In a fit of giddiness I looked through my bookshelves and rated a load of books on Goodreads – only books and authors I really loved, only books I liked enough to have gone out and tracked down a nice shiny first edition to decorate my walls – no snittiness, and that was about the last time I interacted with Goodreads, apart from a couple of reviews of books I felt had been unfairly overlooked by the world (by Ida Gandy and Tania Kindersley) .
Not least because other Carina writers warned me not to go there. For it be the wild west. For there be trolls. Or something, indeed, if the worst rumours are right, in writing this I've probably signed the death warrant for my own book.
Anyway, I stumbled over there at a loose end this afternoon to find our book currently averages a 3.67 from a statistically fair sample. This compares to a somewhat silly 4.9 on amazon.co.uk which does of course include all the generosity of our friends, and the more realistic 4.1 of amazon.com. Plus, in its favour, Goodreads has the most ratings and they are a tough audience.
Got to be happy with that. I'd give it a three. No 3.5. Oh come on, face modern facts, we all know I probably gave it a 6 on Amazon under an pseudonym when drunk one night (I didn't). But 3.67 – that's mighty encouraging. Particularly when you compare it to some of the books/authors I really love and personally rated higher when I was on there that time, but which are actually rated lower. Whether this is an argument for more democracy or more professional critics I'll leave others to decide.
Here’s the books rated lower.
Ian McEwan – Black Dog/Sweet Tooth/Enduring Love/The Cement Garden
Julian Barnes – England England/Pulse/Metroland/Something to Declare.
Lawrence Block – Small Town/Ariel
John Lanchester – Mr Phillips
Simon Armitage – Little Green Man
Graham Swift- Learning to Swim
Salman Rushdie – Grimus
Peter Ackroyd - Chatterton
Gordon Burn – Yesterday
My eye was also drawn towards three books we are currently tied with, which I believe to be about as good as writing gets:
Julian Barnes – Flaubert's Parrot
Ian McEwan – First Love, Last Rites
Nick Hornby – Fever Pitch.
Which is, of course, all a bit silly. I'm not a competitive writer in any shape or form. In fact I'm not even a writer. I'd be lying if I didn't find that fun though...