I’m not taking a lot of book review requests right now. I just don’t have the time. But my email is still up, and while most people are respectful of not wasting reviewers’ time, I do get some shit every now and again.
For example, a couple of weeks back, I got a presumable book review request that was just a cut and paste of the book’s information —title, author, page number, etc. No greeting, no salutation, no request, no explanation for why it was sent to me. I frequently get requests that are very clearly bulk emails with no evidence that the author has looked into me, my blog, or my reading preference at all. (Certainly, no evidence that they paid attention to what genre I read.)
Mostly I just delete them. The ones that look like an author at least typed it up I’ll respond to and decline (or accept, of course). But the obvious forwards and cut-and-paste jobs just go in the bin. Well, full disclosure, there’s a 3rd category too. Those that I respond to with ‘Why would you send me this?” I’ve gotten so tired of the scattershot method on authors’ part that, catch me at the right moment, and I’ll snark back with all the reasons I’m declining and then a paragraph of all the ways their email demonstrates how little effort they made and how little respect it shows.
But the one I got this morning is something new (and not in a better way). Honestly, I’m not even sure what it is. Maybe it’s parady, even. Normally I’d just delete it and move on. But, after spending an inordinate amount of time trying to find what the actual book title was, I checked it out on Goodreads to see what kind of mess it is, and this is what I found:
Nothing recent, but two one-star ratings and two reviews essentially saying, “Stop being creepy, stalker-dude.” So, I decided to air this one with the dictum, authors, don’t be this guy. May I present you the most confusing review request…if you can call it that…I’ve received in a while. (I’ve deleted any identifying information to avoid actually providing anything that could be construed as a promotion.)
Re: FORMATION OF THE “ULTIMATE BOOK REVIEWER LEAGUE”
Hello all my lovely bookaholic readers! How are you! So nice to have you here! ☺Welcome to this mail filled with colorful heroic personalities as eminent as each one of you.WHAT IS HAPPENINGThis is a truly historic moment in the making that will be written down in the scrolls of mankind’s achievements in glittering golden letters. For the first time, a sizeable group of all of you esteemed best of distinguished reviewers from around the world has been carefully selected after a month-long tedious process of considering recommendations from your loyal fans/viewers/readers/followers/subscribers for a purpose. You have been gathered to witness an important announcement very relevant to your field, and this is going to be connected to the future of this planet too. A lot of you may know some one or the other in the addressees, while you might not have heard of most other people. Nevertheless, please feel comfortable to say whatever you wish to over here, as this is a rare as well as a great opportunity to make new valuable similar-minded friends and useful connections that are going to stay with you for life.WHO AM I AND WHY I AM HEREMy name is XXXX. But these are just names; you will know my real identity one day when the time comes. You will hear about me a lot more often from now on in all forms of media if you haven’t heard about me already. I am now done working undercover behind the scenes while keeping a low profile. It is finally time to reveal myself to the world through all of you hand-chosen people.The purpose of this special group which has been formed, is to propagate new ideas in the world of fiction…and transform the real world while doing so. You people are going to be the frontline waves of this tsunami that is going to rise mighty high and is going to be acknowledged as a brand new wave by the entire world. And all of this is going to begin…with a single book.Come all you extraordinarily voracious readers! It is time for our first celebration! Using my gifted talents as an eloquent writer and a genius musician along with my fine analytical skills as a computer programmer – all of which were unknown till now, I have created for you the ultimate combination of breath-taking art and cutting-edge technology to produce a sparkling new innovative concept that will challenge the age-old traditional definition of what a novel can be, yet keeping its aroma intact. The result of mixing completely unrelated ingredients has been an enormous explosion of a book which packs a solid potent punch and provides a reading experience that is so amazingly rich and life-like real that it is beyond the scope of modern day human mental capacity to even conceptualize that such a thing can exist. At the same time it still retains the soul of a novel at its core.The name of this freakingly mind-blowing breakthrough 6 star novel that I humbly present to you with a bow my lady is…XXX. And it is available now at XXX.WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOKFirstly miss brainy, this book is just the foundation stone of what is going to be built in the future(more on that later). Do not think it is merely a book – in fact it is just an excuse to get started onto bigger things that will follow.But you will still find it interesting to know that this book implements a totally fresh never-before-heard and never-before-seen idea. The tagline of this book is ‘Fiction meets reality’, and it stays true to it in an unbelievable way. You just won’t have any words to describe what you are about to experience! Don’t be astonished if this book sparks a new genre in the near future altogether. This book has the potential to become a revolutionary and legendary piece of writing…and usher in a whole new era of literature in our very lifetimes. It is full of exciting possibilities yet to be explored by current age authors and readers alike. However, the deviation from the form of present day novels is subtle and enjoyable instead of being glaring, and you will easily be able to adapt to it. This format of this book is going to act as a bridge between today’s format of novels and what is to come in the future – so you should definitely update yourself of the latest happenings in the world of novels by reading it.Just if you are getting eager to read it and trying to compare it with famous works already at this stage, then let me tell you that this is definitely not the next best thing after Harry Potter or Lord of the rings. No madam! You would be grossly mistaken. This thing is on a whole new different level altogether! It is inevitably going to set a new benchmark – namely 6/5 stars.Speaking in specific concrete terms, a few factors that make this book vastly different from anything you might have read till now are:1. Firstly, it has got the basics right. The story is distinctively unique and original. The plot is teasingly intriguing and packed with beguiling twists that will keep you guessing all the way while the fantastic ending will leave you spellbound and fully satisfied. The narration is made in an exceptionally unorthodox yet appealing style that will leave you in awe of the versatile author’s uncanny approach and mastery over his writing.2. The story is personalized, so that the reader(that is you, my lovely unassuming lady) herself becomes a key character in it and feels very very special. No need here to associate yourself with a certain character. Now you are one yourself, caringly placed right inside the novel like a crystal clear drop on a delicate petal. The spotlight is on you! Even after you finish reading the book, its enticing aftertaste will linger on for quite sometime, while its mesmerizing experience will seamlessly melt in and integrate to become a part of your reality (You didn’t understand the last line right? Ha! Read it to find out).3. It has got some very addictive songs ranging in genres which will add a nice background effect to the main story at appropriate points, immersing you fully into the story’s world (even though skipping them will not affect the continuity of the story). You will not be able to resist giving into the heavenly temptation of getting used to being the subject of musical flattery and poetic ballads and getting pampered like a royal queen! You will just keep on coming back to hear those haunting melodious tracks for your entire lifetime.4. You simply log into the book using your twitter account and then the whole book gets customized for you – a fusion of social media and novel. No filling of boring forms to register to read this 6 star novel! Which is kind of cool to say the least.5. There are some special effects that will outright baffle you and suddenly catch you off guard when you least expect(like a camouflaged frog catching a blissfully ignorant flying insect). I do not wish to disclose these to you as I do not want to spoil the fun for you.6. Not a point that differentiates it from other books but still just to mention: This is the first book in the series. It will have a sequel that you will be yearning for after you finish the first one.In short, this 6 star book will leave you speechless!FACT: THIS IS UNARGUABLY THE BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN TILL DATEYou might be sniggering at the above line, sweetly giggling while rolling your eyes saying “Oh please!”, my dear miss. But believe it or not, this is actually not a hollow cocky and self-promoting babble coming from a seemingly narcissistic and self-obsessed eccentric sounding verbose author who wrote the book in question and is saying so just because he wrote it himself. Rather it is a carefully reached conclusion full of reinforced-cement-solid substance coming from a trustworthy impartial source, statistically based on various honest feedbacks and pure blatant facts.Whoever has read this book till now has not only given it an over-generous above-brilliant outstanding feedback while gasping for air, but has also uncontrollably felt the urge to jump madly on and off the floor with rapturous joy – a queer yet ecstatic reaction that can best be described as a symptom of euphoria. And this has given me ample confidence to say with an alarming audacity a bold statement that I would like to repeat at the peril of being mocked, because I very well know that you can safely set this one in stone:XXX is indeed the best book ever written till date.And
I openly challenge anyone and everyone to prove otherwise.I am not merely bragging or needlessly exaggerating. I have got better things to do in my busy life than to risk being deemed as a clown in front of such an intelligent audience as you all. To back myself sincerely, I will give you a real-life case that recently just happened in the last week. A well known lady called Mary XXX was so highly impressed with the novel that she promptly tweeted the link to this novel to over 100 of her friends. Now just introspect and ask yourself: have you ever reacted this way to a book? Any book? Even a 5 star book?Further, on Sunday August 9th, she went ahead to call me on her web show and I was interviewed by her (I am truly indebted to her for that. In fact incidentally her birthday is on the 15th of August, so let us all please make it a special day for her by wishing her on twitter. Her handle is @XXX).You can see an interesting part of that interview where you will see the stunningly good looking virtuoso that I am playing 2 instruments simultaneously with ease over here: https://www.youtube.com/XXXYou can also read her blog about the book here to validate whatever I have told here about Mary’s reaction in her own words: http://XXX/XXX.You see my dear madam, I know inside-out of what I have created and so I also know exactly what I am talking. I am going to freely and unabashedly say what I strongly feel about this book irrespective of what people might think. As the pioneer of this innovative concept, I can tell you with authority that this book is like the beautifully crafted glistening exquisite Cullinan diamond made to enchant the onlooker, and you will definitely agree after reading it that it deserves every bit of the 6 star rating worth its weight in carats.Compare it this way, lovely miss: If a novel is a 2D movie, then this is a 3D movie. If a novel is a car(a toyota camry maybe – a good car no doubt), then this is a supercar(a bugatti veyron – wow! wow!). If a novel is a passenger plane, then this is a supersonic concorde that breaks the sound barrier. If a novel is a cell, then this is a duracell. If a novel is a year, then this is a leap year. If a novel is a man, then this is superman. In short: this is a super-novel folks! Hence this super-novel is worthy of getting a super-rating, which is why it gets 6 stars.I can not wait for you beautiful people to read through ‘XXX’ and undergo a phenomenal 6 star experience of a lifetime. An experience that simply should not be missed at any cost.And as unconvincing as this may still sound to you right now, I am 101% sure that you will be more than happy to give it 6 stars without a problem. So I am not even bothered about your rating anyway, charming miss bibliophile.HOW IS A 6/5 RATING POSSIBLEWell you have heard the saying ‘Nothing is impossible’ – so 6/5 is possible too by inference. But coming to something that I care about deeply, how many of you have actually believed in this awe-inspiring saying or tried to act upon it even a bit? If not then this is your chance to do so.We as mankind have flittered away a lot of time in making up catchy sayings that are nice to hear. But now comes the time to implement them. I have made this saying the motto of my life and I am fully committed to it. I promise you that:If you let go of your ingrained inhibition to limit yourself to rate this book with just 5 stars and overcome it and rate it with 6 stars…then in return in the next decade I will change this world in IMPOSSIBLE ways that you can not even imagine…and the results would be what you always wanted.Yes, I have got a crazy yet sound plan. A grand design. Just trust me, leave it to me…and watch.WHEN SHOULD YOU START READING THIS BOOKObviously right now! What are you waiting for my cute dear innocent friend! Please don’t tell me now that you are busy with other books. I understand that you have a schedule. But you also please try to understand that this is an extremely rare once in a blue moon kind of exceptional occurrence which means this book should be read first. Besides this is a short story! And life is short too! So just find the time for this book somehow. Consider this: This is a 6 star book right? Then why at all are you reading a 4 or a 5 star book right now? Which book’s review is going to interest your audience more – the very people who nominated you to be included in this classified mail? A 6 star book or a 4 or a 5 star book? After all you are reading for them correct? Then just set your priorities right mate! 6 > 5 and 6 > 4. Pick up the largest number first. Elementary isn’t it my intelligent buddy!So read this book NOW! And come back here bustling with bubbly enthusiasm and shout out loudly to everyone to tell what you make of it. I am sure that this 6 star book is going to change your perspective of a novel forever. Mark my words again, pretty: This will be the best novel that you will have read till date. In fact you will deeply fall in love with it. Over and over again.-> Though this online novel is mobile friendly, it will be best viewed on a desktop/laptop.-> If you have any questions regarding this novel then please mail to me privately to avoid spoiler content being spilled over here.-> On a vital note, if you are a heart patient then please refrain from reading this book or consult a good qualified doctor before forming a decision about going ahead with this roller coaster ride.That is all I have to say to all of you wonderful 6 star people.Thanks,
Yeah, that’s four pages of self-aggrandizing bullshit, all written in some smug, condescending tone, entirely addressed to a subordinate female reader. Not just a female reader, though; it is very clearly aimed at a certain type of performative feminine. (I suppose that’s his only imagined audience.) It’s full of endearments like ‘my dear,’ ‘my pretty,’ ‘miss brainy,’ ‘miss bibliophile,’ ‘my dear madam,’ ‘my dear miss,’ ‘my lovely unassuming lady,’ ‘my cute dear innocent friend,’ and ‘my lady.’ Gag. I mean, like creepy uncle with wandering hands and an entitlement complex gag.
Again, I redacted his name and info, not to protect him, but so as to avoid rewarding this behavior with actual promotion. This is basically spam of an indeterminate purpose. (And even if it wasn’t the mess it is, four pages with the book title hidden amongst a wall of text is the wrong track to take.) I have no desire to help this book or its author in any manner. Especially since the “book” is a 32-page pamphlet, essentially, that isn’t even available anywhere except through the enclosed link and somehow by logging in through Twitter. Yeaaaaah, I’ll not be doing that.
So, yeah, authors don’t be this guy. No matter how cute or clever or smart (this guy thinks he’s a genius…maybe even a stable genius) you think you are, you’re not. You’re just an annoyance, something to snigger about and wish to avoid. But also, from a woman’s perspective, also a likely fragile ego and, therefore, a very possible threat that we are too often forced to smile and laugh with in order to stay safe. Nothing in this is appealing. Don’t be this guy, and if you are, go away. I promise that however many women are included in the above undisclosed-recipients, we are all thinking the same thing.