Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Some of my occult book reviewing rules

Troll Cat gives all dog lovers one star reviews.
Yesterday on Facebook, a friend of mine was describing her latest wanker of a troll reviewer; it was someone who claimed because previous reviews did not mention what groups she belonged to, nor who she trained with, that all the previous reviews were not helpful. Now, I suspect that this particular reviewer, who gave her a review despite not buying her book, is part of the Loathing Club that another member of her occult bent has organized trying to destory this particular writer's reputation.

Now, I have been described as a troll reviewer myself--by someone (and their group) whom I saw fit to give a three star review to. In hindsight, nothing less than proclaiming this author's book "the greatest thing since white sliced bread with yummy jam" was going to make the author happy. Interestingly, he has spent more energy trying to discredit my three star review than he has spent trying to convince others that the numerous one star reviews that he got was undeserved.

The problem (for him, that is) lays in the fact that I will not change my mind about his book. Basically, I gave it my honest review based on the rules that I have decided upon for judging occult books. Here are some of the things that I judge occult books by:

Price: Is it worth the money that a person is spending on it? Is it a must-have at that price? (And in the case of an out-of-print book, is it worth the outrageous price that it is reselling for?)

Information: Is the book just a rehash of previously published information? Is there anything in the book that I cannot find in some other book, or reinvent on my own if I know the basics of occult study and practice? Does it repeat the same information over and over again? Do I have to double-check everything because your work is riddled with errors? Would I trust a Neophyte to use your book?

Authority: Is this someone's "masterwork"? (I tend to judge texts that are meant to prove that its author is the ultimate authority, one that needs to be listened to, more harshly than I do other texts; there is a difference between sharing information and declaring oneself fit to run the entire esoteric tradition.) Does the person convince me that they know what they are doing? Or do they come across as an "armchair occultist"?

Group Membership: Actually, I do not give a damn about this. It is nice to know from a community viewpoint, and helps explain certain differences between theories and practices talked about--but it really has no bearing on my review. (And my own membership do not need to be disclosed either.)

Personal Feelings about the author: I tend to admit to these upfront; there are some occult writers that I personally know or have watched that I dislike terribly--personalities of sandpaper. This tends to extend to the behavior of their followers. I try not to let it affect my reviews; but with some people, it is hard not to deduct a star from their review if they are guilty of being complete wankers.

Ability to Write: I am sorry; this one will kill my opinion of your book if you lack the ability to write a clear sentence. I understand that occult authorities are not always trained in writing, but one can find editors who specialize in editing occult material.

Usefulness: If your book is glorified paperweight with no useful context...well, you are not going to like my opinion of your work.

There are probably more things that I consider, but you get the idea.

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All comments on posts older than fourteen days are moderated--unless there is an outbreak of trolls selling their own brand of spammy goodness, in which case, I will go back to moderating all comments. Remember my cats do not like being petted by smelly trolls or eating spam--and they are the ones that I have to please. Meow!