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Member: vegetrendian

CollectionsYour library (866), Owned (495), Currently reading (2), Read but unowned (321), Favorites (13), Ebook (48), All collections (866)

Reviews27 reviews

TagsFiction (715), American (371), Library (198), British (162), Canadian (161), First (123), NonFiction (121), Short Stories (92), Signed (85), In Translation (83) — see all tags

MediaNot set (2), Book (863), Paper Book (837), Audiobook (11), Ebook (8), Unknown (1)

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About meJust a guy who likes to read.
Reading now: "Giovanni's Room" by James Baldwin.

Recently read: "Utopia Avenue" by David Mitchell, "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout, "The End of Me" by John Gould, and "The Strange Case of Rachel K" by Rachel Kushner.

About my libraryThis is a selection of books I have read. There are more, but some I have forgotten and some are too embarassing (I didn't always possess such discerning taste in literature). As you may be able to tell I have a particular fondness for contemporary Western literature. The books are far more interesting than I am, so really you should have skipped this. It's not too late, quit reading now!

Though perhaps first a quick (now that I have finished writing it, I should warn you that ‘quick’ in this context is a wildly inappropriate misnomer) word on the rating system I have adopted.
Firstly I have only rated fiction (both short and novel length) any nonfiction, humour, etc is not rated. This is mainly because I do not read much nonfiction and so I don't feel qualified to rate it. Though of course this in no way implies that I read enough fiction; I consider it to be humanly impossible to read enough fiction. But I feel a tad more comfortable rating it because I have a better idea of what else is out there. Rating nonfiction would only embarrass me. I would undoubtedly rate a book fairly high and it would have to be pointed out to me that there are hundreds of others that explore the same issue that are far superior. Me reviewing nonfiction would be like someone who only listens to only top 40 reviewing music (which of course actually seems to be the case with a lot of music reviews). So now, my incompetence aside, let's move onto the fiction side. Ratings are difficult, but in my view actually quite handy. I see no reason that a book can't be rated in the same sloppy, inaccurate, and overtly subjective way that movies are rated. And who better to do that than me (being rather sloppy, inaccurate, and overtly subjective myself). Now one more caveat before I get to the meat of what I mean by the numbers. I also have not rated some classic pieces of literature. The reason for this is that I don't feel like anyone should be swayed on their opinion of "Catcher in the Rye" because I only gave it a four. The fact that a book like that holds the place it does in popular culture and the zeitgeist of a generation so far removed from it's original publication date, speaks much more to the quality of the work than a rating out of 5 stars on an obscure kid's "Myspace for book nerds" website ever could. So some of those I haven't rated. There is no grand rhyme or reason as to which books are included and which aren't in this category; it is only as the mood strikes me. No doubt as I get older and my ego continues to inflate at the alarming rate that it has in recent years, then I will no doubt feel that Shakespeare will only take his place among the pantheon of great writers once vegetrendian's librarything site has bestowed the coveted honour of a five star rating. However for now, I don't think he cares, and nor should you. My views on Salman Rushdie however are imperative. He is the world's greatest living writer, and the fact that I have given many of his novels a five actually is important, it means you should read them.
So now on to the raw numbers.
A one means that the book is horrible, so horrible that I would never admit to reading it, and maybe didn't even finish it, and so you will never find a one or lower on my site.
A two means that I really didn't enjoy it at all. This means it sucks. Other people may like it, but they are wrong, and likely stupid. Avoid it.
A three means that it was pretty good. I finished it, I enjoyed it, but I likely won't seek out other works by the same author unless there is a hidden greatness in there suggested but not achieved by this book, though this is rare. Mainly because I am not astute enough to pick up on something so subtle.
A four means that this is a great book, thoroughly enjoyable. I will read at least one more by the author and hope that it compares. A four should be taken as a strong reccomendation. This is a book that is excellent but not quite good enough to be a masterpiece.
Which brings me to five. Five means that this is, as the description of four suggests, a masterpiece. If I read a five (and I have read a number of them, they are not as rare as you might think) then I will read as much of that author as I can find. These are my very favourite books, they are all fantastic and you should read them all. I don't know if there is a way to sort my books by rating, but if there is, sort them by rating and take the list of five's as a required reading list, if you don't like them then you may have a serious medical condition and should consult a physician.
I use the half stars too. Those are for when I can't quite decide.
Also a note on the reviews: a friend of mine (see http://www.librarything.com/profile/wfallow) has challenged me to write five reviews a week. He has set the bar high and is keeping up admirably as of the writing of this...umm whatever this is. Though for the lazy out there who are incredibly impressed at his (our) prodigious accomplishment, take heart, this is only day two, we may fail soon (update: we failed miserably!). So save your adulation for a future date. All your admiration, praise, and ticker tape parades will have been duly earned in the near future. All this is to say that the reviews may be brief and may be brusque. They also may be wildly inaccurate and full of embarrassing typos (they are written while at work and I often lose my train of thought when the boss walks by and I have to quickly minimize it and pretend to work). The one thing that they won't be is a pure summary of the events that take place in the novel. That sort of review (which is sadly most reviews I come across) is incredibly irritating and best suited to someone who has already read the book. I will try to tell you what I liked and disliked about it, not what happens. Go to amazon if you want to hear a plot summary; come to me if you care (for some inconceivable reason) what I think about it. I do not have a degree in literary criticism and will never seek one, I am just a guy who likes to read, and has just now begun to jot down his rough impression of what he has read, take them with a grain of salt, a lemon, and a tequila shooter. Also they will mainly be positive. I like a lot of books and I will generally be reviewing books that I really enjoyed first. So don't be looking for pithy, bitchy, reviews about how horrible it is, Michiko Kakutani I am not.
There that is all I need to say for now. And don't complain about how boring and tedious this has been, I warned you earlier to skip it.

GroupsNone

Favorite authorsMichael Chabon, Dave Eggers, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jonathan Franzen, David Mitchell, Salman Rushdie, David Foster Wallace (Shared favorites)

VenuesFavorites

Favorite bookstoresBook Warehouse - Broadway, Book Warehouse - Fourth Avenue

MembershipER. LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

Real nameMichael

LocationVancouver

Account typepublic

URLs /profile/vegetrendian (profile)
/catalog/vegetrendian (library)

Member sinceOct 7, 2006

Currently readingLife 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
Giovanni's Room (Everyman's Library Contemporary Classics Series) by James Baldwin

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