I enjoy reading the book reviews by the anonymous Nonanon, who suffers no fools. On her blog Nonfiction Readers Anonymous, she often finds popular nonfiction literature to be short on intelligence, honesty, and readability. She holds books up to high standards and finds that they sometimes fail. When a high percentage of book reviews on blogs and in journals are positive, it is thought-provoking to find a reviewer who has chosen a different path. Recently she found that path was challenged and wrote a defense of the negative review.
I must admit that most of my reviews are positive. I think this comes from reading books I want to read and am inclined to like, and I usually do not get far in a book I do not like. My main goal is getting good books to readers, so I usually do not dwell with the negative.
As a tip of the hat to Nonanon, I offer a short negative review.
I tried to listen to Walden by Henry David Thoreau read by Pete Bradbury, but only got into the third of nine compact discs. I had read Walden two or three times in the past before trying to listen to this audiobook, and I thought it was one of my philosophical foundations. Listening to Bradbury read, I starting thinking Thoreau sounded arrogant and unreasonable. He seemed to ridicule anyone who disagreed with his viewpoint, anyone who continued to participate in what he thought a mislead society. While I still found many good points in his arguments, I grew very tired of the tone of his presentation.
What had changed? Was I reacting negatively to the audiobook because of the Bradbury's interpretation, or have I changed? Am I now less inclined to accept Thoreau's methods? I am not sure.
For the time being, I am not scratching Thoreau from my influences, but I am not listening to that audiobook.