1. Goodreads is an interesting site because a lot of people like to leave reviews for many of the books they read or for ones where they feel that their rating should be justified. It’s different than Amazon, where reviews are used exclusively for the purpose of telling other people about the product and whether they should buy it; Goodreads tracks everything a person reads and so odd reviews are more to be expected because every book ends up tracked the way “pleasure reads” generally are. It makes it odd to look at my home page, because the people I follow are regularly reading stuff from Mein Kampf to 50 Shades of Grey.

    I guess what I’m saying is that while Goodreads is public, the reviews themselves are not necessarily meant to have the same general audience as, say, Amazon, because people access them not just by looking up the book but by seeing what their friends are reading; they should be taken not exclusively as what a stranger thinks about a particular text but instead more like a conversation thread at a dinner party or on Facebook: not private, but certainly not conceptualized as public in the same way reviews on exclusively “review” sites or sites with a more vested interest in selling the book are.

  2. Nora Reed – Interesting. So in seeing them in isolation, outside of the conversational framework, I’m not seeing them the way they’re intended to be seen-read-used?

    I stumbled on them linked from Google Books, where I was looking some stuff up in Darwin, and found the whole notion of a “book review” of “Origin of Species” peculiar.

  3. That Dave is a tough reviewer. He sounds impressed with the book, but wasn’t impressed enough that the author basically invented and laid the foundation of an entire new sub-field of science before writing the seminal work on it. So an average 3 out of 5. High expectations that man. To be applauded.

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