Skip to content

You’re Funny. Book Reviews Just Aren’t.

Look at all those responses on what books people find funny!
You are funny people, people.

If you are all relatively funny, why is there no such thing as a funny book review? Are professional book reviewers decidedly unfunny? Or do their editors say to them: “Whoa Jim, your kind of off the reservation with this humor. Could you tone it down chief?”

These are weighty questions.

I’m sorry, I thought books was a form of entertainment. We take what we read seriously, but not ourselves too seriously. Right?

The reviews I read are generally (1) terribly long (2) void of the coveted punchline and generally (3) safe and dry.

Well, I’ll take safe and dry in a thunderstorm.
But in a book review, well, it kind of sucks.

Okay, I suppose it all depends on what you are looking for in your book review.
Here’s what I am looking for in my book review: 1. Finding new stuff I don’t yet know about and 2. A quick take on whether it’s worth reading.

But Mr. and Mrs. Book Reviewer, you don’t do that. No, you do not.
You speak in euphemisms and cloudy language littered with buzzwords. The Guardian even made fun of you today, inviting people to play Book Review Bingo. Do you understand this? It means you talk a lot of crazy book reviewer nonsense.

I think Tina Brown is on to something with The Daily Beast–with her straight shooting tagline: “Read This, Skip That.”  Yep, Tina girlfriend, I am with you on that. (Although your choices in books stink, surprisingly. Weird.)

On Sunday, when I open the New York Times Book Review, I fantasize about reading something like this: “It is obvious that the author has incredible talent. Unfortunately, she apparently locked it away in the closet when she was writing this book.” Or maybe: “This book made me so crazy with appreciation I stopped an old couple at Costco and insisted they buy it.” It’s sad. Mostly because I need to work on my fantasies.

Listen. Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert (example: him recently interviewing Rebecca Skloot of Henrietta Lacks) are not going to win any literary criticism awards. But it’s books meets fun. And sometimes I kind of cringe when the author really keeps trying to talk about the book and doesn’t realize that Colbert is royally teasing. But at least it’s entertaining. That’s a place I like to be.

Every BookSnob I know personally names friends and families as their first source for books. Because your sister will say: “Blech. Stunk.” or your friend will start talking really fast and pounding the table as her coffee spills and says, “No, no, you have to read it. Really, it was awesome.”

But the reviewers, they leave me safe, dry, and, obviously, slightly bothered.
Maybe I am just hanging out with the wrong people, people.

What reviews do you read (by individual or publication) or do you mostly rely on friends and families recommendations?

Share

Advertisements
46 Comments Post a comment
  1. Girl, that was a damn good read. I agree. Book reviews that are too precious make me annoyed. And by “annoyed” I mean, “not smart enough to understand what the hell they’re talking about.”

    March 18, 2010
  2. Diane Johnson #

    loved this posting katy! I did stop a stranger at Costco a made her but the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I would not put it in funny, but my new hero is in that book, I LOVED the book could not, would not put it down cover to cover. As for reviewers, I don’t read them. I go to friends, and you the booksnob.

    March 19, 2010
    • Yes, I have that habit too at my bookstore, unfortunately. Someone will have something in their hand and won’t even ask me, but I’ll say: “oh that was awesome.” or “I would skip that”. I rely on my friends and family mostly too.

      March 22, 2010
  3. Peter #

    While in law school, the school held a symposium on “hermeneutics.” Fair ’nuff (although, if you’re looking for dry, trust me, look no further). The problem was that all the texts and speakers were, well, turgid: to heighten how smart and important they were, they were dense beyond belief. It is the same with the books reviews you mention: aloof pomposity passes for “intelligence,” and, we, the great unwashed, are supposed to rise and fall with their every word. Phooey!

    I think the great unwashed are smarter than they are given credit. We know what we like and dislike, but, sometimes, we just need a good guide. Enter Katy! Thank you, BookSnob (although I’m still not comfortable with that title: reminds me too much of those hermeneutic folks!)!

    March 19, 2010
    • Mr. Peter : ), you are using words with lots of syllables that I have never even heard of!!!I am going to try and do postings with only single syllable words next… As for BookSnob moniker, yes, it was meant to be tongue in cheek a bit. But I hear you…

      March 22, 2010
      • Peter #

        I dare you to do it! I dare you! I do not think you can. The post must be on point, the post must not bore, the post must be “the right stuff”! Go girl! Whoops! Did I just use one syl lab le?

        March 26, 2010
  4. carole sinclair #

    Before relying on BookSnob for all of my book suggestions my source was the NYT Book review and dare I write it, oh what the hell. I would skim People Magazine and check out their selection of books AND music. Okay. I said it. I read People Magazine when I’m in line at the grocery store. But let me make myself clear, I DO NOT subscribe. ; )

    March 19, 2010
    • Ah, the confessions of a booksnob! I actually read their reviews from time to time. They are straight and to the point. I can appreciate that!

      March 22, 2010
  5. Mary #

    The funniest review I ever read was one of Kenny Loggins’ book about finding love with his hydrotherapist. How could it not be funny? The reviewer ended by saying that usually romance turns to cr*p, but this time it was the other way around.

    March 20, 2010
    • Thanks Mary. I would say my big revelation is that Kenny Loggins writes books! who knew?

      March 22, 2010
  6. As a blogger who attempts to write ‘funny’ I would certainly appreciate a witty review over a stiff one. Sometimes even positive reviews will turn off a reader because they will lump the book in with the dull review. lol I think I’d rather be trashed humorously.

    May 30, 2012
  7. Learn About Go Green #

    Thank you for any other informative blog. The place else may just I get that kind of information written in such an ideal method? I have a undertaking that I’m just now operating on, and I’ve been on the look out for such information.

    June 20, 2012
  8. Reblogged this on anitalang13 and commented:
    I lOVE this – such a great sense of humour!

    July 14, 2012
  9. What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable know-how
    about unexpected feelings.

    March 5, 2013
  10. Del #

    I every time spent my half an hour to read this blog’s articles or reviews every day along with a mug of coffee.

    April 17, 2013
  11. I think everything published made a lot of sense. But, consider this,
    suppose you typed a catchier post title? I am not saying your content
    is not solid., but what if you added something to possibly grab a person’s attention? I mean Youre Funny. Book Reviews Just Arent. | BookSnob. is kinda plain. You ought to look at Yahoo’s home page and see how they write news headlines
    to grab viewers to click. You might try adding a video or a related
    picture or two to get readers interested about everything’ve got to say. In my opinion, it might bring your blog a little livelier.

    April 18, 2013
  12. s go-karts, bumper boats, or an imitation NASCAR track, you.
    Of note, Jimmie Johnson has won the race twice, in 2003 and
    2006, as has Mark Martin (1998, 2005). A driver representing Roush Racing has claimed six titles in the last 13 races.

    April 22, 2013
  13. This piece of writing provides clear idea in favor of
    the new people of blogging, that genuinely how to do blogging.

    April 25, 2013
  14. Very shortly this web page will be famous amid all blogging viewers, due
    to it’s nice articles

    April 25, 2013
  15. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to
    send you an email. I’ve got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

    April 29, 2013
  16. Great site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    April 30, 2013
  17. Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

    May 7, 2013
  18. I am truly thankful to the owner of this site who has shared
    this impressive article at at this time.

    May 8, 2013
  19. I just like the helpful info you supply for your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and take a look at once more right here regularly. I am relatively sure I’ll be told lots
    of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

    May 8, 2013
  20. America is a “microwave” country, and it is not surprising that teens are resorting to the dangerous
    gastric band to solve an overweight problem. Bariatric surgery, the surgical reduction of stomach volume, has been performed for decades in the United States.
    t take it thinly because it is actually costly surgery and not getting the right outcome may let down you.

    May 12, 2013
  21. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US government has announced only last
    September, the global average for the period January to August 2010 is 580F (14.

    Support lifestyles that are more environmentally-friendly.
    Global warming is caused by burning hydrocarbons and depleting forests, not by the sun.

    May 12, 2013
  22. certainly like your web site however you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts.
    A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very
    troublesome to inform the reality on the other hand I will surely come again again.

    May 22, 2013
  23. In the beginning it was really difficult, but in about one week of practicing guitar
    each day for fifteen minutes I began to sound pretty good.
    This is a lesser known method that a lot of newbie guitar players tend to
    miss out on when they initially learn how to play the guitar.
    It definitely wasn’t easy, I would try quitting, then a week later I would go back to smoking again.

    May 24, 2013
  24. Hi, the whole thing is going sound here and ofcourse every one is
    sharing facts, that’s actually excellent, keep up writing.

    May 27, 2013
  25. Great goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too fantastic. I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you are saying and the way in
    which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of
    to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you.
    This is actually a wonderful web site.

    June 4, 2013
  26. I have read so many content about the blogger lovers but this
    article is actually a fastidious article, keep it up.

    June 4, 2013
  27. This piece of writing will help the internet visitors for building
    up new weblog or even a blog from start to end.

    June 9, 2013
  28. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any
    issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My site has a lot of
    exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement. Do you know any ways to help reduce content from being ripped off? I’d truly appreciate it.

    June 18, 2013
  29. I have read so many articles about the blogger lovers however this article is in fact a
    fastidious piece of writing, keep it up.

    July 9, 2013
  30. Hurrah! At last I got a website from where I can really get valuable facts concerning my study and knowledge.

    July 10, 2013
  31. Very good article. I will be going through many of these issues as well.
    .

    July 10, 2013
  32. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the layout of
    your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content
    so people could connect with it better. Youve got an
    awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could
    space it out better?

    July 12, 2013
  33. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thanks

    July 14, 2013
  34. I every time spent my half an hour to read this webpage’s articles every day along with a mug of coffee.

    July 15, 2013
  35. First off I would like to say great blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to
    writing. I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts
    out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost
    just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any suggestions or hints? Appreciate it!

    July 16, 2013
  36. Jimmie Johnson is 5-points behind the Sprint Cup leader
    Carl Edwards and will enter NASCAR predictions and offers decent betting value at +600 in Crown Royal odds with 3-career wins
    at Richmond. Do you have the nerve to take on the fastest go-kart track in
    Pigeon Forge. That being said, Hamlin has an average
    finish of 8.

    July 21, 2013
  37. elbertd79 #

    I don’t write a comment, but after reading through a few of the remarks on Youre Funny. Book Reviews Just Arent. | BookSnob.. I do have 2 questions for you if you do not mind. Could it be only me or do some of the responses appear as if they are written by brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing on other sites, I’d like to follow you.
    Could you list of the complete urls of your shared sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed,
    or linkedin profile?

    July 26, 2013
  38. Good day! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m absolutely enjoying your
    blog and look forward to new updates.

    July 27, 2013
  39. Its like you learn my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, such as
    you wrote the ebook in it or something. I believe that you can do with a few
    % to pressure the message home a bit, however other than that, that is
    great blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

    January 29, 2014
  40. That was really good! I’ll keep this in my mind next time u write my reviews! Thanks!

    July 23, 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: