Reviewing a boring book- can you?

I think reviewing books is one of the most tedious jobs in this Earth. Imagine the hardships of reading books quickly and within the short time frame, and compulsion to write review before the books become obsolete and unheard.

The book reviewers who do this job for Newspapers and Magazines will go through great difficulty, I guess, as it has to be reviewed quickly within few days of publications or when it is fresh and hogging the limelight.

There are thousands of books which get published each day. They will be published by all sorts of heard and unheard publishers and writers. In this age of media and glamour, the books published by some prominent and influential members of society from prominent and influential members of publications get more priority than ordinary ones. There will be more pressure on book reviewers to read and comment on those books more quickly than those published from ordinary ones!

Depending on the business and honesty of magazines and book reviewers, books get very good, or good or bad reviews. Sometimes, in addition to the merits and the demerits of books, other additional factors impact the reviews – most probably, the political affinity of authors and publishers, or economic advantage and dependency of publishers and reviewers etc.

The reviews and endorsements are well known in the realm of social media as well. This is an age of endorsements. We are used to this culture of endorsements from Orkut Days – getting testimonials/good reviews, of course, from our friends and writing and praising about them on their Orkut Wall. The similar facility is there in LinkedIn – Professional Social Network where you recommend someone on the basis of his/her works or on the basis of other factors which are best known to you.

Imagine the pain a reviewer goes through when he has to review the most boring or dull or books that does not make any sense – in other words the books written by Manjushree Thapa or the books of that standard. Sadly, the reviewer has to review it as it is his job and next day’s blog or Magazine demands that but who will understand his/her pains?

On the top of being boring, if the book has hundreds of pages!! I can feel their pain.

I am not sure if some reviewers scan the few pages from start, some pages from middle of the books and some from the last few pages and write review. It might be. Some may even read earlier reviews published in other magazines and foreign papers if the book is an international one and make their reviews based on multiple previously published reviews rather than on the basis of reading books. It all depends on honesty of reviewers!

In the past, I started writing reviews of books those I read. I did that for few books but I could not continue that. I hope I will start it again.

However, What I tried to do honestly was to post review only after I complete the books. It was fun but again, if you have to read low quality books, only the reader knows the pain that he goes through.

I am opening this topic today as we are approaching near to our Great Nepali Festival, the national festival of Nepal, Dashain 2069 and I saw in my Calender that the first day of Dashain, the Ghatasthapana, is on 16th October, 2012 (30 Asoj 2012). Many people have habits of reading during the long vacations and Nepalis do get a long vacation on the occasion of Dashain.

I suggest you please do read a good book and publish your review. If you like the book and publish your review, do let me know through comments in this blog.

Do read, do enjoy and do discard the low quality books! N do not forget to publish the review in your blog.


Super Freakonomics – A Book Review

In my previous post, I had reviewed the book called Freakonomics. At the end of the post, I had mentioned that the joint authors of Freakonomics have ventured in writing another similar and equally famous book called ‘SuperFreakonomics’. I have just finished reading the book called SuperFreakonomics and the review is here.

Generally, I read books buying. But, this time, I downloaded the book and took print of same in my office.  I cannot read soft copy as I do not find coherence and attachment on online reading except short news and columns. If you are interested in downloading this book and like to read, you can get the book from here. (However, you are advised to find out yourself if the e-book you are going to download whether comply copyright laws and if any violation, you alone would be responsible for any consequences, if any.)

Now, coming to the merits of the book, the book is interesting and since it is a sequel of the previous book Freakonomics, the subjects addressed here in SuperFreakonomics are also similarly freakish. The authors have chose very interesting subjects and tried to see their co-relation between economics and these simple topics which seemingly may never have any relation whatsoever in our mind. For example, the authors talk about economics of prostitution and it is very interesting to know that prostitution these days, has been reduced as compared to previous centuries. Thanx to consensual partners, friends and girlfriends and boyfriends. It also shows how the cost of prostitution is going down and shows oral sex is utterly cheap. J Anyway, the point is earning capacity, ability and differences between high class prostitutes – who are good looking, intelligent and ready to serve their customers and the low class street prostitutes. It also shows the violence involved in this profession.

The second interesting issue is about how to deal with terrorists. Is there any way where terrorists can be identified easily before they strike their target. There are also topics in the book regarding drunken driving versus drunken walking and from data, they show that may be drunken walking is always more riskier than drunken driving. They also deal with issues of longer life: the one who gets a noble prize is likely to live extra few years than the one who is just nominated. It seems same thing is also possible in Basketball Game. N the authors also discuss about the effect of name on academic performance and tenure in Universities. The Author having both surname and first name both starting from A seems to be much luckier to get academic nominations than the one having both starting from Z. want to change your name?

So, above are some of the topics that SuperFreakonomics deals with and comes the final topic that has been very much controversial. The topic is about Global Warming. Though the authors take all the topics lightly and try to find out simple and easy answer, in global warming, their easy answer looks something much simpler. They talk of sending some sulphur dioxide in stratosphere, which is as I understood some 25 kilometers above our land, and try to cool the earth and save us from global warming. I am not sure if this works but the Authors have been criticized for their ‘nonsensical’, ‘bizarre’ and for their unworkable approach. The authors have been criticized by New York Times Economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Crugman and other environmentalist for distorting the facts and figures and research of other scientist and economist. Whatever! But, on plain reading too, it looked the issues and ideas look less convincing to me also. So, this Chapter on Global Warming is something, I say, is less researched by Authors before they decided to write a book on it.

You can read other reviews of the books here, here, here, here and here. These reviews are both appreciation and criticisms of the books, especially on global warming chapter and the way to solve it. Overall, the book is good to read. May be, I already read something similar book – Freakonomics and since the matters are addressed and handled in similar manner, this time I found it less interesting but still enjoyed. I recommend you to read it once! Interestingly, the review on The Guardian also did not rate it so highly in comparison to Freakonomics.

In the series of books reading, I am reading next a book called Shantaram written by Gregory David Roberts. The book is about India, especially about Mumbai and autobiographical account and fiction of a person/author who escaped Australian Prison and forged a Passport and came to India. The book is very interesting, I know and what I also know is the book is very very bulky – something about thousand pages. Therefore, I will be taking something about a month; minimum may be, I guess, to complete the book. Therefore, in between reading of Shantaram, I plan to read some small book also – most probably of Manjushree Thapa or of Samrat Upadhyaya. Whatever I read, I come with updates and reviews.

Keep on Reading!