30 DoB, Day 29: I Liked It, You Didn’t

Well, here we are. The penultimate question in the 30 Days of Books list and it’s sort of an interesting one:

Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked

I had thought about this subjectively for a while – what books did I like that everyone didn’t.  I mean how do I know what the masses don’t like? And then I realized I don’t need to guess about what readers did and didn’t like – I’ve got actual data right at my fingertips.

So, like a nerd, I exported the scores of the books I’ve rated along with their average values from the Goodreads community and plotted them.  Like this:

Book Plot

Now the diagonal line represents where scores would fall if they matched that of the community (which of course can’t happen much, since the community is a mean, but my score only increments in whole numbers).  Anyway, there are a couple of things to take from plot.

The first thing that I noticed is that I’m a pretty harsh reviewer.  There are a lot more points below the line than above it, showing that I often score books lower than the average Goodreads participant. No grade inflation from me, authors!

The other one is the answer to this question.  The red circle represents the book that I liked the most that has the biggest score differential with that of the community at large. Oddly enough, that book represented by that dot is one that I read just this year: THE COOKBOOK COLLECTOR by Allegra Goodman.

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

I’d given that book five stars, while it barely got above three (3.22) in the community at large. The story set in the boom-bust of the dot-com era at the turn of the last decade resonated with me as I considered my own journey through the biotech bubble.

At the end of that review I wrote; “I don’t know if everyone will find “The Cookbook Collector” as engrossing as I did…” – and clearly a good chunk of everyone did not.

What about you?  What’s your favorite book that nobody else seemed to like?

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28 thoughts on “30 DoB, Day 29: I Liked It, You Didn’t

  1. In the land of Stevil, liking Dune seems to fall in the realm. Usually, I don’t like books that other people like. During a book club meeting, Snow Crash got slammed and I was one of the few defenders.

    • Inverse question, though Budd — I didn’t like “Dune”, while so many think it’s classic — but yes, “The Cookbook Collector” is my “Snowcrash” apparently.

  2. You are SUCH a scientist! Plotting out your critiques and comparing them to others on Goodreads. I love it! I used to have a mind like that. It has long since crawled away and I allowed it to! :)

    Lol at GOM “30 years of books”

  3. Okay, I have to know–which book is the opposite of this question? What’s the one that you rated 1-star but that’s sitting near a 4.5 of average Goodreads rating?

    Love your approach to this. :D

      • I looked it up — it’s David McCullough’s “John Adams” which I thought was abysmally boring and couldn’t even finish. No wonder he’s not on any money.

        That was followed up by 1-stars for “Hitchhiker’s Guide”, which I plainly did. not. get.

        And then “Dune”… ;)

  4. You have done it. You have achieved “Cori’s Nerdiest Friend.” Congratulations!

    Also, I want my own chart like this. Because let’s face it…I’m a nerd too.

    • I gratefully accept the title of CNF and will wear my pocket protector with pride.

      I know that you consider yourself math — and I’m guessing by association Excel and data processing– challenged, so I’d be happy to make a chart for you (I would even make it girly), but alas I can not export your data, only my own.

      • Actually WP’s search does jack shite. For example, “f-me” is something I say a great deal. It’ll find none or maybe 3. There’s WAY more in there. I know it. Or how about Al-Anon? I did many, many posts about that my first few months. I decided to mark them all private (or trash) and had to end up loading a normal landing page and scrolling back, “edit” then delete, then go back to landing page again. Search doesn’t exactly work for me. If it does for YOU, I’m very happy. It’s one huge fail for WP, in my opinion.

  5. I was crushed when several of my WP friends said they hated Madame Bovary. It’s not only a classic, but it was one of my favorite books when I was a undergraduate swooning under the spell of Great Writers. Now I’m jaded, but Gustave Flaubert continues to beguile me. Not so these postmodernist readers, who were probably born when I was graduating high school. But how sad to see a great book rejected. *sob*

    • It is strange to see how some books remain in the “canon” and others don’t. I have to admit, I’ve never read Bovary. Please don’t judge me. Perhaps now that I’ve begun A TALE OF TWO CITIES, perhaps other 19th century classics are in order.

  6. I am in awe of your graph. That. Is. Spectacular!

    Mine is Paradise Postponed by John Mortimer. I haven’t run the numbers yet, but exactly zero percent of my friends liked it.

    Maybe after 30 Days of Books (nobody said they had to be consecutive!) you could watch Casablanca every night for a month. ;) I kid.

    I have enjoyed your entries in this series, even when I’ve disagreed with you (which was shockingly rare–hate Dune/love JCOates? Nice.). Well done.

    But the graph? Bonus points.

    • Thanks, Tom! It was fun. I think that if I was to watch a film for a month, I think it would be Jaws.

      I realized that I shouldn’t have used a line, but maybe a shaded area that was within a quarter-point (or half-point) of the mean. That would have better visually illustrated which books I was “close to” the average score with better than a line.

      Next meme!

  7. Ha! I was just browsing around your book reviews and noticed how you rated your Goodreads ratings vs average ratings. I did the exact same thing, although I used paper and pencil instead of exporting the data. Good to know there’s a fellow biblio-statistical nerd like me out there.

    Just for posterity, the books I rated most over the average were Our Town, Walden, and Treasure Island. Under the average were Beyond Good and Evil, We, and Twilight.

    • Evan — glad to hear that I’m not the only data-nerd out there. I may have to go back and read Treasure Island again, I wonder how it will come across to me as an adult. And I’ll take it on your advice (and many others!) not to read Twilight.

      Thanks for stopping in.

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