Monday, September 10, 2012

Musing Monday...and a Subject of Note

Let's check out this weeks Musing Monday question, as always, from the desk of MizB at Should Be Reading...

This week’s musing — courtesy of – asks…
Do you take notes while you read?

See, they even start with the first letter, so it must be the right answer!

I used to take some notes for my reviews but, as you can see if you read the recent ones, I gave that up.
Seriously, I used to write a few things on post-it notes, but not much. An idea here, a name of a character there. And arrow pointing to a few lines from the book that I might want to quote. Now, I gave up on the writing handwriting is so bad I often couldn't read them..and just use the little arrow post-its to mark a line. Assuming I have the post-its with me. On e-books, I sometimes use the "highlight" feature, but usually forget to look back at the ones I highlighted.
So no, I am not really a note taker.
And NEVER in the book.
That is a mortal sin.
OK, on a totally different subject, I just wanted to vent for a minute about a book related subject that has been in the news recently.
Bad enough was the article in recent week about a company that would sell you a review. Are you an author who wants 5 or 20 or 50 reviews posted to Amazon? NO problem, just buy the package you want. Was there a promise that they would all be 5 star? Well, they were!

I have written about this before.
Go to Amazon and look at a book that is not hugely popular. OK, a book you never heard of.
If it has a 4 1/2 or 5 star average, you are on the right trail. Read the reviews. It is easy to pick out the ringers.
"This is the best book that I have ever read. I laughed, I cried. It should win the Noble Prize. The author is a genius!"
You get the idea.
Then go look at the reviewer's other reviews.
There won't be any. Maybe one.
I assume they create a new account for each review.
That is the number one..or two..giveaway.

And then there is the disturbing "sock monkey reviews" episode you may have been reading about.
An author, an actual bestselling author, created fake identities online and went out, praising his own books and running down the ones of other authors. Posting bad reviews for their books, writing glowing ones under his fake names for his own.

And sad.
As someone who writes reviews and read reviews I find it all very sad. Should I even bother to post my reviews on places like Amazon or Goodreads or Barnes and Noble? Do readers now assume any good review may be a fake and any bad one might just be trying to undermine the author? And can I believe the reviews I read? I will tell you from, often you can not. I have read a book that got good reviews (yes, maybe TOO good) and found the book almost unreadable. On second look, those glowing words started to look a bit tarnished.
As someone wrote about this..the Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away. Buyer Beware!


  1. In order to feed my habit of buying Moleskines I continue to take notes like I have all through college and grad school. HAH.. seriously I Am just in the habit! AND I agree with the sock puppet and BS reviews. I will continue to write reviews and post them .. but I am disillusioned with this horrific practice!

    here is my Musing Monday I do love this meme!

  2. I do need to take notes, esp. on those senior moment's days lol.

    I hope that when the consumers, do realize what has been happening with reviews, they will be able to pick out the truthful ones. I will continue to depend on book bloggers as to what books I purchase.

  3. I used to take a few notes or, like you, scribble a bit on a post it. Since my long review days seem to be over, those have gone by the wayside. As to the reviews I read on Amazon, etc., well, I really don't read them so much anymore. I, too, got to the point where they kind of all sounded alike and seemed faintly suspicious. Now I know why my Spidey sense was tingling. I trust my blogging friends way more because I feel I know you guys and your tastes.

  4. My note taking days are few and far between. I read a book this month that got a lot of five star reviews, bought the book, read it, and gave it a one star review on Goodreads, I wondered if we had all read the same book. So now I know the rest of the story......

    1. Yep, take a look at those 5 star ones..I am very suspicious anymore.

  5. Notes? Nope. But then i dont do reviews, maybe i would if i did .. as for reviews .. i have to laugh, i buy a lot of books, but i read only one at a time. within a week of buying an eBook i get an email from asking me to write a review .. i cant, because i havent gotten to read it yet .. but i guess in light of this obscene review-gate stuff i ought to read faster so i can contribute a legit review

  6. I use post it flags from time to time when I read but not very often.

    I'm with you on the Amazon reviews - they must be taken with a grain of salt.

  7. I'm a scribbler on paper for notes, nothing big or detailed. Here's mine!

  8. I take note is I am on my Nook and the book is for a book club pick. I find it sooo easy to take notes on there. But if I have to stop and write it down I don't.

  9. I don't take notes. I haven't since I was in school which is a long time ago. LOL

  10. I don't take notes either … and if I do for some reason, usually they don't make sense when I sit down to actually use them. And nothing pleases me more than being the "voice of reason" on an obvious set of fake reviews. It bugs me when I see it, and if I can chime in and offer my own "truth," all the better.

  11. How pathetic is it that a company can sell a review? Geeez, what next? This is a despicable practice. I believe bloggers' reviews more than anything else.


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