June 6, 2014

I Is Book Reviewer!

For the first time in roughly six months, I wrote a book review.

Now, I bet you're asking yourself, or rather, asking me, "And this is news why?" (my friends, this kind of statement regularly gets me into trouble at work, but rest assure, it won't happen here). Well, to bring almost everyone here up to speed, from late spring 2012 through early fall 2013, I wrote quite a few book reviews on Amazon, the bulk of which were contractually required by my soon-to-be ex-publisher. If you count the ones on my other blog, I've written roughly 45+ book reviews, somewhat evenly split between fiction and non-fiction.

To also bring everyone up to speed, and for my longtime regulars you can skip this paragraph, I'll read/take a crack at almost any genre under the sun. I say almost, because the one genre that I cannot deal with/understand no matter how many times I've attempted to read it, is literary. The main reason, apart from almost every story being incredibly formulaic and MFA driven, is that I get the feeling that the writer is being wickedly condescending and/or arrogant towards me.

In short, the publishing world can take the literary genre and force feed it to the pretentious snobs that occupy the various nanny governments that are running the country into the ground (1984).

However, be that as it may, I decided to give another book written by an MFA degree holder/university professor another crack. I check out of my public library the other day, a book by Brooks Haxton entitled Fading Hearts On The River: A Life of High Stakes Poker. Suffice to say, even though I finished the book in two days, which is a rarity with a book that I don't like, I was not impressed. To be honest, the only thing I was impressed with was the tightness and clarity of the prose. That was about the only thing that allowed me to give the book a three star rating.

One thing I want to point out, is that I thought long and very hard to find something positive about the book. This is directly due to the fact that during my early years of writing, I was absolutely crucified to point of almost no return with personal vitriol directed towards me about my writing. Because of that, I've always tried to find something positive to write about in my book reviews.

However, trying to find something positive while also trying not to sound completely fawning over a given book (I've given a grand total of five 5 star reviews, with everything else being 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 stars) proved to be too much for me to deal with, and with the exception of two book reviews for two good blogger friends, I completely stopped writing reviews of any kind.

But now enough time has gone by and I feel more comfortable of offering my opinion on books that I've read. I'm thinking about doing another book review on a debut novel by Jon Sealy, although in my opinion, this book suffered partially from the same malady as the one previously mentioned.

I should also mention one other thing when it comes to choosing a book to read: I'm not overly impressed with a writer who has won a slew of awards for their novels or their writing. You have to convince me from the jacket blurb to pick up your book, randomly open it to a page and start reading. If you can do that, then you got a reader who will actively search out your product. If you can't, chances are pretty good that I'll never darken your doorstep again.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.


  1. A book has to grab you and no amount of awards won by an author are guaranteed to do that. Like you, I have little patience for dull stories. Life's too short to read bad novels or drink crappy wine.

  2. Scarlet: I agree, life is indeed too short to read bad novels or crappy wine.

    I haven't read too many dull stories in my life, but this one is in my top five list.

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  4. Agreed. I've read award-winning books and thought, WTF?

  5. M: This one pretty much left me empty and unfulfilled. For me, it really was a waste of time checking it out of the library.


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