, rebels, government, adventure, YA, teen, dystopia, love, friendship, disease, cure, society, rising, disappointment, betrayal, science, fish.

Recommended For: 12+

Rating: image

Sentence: I sentence Ally Condie to the same mundane existence as the Pilot.

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Review: 

I can’t say I disliked this book, but I also cannot say I liked it. While I had high hopes after the first installment, I came to realize very soon after that the books are drier than a pile of old bones…in a desert. There’s no humour in times of disease; no light at the end of this transition; no passion, though there’s art, its creation and appreciation.

I can’t feel for the characters because I barely like them. Xander and Indie might be the only two characters I felt comfortable enough to feel for. Everything about this book is nostalgic and annoyingly stuck on how people have failed.

So the Society is the Rising? Isn’t that the story with any extreme forms of government? They are both the same, even if they try not to be. (Although in this case the Society actually literally inserts itself into the Rising so it seems like a different government, but it isn’t.) 

The sad part is that Condie has so much to say that I can really appreciate. Choices; good, bad and the grey bits in between; rebellion, but also knowing when it should be about people rather than the war. It’s great in that sense, but things are not laid out completely. These are all half-baked ideas that could’ve been so much more passionate. 

On top of all that, the reader will remember bits and pieces of what Cassia has lost and can already conclude things for her even before she has, which is super annoying. Even without the full story, it’s easy to see that Cassia is focused on the wrong questions, and when she does get the answers, how do they help anything?

And I have to complain, how is Cassia not pissed at being used so much? She seems indifferent to me, and I don’t trust that. I do not trust a head Archivist that punishes their own trader for stealing, but gets away with it herself. I don’t trust a pilot that is not the Pilot everyone needs.

I liked the introduction of voting and Anna being a person for the people. But there was not much expansion. I think I’d be more interested in an expanded story/look at the people struggling to the Otherlands. I want to see the Otherlands. I want to read about the vanishings. I want more from Indie’s perspective. And Caleb. And the Pilot (as annoyingly unimportant as he was, in the end). These seem like interesting stories, while Cassia’s is all about her curing Ky and remembering.

The author’s words felt as empty as Xander, when he as faced by the judgement of Oker’s people. It feels like she was tired and so over this. But at least it’s sort of over. It was like the biggest okay guy moment ever.

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#reached    #ally    #condie    #book    #on    #trial    #gr    #goodreads    

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Too Many Books; No More Space!

I am going to let you in on a little secret…I have more books in my room than I safely have space for. Whenever I find my room is getting cluttered, packed, and stuffy, I try to clear off my floor and create a more efficient shelving system.

If you are using every flat surface in your room for books, including your floor, here is what I do in my time of desperation. Besides, your floor is for clothes (but actually not, because I am such a neat freak despite my pack-rat habits)!

What you will need:

  1. A clean bookshelf extension or short wooden shoe rack or anything that comes up off the floor and you can easily slide around.
  2. Newspaper or protective sheet (you probably wouldn’t need this with a short shoe rack).
Directions:
1. Lay down protective material or paper in the size of the shelf extension. In this case I used brown parcel wrapping paper. I don’t know why, but I had some. Place the shelf on top of the paper. Start shelving! 

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2. As you are stacking/shelving, keep the larger books at the bottom of the pile, but also keep the ones you are most likely to read first towards the front. Try to keep all sagas, series, trilogies together. You may see that I have not because the others are lost to the depths of my other shelving units.

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3. It seems strange that I started the stacking on top, but most of the books I have are in hardcover format. To protect the ones I like best (because I’m apparently a really pessimistic realist and recognize that something at some point might get damaged), I place them on the top of this extension.

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4. I’m not saying the ones at the bottom are less important, just less pretty or new. :D But anyway, I stack them the same because I like to make the most of the space given to me (I gave it to myself). I push everything bigger to the back of the shelf, and make room for small hardcovers and paperbacks up front.

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5. Ta-da! All full of the leftover books. You can even see the mass market paperbacks I placed at the bottom. On the side, where I had a little extra room, I added thinner books with their spines vertical.

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6. I thought I was done, but then I uncovered more books on a chair. I think these are all my ARCs and giveaways. Time to squeeze them in!

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7. Alright, so I added books in, rearranged them even, and placed my most immediate ones near the top and front. Three of the books in this photo aren’t even mine! I’m either borrowing and need to return it or I bought it for someone else. In between the front and second stack I have vertically shelved two books and placed three dust jackets. I remove the dust jackets out of habit when I’m reading or messing about with a naked book (sexy times). I usually just place them on my desk, but since I am always using my desk, I’ve got the books to hold them for me!

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Don’t have enough room for even this little guy on your floor? Have you tried your closet?

Top shelf:

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More of top shelf:

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And I used to use this fold-able hanging shelf for books, but it’s now being used for DVDs/Blu-rays. Keep in mind that though this shelf is strong, it won’t properly hold heavy hardcovers (on the inside the shelves dip down too much). I used it mostly for lighter paperbacks.

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Happy shelving!

#too    #many    #books    #no    #more    #space    #reading    #writing    #gr    #goodreads    #love    #dictionary    #heavy    #shelf    #extension    #ikea    #show    #rack    #paper    #protective    #diy    #do    #it    #yourself    #cloud    #atlas    #edgar    #allan    #poe    #diana    

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Book Review: The Raven Boys

Note: I’ve decided I do not have enough time for the book on trial layout for this really, really quick review I did on GR. I am working 45 hours per week and am back in school. Although it is online, it is decidedly time-consuming. So it’s lucky when I even post once a week.

There are sort of spoilers. Though the book spoils things from the beginning. Things we haven’t even seen yet! :D

I know many people love Stiefvater’s Mercy Falls trilogy, but I have to say that I am glad she has come out with these brilliant plot-focused teen books. They stray away from the wishy-washy (and lovey-dovey) nature of the Mercy Falls trilogy and become more about the characters and the story that needs to be told. I am a huge fan of The Scorpio Races, and now The Raven Boys. Seriously, Maggie, this shit is golden.

The funny thing about this first installment is that it actually is about its namesake. Four raven boys, all tousled, scarred and touched in different ways by a girl named Blue and this quest for something magical, and bigger than them. 

In some ways, Maggie’s storytelling reminds me of the late DWJ, which I highly recommended she take as a compliment (don’t even ask how much money I have spent gathering up her original UK firsts). DWJ would include romance, to be sure, but it wasn’t straightforward, and it wasn’t about creating a love triangle. It was a story that flowed out from somewhere deep. And my literary-god, do I love my damaged characters. Especially when I am so unfamiliar with their situation, but somehow the writing makes me feel enough compassion to actually be hurt when those characters are hurt. 

I know that is a lot of emotion, but I just feel like there is something about Maggie’s writing (mostly) that gets me and what I want to read. I don’t think this will be true of most people. I just think that everyone has some author’s writing that they connect with instantly, especially at a certain point in their life. Mine has always been DWJ and Neil Gaiman, but occasionally someone else will come along, and practically have me on a lead.

Now it sounds like a raving review (haha) for ONLY a four-star rating, but that’s only because I like to be honest (not usually, lol). I really, really love Maggie’s writing and the idea of this story, but I was not entirely satisfied with this book. But that’s okay, I suspect this trilogy will wow me in ways those damn wolves couldn’t. Ravens, ftw!

Also the ending was very reminiscent of Nevermore by Kelly Creagh with the whole creating Chainsaw bsns.

#maggie    #stiefvater    #raven    #boys    #book    #on    #trial    #review    #no    #time    #goodreads    #gr    #dwj    #neil    #gaiman    #young    #adult    #teen    #ya    

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Book on Trial #37: Stormdancer

Note: I can finally post this as the book is coming out this week! :)

SPOILERS TO BE HAD.

Title: Stormdancer

Author: Kristoff, Jay

Keywords: Telepathy, animal-speak, griffins, stormdancing, storms, teens, Japanese, steampunk, fantasy, girl power, tattoos, drunken mess, bar fights, emperor, Asian-influenced, samurai, anime, science, powers, clans, fox, thunderbirds.

Recommended For: 12+, fans of Harry Potter, steampunk, and commonly seen anime, ninja/samurai stories.

Rating: image

Sentence: I sentence Jay Kristoff to a stormdance-off. I suspect he will win.

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Review: 

Initial reaction: “I was reminded of AtlantisEonAvatar: The Last AirbenderHow to Train Your DragonCrouching Tiger, Hidden DragonGladiator, and The Hunger Games, over the course of this entire book (in varying degrees). But only in the best ways, which I’ll elaborate later.”

Let me start off by saying that this book is not perfect, nor do I demand everyone read it. I really enjoyed this book and you, whoever you may be, will likely read much about this book after it has been released. That does not mean you will like it. I really enjoy steampunk, but I don’t think all steampunk was really meant for me. Most YA steampunk actually sucks or isn’t what I’d consider steampunk (yes, my nose is all up in the air rejecting YA, even though I love it too) and it certainly is not meant for everyone to enjoy. 

Stormdancer is just the right amount of dark steampunk that I can get and nod at without argument. But Stormdancer is also many other things that I can easily get sick of; I do not normally read; and I watch and read too much of already so it’s overkill. That’s why I was impressed by how much I could stand some of the themes and aspects I had seen time and time again.

Kristoff takes things that are sorely overdone and then kicks them altogether into some sort of crazy-ass contraption of symbiosis. All the elements feed off each other and they make beautiful, stormy music; the conductor being Kristoff.

I will admit that the beginning was pretty slow until about eight or so chapters in. It’s the first book in a trilogy so I always allow this sort of lag for world-building and character development. But that does not mean the plot had not already rooted itself into the reader’s mind. 

I think what killed it for me was the complexity of Yukiko’s relationship with the green-eyed samurai. On the one hand, he is fucking gorgeous and he likes her. On the other, he is an awful, back-stabbing asshole (but there is probably more to it than that). Sure, there’s that almost love triangle that is so typical of YA these days, but there’s also sex. So fuck all y’all. Finally, something as realistic and impulsive as teens can be. And don’t you dare try to deny that. I’m not trying to generalize, I am just saying…okay, fuck it. I am generalizing. I used to be an impulsive teen, so I think I still (sort of) know.

Also, that last fight was pretty damn awesome.

Anyway, I do not want to really spoil this book as it is more enjoyable reading all of it play out. This would probably make a pretty decent anime movie or show, by the way. Just sayin’. There was Howl’s Moving Castle, yes, but there is also this (nudge, nudge Miyazaki).

#stormdancer    #kristoff    #jay    #teen    #ya    #steampunk    #griffins    #harry    #potter    #yukiko    #burou    #book    #gr    #goodreads