6 August 2008

One of those trails

Somebody left a comment the other day to say that she had come to my blog because she had seen it mentioned by Janice Harayda over at One Minute Book Reviews which I have on my 64 Blogs I'm Watching list. This morning my regular Google Alerts also told me Janice had mentioned me so I trotted over to take a look at her nice words. She says I'm unusually well organized. Anyway I tried to leave a comment but you have to login, and WordPress wouldn't recognise me even though I have a "work" login.

A second Google Alert also pointed me to Blogs about: Mysteries and Thrillers which is also Janice's and where a reference to me also features. It's the same blog posting actually, but then I explored further and found her posting The five Essential Crime Novels published since 2000 where Janice discusses a book by Richard Shephard and Nick Rennison called 100 Must-Read Crime Novels (A&C Black, 2006), a Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide. They list just 5 21st century novels, which you'll find listed in Janice's blog posting. I had read 3 of them, and not heard of the other 2.

Are you still with me? Good. Well, at the bottom of that posting Janice pointed to this: Not sure you’d like any of those books? Bill Peschel has an archive of reviews of other mysteries at Reader’s Almanac www.planetpeschel.com/index?/reviews/index/C5/.

So off I trotted, like I hope you will do, over to Bill's place. On the left hand side of the page I honed in on the list of Mysteries & Thrillers that Bill has reviewed. There I noticed that some of them have little numbers by them. What are they I thought?
Here are some examples: not all the books listed have them:
It's a score:
Here is Kerry Greenwood's "score card" according to Bill.

Score: 70
Genre: 11 Not much of a mystery, and a major plot flaw in the end.
Realism: 13 The use of slang and period details was realistic enough that I had to check the copyright date to see if this was vintage.
Character: 13 I liked the sexually active Phryne, and her assorted henchmen and servants.
Setting: 12 I'm not an expert on Australia in the late 1920s, but I didn't hear a false note in the book..
Theme: 7 Not much of one.
Style: 12 Straightforward.
Bonus: 2 Only 150 pages long.

If you'd like to investigate Bill's score system, he has a Review FAQ site where he explains, but basically he scores each category out of 15 and then bonus points can add another 10. In these weeks where the Olympics will dominate our lives, it is reminiscent of how the diving and the gymnastics will be judged. Interesting system but not for me, especially when it can result in a PD James scoring lower than about 90. I suspect that underneath it all, it is not nearly as objective as it strives to be. My gradings from 0 to 5 are probably just as vaild.

Anyway, hope you have enjoyed this cyber trail.

BTW I'm still publishing under some duress here.
Despite telling me that it no longer thinks I am some sort of spammer, a mistake made by their robot, Blogger is still insisting that I need to do one of those captcha word verification thingys for both saving a draft and posting. The images presented vary from the readable to the downright dodgy.
I'm still trying to find an actual human being to address my problem to. That's one of our problems these days isn't? I work in a place that provides cyber-world services too, but we have an actual person at the other end of the problem line, contactable, and responsive, and we are proud of that service.
So far what I've found here is buttons to click, a forum to lay my problem on but with an alarming number of similar postings (all without answer or comment) on it, and assurances that things are OK when they are not (from my point of view.
One of the things that has happened with the imposition of word verification is that the autosave feature has disappeared. I am a regular "saver", but having to do the captcha penance reduces my inclination to do that. So my heart is in my mouth as I save and I have to remember to alt-a alt-c so I have a copy of my post in case the process fails, as it has done frequently over the last few days. Timing out seems to be happening more often too, but that could just be my current connection. While writing this post I have saved 6 times, got the captcha wrong six times and right 6 times. Now I'm off to do the 7th (save the draft) & 8th (publish).

Blogger though is looking less recommendable by the day, despite the fact that I had over 250 trouble free days. My memory is getting shorter.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Kerrie,
So sorry you had trouble leaving a comment. I'll try to troll through the WordPress support forums to see if there's an explanation.

You aren't just organized -- you're very fast and clear. Are you a former newspaper reporter?

A quick comment unrelated to mysteries but related to books and Australia: The Australian's series on Ishmael Beah, which ran in early 2008, was mentioned here in the U.S. last night on ABC-TV's "Nightline."

Peter Wilson, Dave Nason and Shelley Gare of the Australian have done a much, much better job of investigating the credibility of "A Long Way Gone" than American reporters have done. And last night's high-profile story implicitly acknowledged that the Australian reporters had beat their American peers on their own turf.

Anonymous said...

I've been following Bill Peschel's blog since I first started blogging. He is informative and funny - but for about a year now he seems to have stopped writing his blog in this style, and is instead focusing on his almanac and reviews, with the odd round-up of links.
Any attempt to assign a score to something fundamentally subjective is in itself subjective, whether it be a scientific paper (the infamous Impact Factor) or a book review. I am sure your scores are just as informative as anyone else's. To my mind, one gets to know the scorer's mind, ie if I know that you and I tend to rate the same books highly, then I'm more likely to "trust" your scoring system when I come across a review by you of a book I haven't read. Knowing the reviewer is as important as what score that reviewer gives to a book, I think.

Yes, I think you are hightly organised, Kerrie, as I've mentioned before ;-). Most Australians that I know via blogs seem to be very well organised, but I think you are the pinncale!

I always find this captcha spam system very annoying, I have to use it for comments even on my own blog, but at least Typepad has readable symbols unlike Blogger's which are often in such strange fonts as to be illegible. And as you say, the forums are useless. Wordpress drives me mad too as I find their "quickpost" bookmarklet often times out, and I can't re-log in using your password from email, I have to do it via the wordpress website. I often forget this so go round frustrating loops of resetting passwords via their email help, which does not work unless I remember not to reset by clicking on the email link but copy and paste that into the browser.

I assume that somone, sometime, will sort out this verification system. It should not be that complicated for a system to recognise a logged in person so they can skip the captcha step. One day...

In the meantime, I use Open ID as a way to at least keep a common identity in all the blogs on which I comment, otherwise each blogging system (Typepad, Wordpress, Blogger etc) recognises me by the blogs I have on those platforms, which I don't want to do, as I want to be associated to my main blog (Typepad) when I comment....oh all this online stuff does get complex when personal ID/verification comes into it.
And tracking comments, there's another story....

Kerrie said...

Not a newspaper reporter Janice, just a teacher..
I've missed your comments in the last fortnight while you've been on holidays Maxine. I bet you are having "fun" catching up.
I find the people "whose judgements you can trust" interesting. In my face to face group, there is one person whose interests are the exact opposite of mine. If she likes a book, I feel almost pre-disposed to hate it.


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