Musing Musers: Five Ways I Could Be More of an Asshole

25 March, 2012 Musing Musers 28 comments

Critical Book Bloggers aren’t always very popular in the publishing and book blogging world.  And why should we be?  We write and say unpopular things, have unpopular opinions.  But we’re not exactly going anywhere, are we?  For those who don’t like critical book bloggers, GoodReaders and reviewers, well on the positive side, it could be worse.  Because I may be a little bit of an asshole, but it takes a bit of work to only be a little bit of an asshole.  To be a complete asshole is like a free ticket to funville!  So here are five ways I could be more of an asshole.

1. Instead of just writing negative reviews about your books…

Real Life Example of My Assholery:

“Without any doubt, in my not-so-professional opinion, this book is a little, flaccid dick waving free in the breeze of literature trying its very bestest to hardened up and bugger us all in the ass.”

Nobody likes negative reviews.  Except readers, reviewers, bloggers and consumers – based on my own personal experience, but those people don’t matter.  The fact is that if you write negative reviews, you are an asshole.  An asshole for being mean, for not taking an author’s feeling into account, for not just putting the book down in the first place and pretending you never picked it up.  You’re an asshole for apparently negatively impacting an author’s career, making too many dick jokes, ruining the fun of reading.  Sure reviewers may do a broad spread of five star to one star reviews but the fact that they do any reviews under four stars unequivocally makes them assholes.  People who write negative reviews are obviously just trying to ruin reading for everyone.

How Much of an Asshole I Could Be:

Well, for starters we could, actually, try to ruin reading for everyone.  We could start an advocacy group claiming that reading causes cancer.  Against all medical and scientific studies, we could passionately campaign that reading gives people cancer and that everyone needs to stop right now.  After all, can you really prove that reading DOESN’T give you cancer?  And by that I don’t mean, can you really prove that reading doesn’t give you cancer to a normal, rational human being.  I mean, can you really prove that reading doesn’t give you cancer to paranoid, Internet-educated conspiracy nuts.  Because everyone knows, once something on Wikipedia, it’s true.  And if we really wanted to be assholes then we really could actually try to ruin reading for everyone by making people too scared to read.

How Maybe We’re Not Being Complete Assholes:

Maybe we’re just being honest.  Maybe honesty is a good thing.  Maybe not everyone enjoys everything and it’s okay to talk about why that is.  Or to be passionate about why you don’t like something.


2. Instead of giving you a low rating…

Real Life Example of My Assholery:



Stars are such a positive thing, you know?  Even if you only have one, HOLY SHITBALLS!  Aren’t they magical?  You got a whole star?  Gimme one of those!

But sure, okay, you’re not just going to settle for one or two or three or four.  You want five.  Anything less than five glowing, iridescent, incredible stars is just not going to cut it.  And those ASSHOLES have ALL the stars!  It doesn’t cost reviewers to give them to you.  Why the fuck are they being so stingy with their damn stars?  There’s no star tax.  They don’t have to put in their star receipts at the end of the year and then have to pay a star tax for giving away too many stars.  What the fuck is their deal?

How Much of an Asshole I could be:

Pictured: either a saluting nazis representation of the worst book ever, or the worst dictator ever.

Since stars are so positive, and since we’re assholes, we could just change that system.  Instead of giving books stars we could give them saluting Nazis (note: since we’re assholes we think the mass and heinous murder of millions of people is okay to use for comedic purposes.  If you don’t want to be an asshole, and if you’re not Mel Brooks, then don’t) in comparison to how much we hated their books 1 Saluting Nazis means we only hope the book is caught and brought to trial for its war crimes.  Five Saluting Nazis means we hope it dies and burns in hell.

OR we could email each other and all agree to vote down and up particular reviews.  Like we could all agree to vote down the five star reviews and conspire to vote up the one star reviews through intense, underground campaigning.  But I think that’s a scale of asshole that is a level of trashy even we would not breach.

How Maybe We’re Not Being Complete Assholes:

Maybe, for that particular person, you just didn’t write a five star book. Maybe it was bad or even just okay but nothing special when compared to the 150 other books they read that year.  No wait, we’re asshole for even suggesting that.

3. Writing “Did Not Finish” Reviews…

Real Life Example of My Assholery:

“Nope. I can’t do it. Sorry.

I maybe got thirty pages in before I decided that Drake was a big sack of shit and that Helen is possibly the most annoying female protagonist that I have ever, ever read.”


What the hell is wrong with these assholes?  Reviewing something they haven’t even properly read?  They can’t do that!  What if everything makes sense at the end?  What if they only read a little?  How COULD they?  It’s wrong.  Complete and utter twits.  Sometimes it takes a whole book for the genius to show.  Sometimes they’re just not smart enough to get the genius!  The brilliance!  They just couldn’t handle it!  So then why did they have to review it?   Do they have to write an opinion on every single word they read?  If they opened a book and stopped at the first word, “The” would they still review it?  Probably.  Tossers.

How Much of an Asshole I Could Be:

Well, you know, at least DNF reviews are based on some of the original text, just not all of it.  No.  A REAL asshole would just pretend they’d read the book and make up their review as they went.

“Wuthering Heights is the strange tale of studious, loner pony, Twilight Sparkle, in her adventure to find and maintain the Magic of Friendship.  Look, I think this idea is trite.  I’m not sure what Bronte thought she would achieve with this plotline but I can see how anyone would relate to this.  I mean, for starters, everyone in this book is a pony.  That’s not right.  And when I read Twilight Sparkle was the main character, I thought this was going to be some kind of Twilight tie-in.  I mean.  Talk about false advertising!  What am I supposed to do with all the Edward Cullen merchandise I bought as a compliment to the book?  It’s a complete and utter waste.

Not to mention that there is practically NO romance in this book at all.  Clearly Bronte has gone of the deep end.  The writing is cheesy and pathetic. I mean, c’mon, The Magic of Friendship?  Whose writing this crap?  I don’t see what interest group this will appeal to at all.

Absolutely nobody is going to want to read My Little Wuthering Heights.

Ps.  I would usually never advocate judging an author’s appearance, because that would be on a level past assholishness, but I found this photo of Ms. Bronte circa 0436BCE and I have to say, I’m disgusted.  Who wears red on labour day?


Clearly this author's book advocates the dieties using dinosaurs as modes of transportations. Haven't read but 1 star it!

How Maybe We’re Not Being Complete Assholes:

Maybe they’re just pointing out the myriad of things that made them stop reading in the first place.  Maybe some people would find that useful.

4.  Instead of shelving your books as Do Not Read…

Real Life Example of My Assholery:

Yeah, so they’re not going to read it!  Do they need to broadcast it?  It’s an act of baning.  Blacklisting!  They should be ashamed of themselves.  It violates some kind of constitutional right.  Just because I said/did/associated with someone bad, my book is being judged and punished.  Who do they think they are?  That they can just make that statement like a bunch of bullies.  Goodreads shelves need to be vetted and control.  These people don’t understand the power they wield with their otherworldly ability to put books on shelves that indicate a non interest in reading.  Appalling.  We should ban these readers and stop them from getting ARCs.

How Much of an Asshole I Could Be:

We could actually try to have your book banned.  I suppose we could be those kind of assholes that decide that the written word is evil and set about to have it removed from libraries and banned from existing.  We could try to organize for others not to read it.  Bar access, protest it ever being published, take a philosophical exception to the audacity that such a book was written.  Because those kind of assholes do exist.  But:

How Maybe We’re Not Being Complete Assholes:

We just don’t want to read your book.  For whatever reason, out of the millions of books around, we’ve decided to put yours at the last of that list.


5. Instead of talking about how bad your book is…

Real Life Example of My Assholery:

“I thought it was illegal to fail this hard without a permit.

I mean, if it were possible for a book to despise humanity and turn against people in general, this would be its first step down the path to villainy.

This book is how they torture state secrets out of spies.

Reading this was like using a pineapple for a prostate exam. “

They sit on GoodReads, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter and talk about how much they hate a book.  If they didn’t like it so much, why are they talking about it?  A little decorum, please!  It’s almost like they have this near compulsive obsession with communicating and relating emotions and ideas.  It’s fucking unnatural!  Don’t they understand we have our shit on Google Alerts?  That it’s going to pop up and ruin our day?

How Much of an Asshole I Could Be:

You’re right.  Talking about how bad your book was, is assholish and mean.  Mean people tend to be assholes.  On the otherhand, We could never talk about your book.  Ever.  To anyone.  Your book could slip away into the annals of history – or even be forgotten forever.  Unread, uncared for, undiscussed, unloved.  Ignored by everyone as being unworthy of their time and attention.  You could email people, again and again, asking them to give your book a try and they might not even reply to those emails.  They could ignore you, labeling you as bothersome and a pest.

Good or bad, nobody could ever discuss or even mention your work to anyone else.  Ever.

How Maybe We’re Not Being Complete Assholes:

Because we cared enough to at least give you the time of day.  Whether or not you are so spoiled with devotion and attention and five star reviews to appreciate the fact that you’re at least being read.  That your “baby” matters enough on some level to be worthy of praise or derision.  Whether we talk about how bad it is, rate it poorly, don’t finish it or give it negative reviews, at least it’s BEING talked about and read and at least we gave it a fucking chance.  Because, you know what, a lot of authors don’t get that chance.  They’re begging someone, anyone, to read their book – but nobody does.

Oh yes, we could always be that kind of asshole.




Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

28 Responses to “Musing Musers: Five Ways I Could Be More of an Asshole”

  1. Donna @ Bites

    Win. I’ve been honest from the very beginning. I’ve built the reputation of my blog on that building block of honesty. If that means I’m an asshole then where can I buy the t-shirt? While I may have wanted to light your book on fire and banish it to the pits of Hades, at least I acknowledged it. But I am, by no means, obligated to fall at your feet and sacrifice a goat to your honor because of the mere fact that YOU’RE PUBLISHED and I’m your reading minion.
    Donna @ Bites recently posted…Things I’ve Learned from Books + 144My Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      If I’ve learned anything – it’s that honesty is very important as a book blogger. Unless, of course, you want to be REALLY successful and get all the cover reveals and special press stuff. Then it sometimes works against you.

      • Donna @ Bites

        I’m okay with that. I’d rather garner the reputation of being honest and forthright than sacrifice my integrity so I can play with the cool kids that get all the stuff. Funny thing about books, I can still get them even if the publishers don’t send them to me. I can still promote it even without being part of a blog tour. So I guess it depends on how you want to function. If you’re okay with being left out of stuff then have at it, otherwise you’re going to need to temper yourself. It’s unfortunate but all business is a game. If you want your blog to be super successful you’re going to need to play to some extent at some point.
        Donna @ Bites recently posted…Those That Cannot Be UnreadMy Profile

        • Kat Kennedy

          I’ll make that bet with you, Donna. We’ll see if we can turn this blog into something successful – without having to play the game.

          If we fail, oh well. Doomed to mild success but with our integrity intact. It’s not all bad.

          • Donna @ Bites

            Personally I think you guys are already successful but it all depends on how you define it. I’ll take the mild success. If my stats get much higher than what they are I might start freaking out. Too much pressure!
            Donna @ Bites recently posted…Those That Cannot Be UnreadMy Profile

  2. Zoe B

    Thank you for making my day. Being honest is part of the job and comparing their books to dicks just makes the job even better =]

  3. Lexie B.

    Bless this post.

    You do better at getting to the heart of the matter by being hilarious than most do by being srs bsns. The fact is, this is completely and entirely true. I realize that negative reviews will never be fun for an author to read. I recognize that. So do hundreds/thousands of others. But what they need to recognize is that all negative reviewers are doing is stating their opinion, whether it be on an entire book, part of a book, or the author’s actions, and they have every right to do so. These reviewers are not trying to be assholes. They are not actively seeking to hurt this author’s sales, ruin their career, etc. etc. They are simply stating their opinion, which is something many countries of the world have allowed for quite some time now. If they don’t wish to read said opinions, then by all means, ignore them. But recognize that, as you said, at least we’re saying something. At least we’re getting their book out there, in some way shape or form.
    Lexie B. recently posted…In My Mailbox (6)My Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      I once saw an interview in which Mel Brooks spoke about how important it was to mock your enemies. This is me mocking away! Thanks so much! You’re completely right.

  4. Vanessa

    Asshole club? Where do I sign up? Huh? Huh?!

    Writing a NEGATIVE review takes more effort than a positive one. It’s also painful and traumatic for us assholes! Going back to the book – to quote horrific lines and scenes – is torture, I tell ya. They don’t appreciate our self-sacrificing nature. Tsk tsk.
    Vanessa recently posted…Review: Anathema by K.A. TuckerMy Profile

  5. Kara @ Great Imaginations

    I tweeted this. I thought this post was so true. Especially as of late. While I am not usually a snarky reviewer (but I love reading them), I still write negative reviews. I’ve just recently started getting my first few trolls. I guess my point is, I’ve seen some of my favorite reviewers getting attacked since the beginning of this year: Wendy Darling, Kira, Stephanie Sinclair, and just because it wasn’t me doesn’t mean it might not be next time. I’m always team free speech no matter what. The authors attacking reviewers have a right to their opinion, of course, but they must remember that every action comes with a consequence. The consequence being, I don’t want to read your book anymore and I will shelve it on Goodreads as such. You guys are hilarious. Keep on speaking the truth. I come here for free every day too.
    Kara @ Great Imaginations recently posted…Did Not Finish Update #4My Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge