I tend to use Amazon more as a resource about books than to actually purchase books. I can find publishing dates, latest editions, cover art and synopses. I can also read several pages of a book I might be interested in ordering, and I like the age recommendations if I am shopping for a young person. But, above all, I am always drawn to the reader reviews, especially reviews of books I have already read myself.
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Then there are the reviews that I'm drawn to somewhat masochistically, those that give one-star ratings to a work that has moved me inexpressibly or influenced me indelibly. I thought it might be fun (well, depending on what your definition of "fun" is) to see what some of those one-star folks had to say about a few of my favorite books, as well as some of the books that appeared on others' lists.
Here for your amusement, completely unedited, are some heartfelt one-star Amazon book reviews! (I have left off any names, although most of them are written anonymously.)[sic throughout] (Jeanette Demain, Salon,Amazon reviewers think this masterpiece sucks,” Salon, 2 April, 2010)
The American Bottom
When people are looking for sure signs of the decline of the U.S., I would think they would need to explain themselves some if what they point to is too much allowance for the amateur and an abominable widespread inclination to thumb noses to betters. Whatever the well-wrought philosophical poeticism of the founding documents, it seems to me that it's the equivalent of a rude and impromptu finger to the king, which marked the spirit of its founding.
Many have hoped to costume themselves "betters" by mimicking gentry bemusement / irritation at the mob. I don't at all recall any great writer having much good to say about them, though. "Amateur" can be redeemed; "pretender," "hangers-on": not so much.
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Why evil may be good for the humanities
For some time now, those in English departments who sought to teach what made Great Works great, were on the defense. Departments were essentially "owned" by those who "problematized" the works, making them seem more historical documents, full of misogynistic, homophobic, racist stuff, than works of eternal genius to be studied and worshipped.
I wonder if our instinct to use the past to show how depraved our contemporaries are is now once again so strong that the tendency will once again be to make great men Gods. Gods we can enjoin, that will buoy our laughing at former neighbors and friends, whose unfamiliarity with Beckett, discomfort with Austin, means they have earned their torture, before the cracks open up, they fall away, and die.
Richard Brody shared a link.Moderator · November 20 at 3:38pm I'm obsessed with Bringing Up Baby, which is on TCM at 6 PM (ET). It's the first film by Howard Hawks that I ever saw, and it opened up several universes to me, cinematic and otherwise. Here's the story. I was seventeen or eighteen; I had never heard of Hawks until I read Godard's enthusiastic mention of him in one of the early critical pieces in "Godard on Godard"—he called Hawks "the greatest American artist," and this piqued my curiosity. So, the next time I was in town (I… I was out of town at college for the most part), I went to see the first Hawks film playing in a revival house, which turned out to be "Bringing Up Baby." I certainly laughed a lot (and, at a few bits, uncontrollably), but that's not all there was to it. I had never read Freud, but I had heard of Freud, and when I saw "Bringing Up Baby," its realm of symbolism made instant sense; it was obviou…
A Polish zoologist and his wife maintain a zoo which is utopia, realized. The people who work there are blissfully satisfied and happy. The caged animals aren't distraught but rather, very satisfied. These animals have been very well attended to, and have developed so healthily for it that they almost seem proud to display what is distinctively excellent about them for viewers to enjoy. But there is a shadow coming--Nazis! The Nazis literally blow apart much of this happy configuration. Many of the animals die. But the zookeeper's wife is a prize any Nazi officer would covet, and the Nazi's chief zoologist is interested in claiming her for his own. So if there can be some pretence that would allow for her and her husband to keep their zoo in piece rather than be destroyed for war supplies, he's willing to concede it.
The zookeeper and his wife want to try and use their zoo to house as many Jews as they can. They approach the stately quarters of Hitler's zoologist …