Monday, January 7, 2013

Gone Girl Is Compared to a Roller Coaster 26,600 Times

The social book cataloging website Goodreads recently circulated an infographic on its end-of-the-year statistics. One of the most-reported items from the release was Goodreads’ most-reviewed book of 2012: Gone Girl, with a whopping 22,383. Keep in mind that they’re only counting reviews on the site itself (Amazon has more than 6,000), so the actual number of reviews for Gillian Flynn’s novel is probably somewhere in the high skrillions. 




All those reviews got me thinking. I’d read dozens of them, partly for the amusement of seeing the reviewers jump through hoops to describe the intricate plot without revealing spoilers. The default comparison seemed to be “roller coaster ride.” Just how many reviewers have compared Gone Girl to a roller coaster, I wondered?




The answer is 26,600. Thanks, Google. (Sure, there are some duplicates in those results, but even winnowing out the bogus hits reveals thousands and thousands of roller-coastery reviews.)


“Twisty,” “page turner,” and “unputdownable” also yield sky-high returns.* It raises the question: Just how useful is it to have tens of thousands of of reviews on a single book, when so many of them say the same thing?

What do you think?
 


*Sometimes all in the same review. I checked.

8 comments:

  1. Goodreads should start having a word cloud for anything with over 100 reviews.

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  2. Twitsty, page-turner, and all that. And also a biting social satire.

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    1. Social satire? I'm not sure I got that aspect, unless you mean the hipster characters. I don't know if that was meant as satire, or just the way that hipper-than-thou people seem to be commenting on society by simply existing.

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  3. Haven't read the book, and based on what you say about the adjectives used to describe it in so many reviews, I'm not encouraged to read it. Like Katie's idea.

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    1. It actually IS good. I don't think it's your kind of thing, though. I think the reliance on the same vocabulary is partly due to lack of imagination on the reviewers' part, but also because it really is tricky to try and describe.

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  4. I've heard of the book, but don't know anything about it. Roller coaster ride seems like a good way to describe something exciting--I guess it is a lazy way out though. Hmm--I think I've probably used this term as well.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. There's nothing wrong with using it, I just find it interesting that with so many reviews around, people didn't make more of an effort to say something unique. And if you don't have anything unique to say, why bother, I wonder?

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