January 25, 2001
4:05 PM   Subscribe

I'm something of a bibliophile; at age 17 I have a personal library of over 600 books and I read about 120 books every year. One of the cool things I discovered on the 'net last year was the growing number of personal book review sites. A couple of my favorites are John Regehr's Book Pages and Danny Yee's Book Reviews. Both sites provide literate, enjoyable commentary on a wide-range of books. Assignment: Anybody else out there found any good book review sites? If so, please share and explain. :)
posted by hanseugene (29 comments total)
The Bactra Review by Cosma Shalizi is really great. The guy is an intellectual MONSTER!!
posted by kliuless at 5:05 PM on January 25, 2001

I'm not sure what you want reviewed, but I have a passing interest in finding more info on books, just to see what other people are "currently reading". Most people share what interests them so I would suggest radomly searching through what others have read. I'm sure either web rings, Amazon, BN, and what have there own specialization for Book Lovers like yourself.
As far as book links
Booksmith, Fire and Water, U of M Library, and U Penn book search would be my humble suggestions, although not much is reviewed. Good luck in your search and finally a thread with out much name calling.
posted by brent at 5:19 PM on January 25, 2001

shut up brent!

you're a stupid head!

posted by will at 5:22 PM on January 25, 2001

I'll be quiet now.....but man, talk about posting the same thing over and over and over again. A simple request now and then is refreshing. That's all.

posted by brent at 5:26 PM on January 25, 2001

brent I think it was a joke (a bad one?)
posted by mathowie at 5:36 PM on January 25, 2001

Don't know whether this qualifies but The Modern Word (formerly "The Libyrinth") is a very useful resource. It has several main sections devoted to specific authors (Joyce, Pynchon etc.) and a load of other little bits. Good for background, I find.
posted by davidgentle at 5:40 PM on January 25, 2001

I just recently came across 2 such pages, though I think I'll only be able to find one right now. Philip Greenspun's list made me really want to read A Pattern Language. There's also peterme's interface design reading list, but that's not what I was looking for. Monkeyfist does book reviews. I can't find that other list and it's driving me crazy.
posted by sudama at 5:43 PM on January 25, 2001

Though it has a decidedly academic bent, Arts & Letters Daily links to some great reviews of books you won't see on display at your neighborhood B&N. Also, the left column contains
a list of links under Book Reviews; they tend to be the usual suspects, but professional reviewers are professional for a reason. (And Hans, beware the bibliobug. Give away everything that isn't valuable or cultivate friends to help you move. Better yet, cultivate friends by giving them books.)
posted by chino at 6:01 PM on January 25, 2001

It doesn't exactly give you reviews... more like recommendations with brief comments, but I had a lot of fun playing with Book Forager after I found it on librarian.net the other day.
posted by champignon at 6:13 PM on January 25, 2001

Umm, is it reasonable here to link to your own booklists? If not, then ignore the books listed on that previous link and just check out the other booklists listed. Or just go see what Street Librarian is reading and skip the others.
posted by jessamyn at 6:19 PM on January 25, 2001

Absolutely acceptable, jessamyn. BTW, I'm a big fan of your website. After reading Abada for a while I'm almost ready to move out into the middle-of-nowhere and just read and read and read and make fun of the rest of the world. Unfortunately, I'm a pathetically materialistic young guy and I have to keep some money around so I can continue buying stuff off of my Amazon.com wishlist. (!)
posted by hanseugene at 6:37 PM on January 25, 2001

For the small segment of the population that enjoys the beauty of a graphic novel, i submit this

Readable reviews of mostly quality (non-superhero) work.
posted by buddha9090 at 7:03 PM on January 25, 2001

I can't find the guy's page, but maybe someone here can point me in the right direction. I recall a site where this guy not only listed every book he read (at least a few thousand I believe), but also provided a bunch of other stats, such as total number of pages, books read per year, and a ton of other info. The details of the site are kinda fuzzy to me, but let me know if the site is still out there.
posted by gluechunk at 7:21 PM on January 25, 2001

You could be thinking of Art Garfunkel's list, or maybe you'd like to read the best novels of 1899, but I think this guy is the one you're looking for.

C'mon now, who's your librarian?
posted by jessamyn at 9:45 PM on January 25, 2001

Speaking of book lists and collections, has anyone come across a website that lets you keep track of such things? I know there are various inventory-style software programs that let you catalog everything from your home library to your stamp collection, but I've not been successful at finding something similar on the web..
posted by valerie at 11:06 PM on January 25, 2001

No! You must obliterate the desire to keep track of such trivialities!
posted by EngineBeak at 12:17 AM on January 26, 2001

With all this MetaFilter content, who has time for books?!?
posted by Neb at 12:32 AM on January 26, 2001

Yes, eric's site is the one I was thinking of. Thank you very much. The "undocumented year" is my favorite element.

My librarian are those people at the University branch who keep saying to me "...and you know about your $14 of fines?"
posted by gluechunk at 1:13 AM on January 26, 2001

If we can post our own sites then I have a few reviews here. Thanks.

posted by andrew cooke at 2:50 AM on January 26, 2001

I think the Libyrinth changed their name to cash in on Tom Tomorrow's success.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:37 AM on January 26, 2001

All hail the Brothers Judd. This site is crazy huge. I'd have one just like it if I didn't have to go to work or sleep eight hours a day. But I do, so... I'm not worthy.
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:47 AM on January 26, 2001

I have benefitted greatly from Homespun's Book Recommendations of Real Folks page, where "We are always looking for books that people feel strongly about. This page allows you to share your recommendations and find folks with similar book interests. Use it whenever you're at a loss for what to read next. Happy reading and come back for updates." People make all sorts of lists based on all kinds of criteria. Neat.

And, of course, one mustn't forget the inimitable One-Book List, where hundreds of people list the single book that they would most recommend, and why.
posted by rushmc at 9:44 AM on January 26, 2001

Wow, Sapphire . . . just diddled around on the Judd site. The opinions are certainly worth reading, even when I find their gradings comically wrong (like I'd agree 100% with any list).

Don DeLillo's Underworld gets a C?
Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel gets a C?
Waiting for Godot gets an F?!


But great link. At least it's written passably, and man, you're right, it's freaking huge.
posted by Skot at 9:51 AM on January 26, 2001

I'm a fan of the Mystery Guide and Science Book Guide, done by my ex colleague Joyce and her husband.
posted by peterme at 10:02 AM on January 26, 2001

heh. Skot, you didn't ask me what *I* think of Don DeLillo, I note. A good thing, 'cause then I'd have to tell you, and break your heart for the second time today.

posted by Sapphireblue at 10:22 AM on January 26, 2001

Don DeLillo is jusd aboud Got. Ratner's Star and Underworld are absolutely beautiful.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:31 AM on January 26, 2001

I tend to visit Readerville more than any other book review sites. It links to select book reviews by other sites and then generates discussions about them. The best reviews, though, are the short and informal reviews left by regulars on the site.
posted by stevis at 12:57 PM on January 26, 2001

Well, no review sites for you, but I'll say this... I was a 17 year old book-reading maniac, and now I'm a 35 year old book-reading maniac, and I still manage to ram more than 100 books a year into my brain (though I've come to believe that the brain has only so much storage available, and these days I'm depending on old friends to remind me of all the cool stuff I did in my 20's)...in any case, this I say unto you...read your ass off, but get outta the house too! Go crew on a sailboat in Mexico, go wash dishes in some Taverna in Greece, test your mettle, teach English in a few somewheres, drink fermented stuff with hairy people all over the damn planet, and never stop reading, but never allow the books to be more important than the living.

'Cause books are frozen words, and words that are said to another human (particularly to a human of the opposite (or not) sex), words that are shouted to the sea gods, words that are uttered by you, are living words. It might be a good idea to freeze and preserve them later, once you've judged their quality as they float on the air, but that's up to you.

For what it's worth, my advice.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:08 AM on January 27, 2001 [2 favorites]

Some good review sites mentioned in this thread. I have a couple to suggest.

BookSlave is my own contribution to literary content on the web. Book reviews - about a dozen or so at any given time. I also keep a Legenda page that links to articles about publishing and writing. A myth section and other literary pursuits. Badly in need of updating at the moment.

The Boox Review is a very elegant little review site, new reviews monthly, eclectic selections in four or five categories. Also author interviews and the Boox Essays.

Stavros.....I would surely agree that there is a palpable, discernible difference between living an experience and reading one. I suggest, however, that both are equally valid endeavors, and since this particular thread is defined by its content as being about reading, some folks might think you were suggesting that booklovers were shirking slackers who can't get up off the couch and go climb a mountain. I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, but still.
posted by Crowyne at 10:04 PM on February 10, 2001

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