Beans, beans, the magical … longevity food?
Website Goodreads has become an essential avenue for building readership, but the same features that help generate excitement can also backfire. In an era when reaching readers online has become a near-existential problem for publishers, Goodreads has become an essential avenue for building an audience. As a cross between a social media platform and a review site like Yelp, the site has been a boon for publishers hoping to generate excitement for books.
But the same features that get users talking about books and authors can also backfire. Reviews can be weaponized, in some cases derailing a book’s publication long before its release. “It can be incredibly hurtful, and it’s frustrating that people are allowed to review books this way if they haven’t read them,” said Roxane Gay, an author and editor who also posts reviews on Goodreads. “Worse, they’re allowed to review books that haven’t even been written. I have books on there being reviewed that I’m not finished with yet.” Rabess, who quit her job as a data scientist at Google to focus on writing after selling her novel to Simon & Schuster, worried that the online ambush might turn people against her book.“
I was concerned about the risk of contagion and that readers and reviewers would dismiss the work without ever really engaging with it,’ she said. “I felt particularly vulnerable as a debut author, but also as a Black woman author.” Despite some accolades — her novel landed on some “most anticipated” books of the summer lists and was a Good Morning America “buzz pick” — it had a sluggish start. After its June 6 release, the book sold 1,000 hardcover copies in its first 10 days, according to Circana BookScan. Established authors have also been subjected to review bombing campaigns.
Earlier this month, Elizabeth Gilbert, the best-selling writer of “Eat, Pray, Love,” received hundreds of negative ratings on Goodreads for her forthcoming novel, “The Snow Forest,” which is set in Siberia in the mid-20th century. In her case, reviewers weren’t attacking the book itself, or even the premise — a Russian family seeking refuge from Soviet oppression in the wilderness. Critics objected to the fact that Gilbert had set the book in Russia while Russia is waging war on Ukraine, and lambasted Gilbert as insensitive to the plight of Ukrainians…”
The lines quoted at the top are written by a poet about whom I knew nothing, E.T. Jeremiah.“Reading the Classics” was published in the Spring/Summer 2011 edition of Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics. It concludes:
“So it marvels, how the skin of tree
has become the mouth of man,
how life is transposed in the glyph,
the etching, the marking of breath,
how letters assemble to the syntax of life--
“How the classics, resting on their shelves
in the graveyard of thought,
or webbed, traced and gleaming,
are brought flowers of remembrance by the living
and open once again