I guess I got lazy about egosurfing, because I only just noticed that my book has two reviews on Amazon, and both are horrible. My average “grade” is 2 1/2 stars, and the review currently at the top of the page starts with the inauspicious words “This is an incredibly miserable book”. God, I wouldn’t buy my book based on that. But heck, you know what, I don’t think the book is that “miserable”. I actually think it’s pretty damn good.

I actually wondered whether “Edwin C.” had something personal against me. Perhaps he’s just, as he writes, “really upset to have wasted my money on this trash” that he thinks may have been “written by a college student”, full of “superficial dribble filled with lame cliches and suffocating amount of block quotes”. “Edwin C.” himself is a college student, according to his profile. Maybe he was assigned the book and didn’t like having to read it?

Ah well. I don’t know about the clichÈs, but I like block quotes myself – I love actually getting to see the stuff itself, and I love it when authors give me lots of examples and show connections between them and to theory rather than just theorising in abstract. People like different things.

I think I’ll take the other review as a compliment, despite it’s less-than-euphoric three stars: “Expected more. Not bad. But there is more to study about blogging. I should write it. In fact, I will.” Click through to the reviewer’s profile and you’ll see he has lots of really interesting books in there – google him and it’s Michael Hemmingson, “Michael Hemmingson is a novelist, short story writer, literary critic, cultural anthropologist, qualitative researcher, playwright, and screenwriter who has been called ìRaymond Carver on acidî by literary guru Larry McCaffery and ìa disciple of a quick and dirty literatureî by the American Book Review.[1]” Even three stars by someone like that is pretty awesome – and I’d love to read a semi-fictionalised, autoethnographic criticism of blogging. I hope he does write about blogging.

I do agree with “Edwin C.” on one thing, though: “just use the “Click to Look Inside” feature on Amazon and check out the content and style and judge for yourself.”

I’m going to make sure I write more reviews of scholarly books I’ve found useful. Just so that Amazon.com isn’t full of reviews by the people who had to read a book for class and hated it.

And you know, if you’ve read my book and liked it, I’d love a review on Amazon.com or elsewhere. Even if you hated it, I do appreciate feedback.

10 thoughts on ““raymond carver on acid” says my book is “not bad”!

  1. Martin

    Well I just bought a copy anyway so there.

  2. Jill Walker Rettberg

    Well thank you Martin!

  3. Anonymous

    The UK Amazon site only has the five star review from down under – nice for the average. The French site has nothing. So far.

  4. Olava

    I think your book is a good lead into a world that not that many actually know of. So I tell them to read your book as a nice way into this world of socializing on web. So there you go 😀 It is a good book for many more than just the people that is already out there blogging 😉

  5. Jill Walker Rettberg


  6. William Patrick Wend

    Ah well. I donít know about the clichÈs, but I like block quotes myself – I love actually getting to see the stuff itself, and I love it when authors give me lots of examples and show connections between them and to theory rather than just theorising in abstract. People like different things.

    I love them also and use block quotes extensively. It feels hypertextual to me: a way to (hyper)link to another book or article within the constraints of print.

  7. Wouter

    I like your book. It gives a clear view of blogging. While writing my thesis on blogging and trust, which was finished just before publication of your book, I used several publications that you reference too. While reading the book – after finishing my thesis – I realized it gave me a very clear picture I had been looking for, while writing. In a way it completed my thoughts and observations. It’s a pretty damn good book indeed.

  8. Michael Hemmingson

    Thanks for the shout. I may be doing a book for the Polity series on Twitter, or micro-blogging…

  9. Lucas

    I enjoyed the book too. Your writing tone is calm and you lay out the ideas very simply and easily. Any dead-trees book on blogging is going to be out of date pretty fast, so it’s good that you made your deposit into the archive at this point – it will be interesting to look back in 10 years and see how our understanding has changed. For instance, Serfaty’s book, which I found via yours, is a fascinating study of “online diaries”. It’s only 5 years old, but already seems dated – because blogs are no longer just online diaries.

    On the downside, my copy of your book is already falling apart – the glue binding is not holding it all together. Which makes me wonder – will you/have you published this book online? As a series of blog entries? Would you? (I reckon it’d be great if you did! Readers could contribute alterations and updates and comments which could lead to an amended second edition!)

  10. M-H

    I bought your book, Jill, and it’s just arrived. I will certainly review it on Amazon when I’ve actually read some of it.

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