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Bottom of The Barrel Book Reviews-Confessions of a Recovering Preppie

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the terminal-case dept.

228

An anonymous reader writes "Michael de Mare's, Confessions of a Recovering Preppie, has been sitting on my desk a long time, for good reason. They say you can't always judge a book by it's cover but in this case, the unintentionally embarrassing front is perfect. Confessions is a painfully ordinary collection of college stories. Michael seems to have a different definition for the word preppie than the good people at Webster or I do. Even though the author specializes in cryptography, he seems unable to decipher any social situation, himself or the code to writing a book worth reading. Click below to see how confusing it gets.Michael de Mare is to literature what Jeffery Dahmer is to fine dining. At least someone finally stopped Dahmer. To complain about any one part of this Titanic failure is like complaining that you don't like the tilt of your room, as the ship sinks beneath the waves. The back of the book promises, "In this compelling book, he lays bare the instructive stories of romantic adventures, intense studies, fascinating friend-ships, highly ambitious goals, and the wit and wisdom that can only come from the mind of those who are capable of fathoming the black arts of advanced cryptography and computer science." What we get is a book that has no theme to speak of. It reads like a logbook more than a novel. I have managed to group Confessions into three parts. Each part consists of the few common ideas that reappear many times in the book. It also includes the scant instances when Michael has an idea or something noteworthy happens.

The first part lets us in on a few basic facts about Michael and his day to day activities. He hates rap. Indian students cheat. Walking makes Michael's legs hurt. He is scared of his stoner suite mate. CS students are the smartest students on campus. Michael is the smartest among them. He likes Chicken Parmesan, Bill O'Reilly, and shopping at Walmart. In this section Michael becomes aware that his friend likes to drink at parties until he is drunk. He informs us that this is called binge drinking and worries that it might affect his friend's grades. (His friend's grades are slightly better than his in the end.) Then he discovers that college kids pirate music. One of my favorite parts of the book can be found here. Michael tells a story about his second cousin who tried to get him seriously hurt on two separate occasions. The first time, Michael was tricked into riding an unbroken horse. The second, was an incident which involved milking an extremely unfriendly cow. This story allows the reader to understand that the feelings of dread and the overwhelming desire to make Michael de Mare stop are a perfectly normal reaction. It is a feeling that is shared by his family and most likely, anyone who talks to him.

Just when you are wondering what purpose the 300 pages of Confessions serve, the author takes a trip to Montreal. When a customs official is making her way through the train, asking if anyone has anything to declare, we find out the FBI is following Michael. Two FBI agents tell the official loudly that they have guns and that they are following Michael because he works for the NSA. At no point prior was the NSA mentioned and it is never addressed again. I re-read this part several times to make sure that it wasn't a dream sequence or a jump to future events. At this point, I was sure that this book was the best way Michael had of telling his friends and family that he was or planned on being, a spy.

Part two follows a common pattern. Michael hates rap. Indian students cheat. Walking makes Michael's legs hurt. He is scared of his stoner suite mate. CS students are the smartest students on campus. Michael is the smartest among them. He likes Chicken Parmesan, Bill O'Reilly, and shopping at Walmart. He learns that men, in particular, college-aged men, are easily manipulated by pretty girls. He doesn't see his stoner suite mate for a couple days so he reports him missing. (The stoner was visiting home.) This section contains what is easily my favorite part of the book. It also demonstrates how hard it is to read Confessions. Here, Michael is talking to a girl he may have some interest in but is so uncomfortable around, that you're not quite sure.

"Hi Shawna! How are you doing?"
"My circumstances are not good."
"Your circumstances?"
"Yes. They are not good."
Now I was concerned about Shawna's circumstances. They were, as Shawna had pointed out, not good. I didn't know which circumstances she was referring to, but I was sure that they were circumstances that she considered important. For this reason I hoped Shawna's circumstances would improve."


Then it dawned on me. Michael de Mare specializes in cryptography. This whole thing is an elaborate code! The de Mare code! If I could crack this book I could find out where the descendants of Jesus live and who the Illuminati would allow to win the Super Bowl next year. Unfortunately the best anagram of Michael de Mare I could come up with was, A charm I'd eel me. So I tried writing down every other word, then every third. I cut the pages into strips and wrapped them around sticks of different widths. I made a baking soda solution and brushed it over the pages. Finally I exposed it to a UV lamp and then heat from a light bulb. Nothing I did seemed to reveal a new story that someone might want to read, so I continued with the last 100 pages.

The end of the book provides the usual. Mike hates rap music. Indian students cheat. Walking makes Michael's legs hurt. He is scared of his stoner suite mate. CS students are the smartest students on campus. Michael is the smartest among them. He likes Chicken Parmesan, Bill O'Reilly, and shopping at Walmart. Michael doesn't see his binge drinking friend for a few days and somehow resists the urge to report him missing to the police. He explains how the world would have broke out into World War III if George Bush hadn't been elected president. He defends his thesis, graduates and is accepted into a PHD program. The book then ends as quickly and as uninterestingly as it started. I entertained the notion that this was actually a Walmart viral marketing campaign for a few moments. "Walmart, we got everything Michael de Mare needs and most things that normal people need too." Probably not the message the suits in marketing would want to send. Now I'm convinced that Confessions of a Recovering Preppie is actually part of Michael's work at the NSA. This book is part of an "enhanced interrogation" program. Right now a man in a nicely pressed suit and sunglasses is reading Mr. de Mare's device of unusual punishment, for the second time, to a prisoner who begs to just be water-boarded like usual. Confessions of a Recovering Preppie is not the bottom of the barrel it is in a hole five feet below the barrel.

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The joke's on you (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738453)

Hmmm...could it be another Atlanta Nights [wikipedia.org] ?

The book seems to read like the mindless, self-indulgent chattiness usually only found in Ellen DeGeneres' comedy routines but the joke's on whoever buys the book!

Re:The joke's on you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24738543)

ellen degeneres is hilarious now i'm off to watch the mind of mencia.

Awesome (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24738455)

To complain about any one part of this Titanic failure is like complaining that you don't like the tilt of your room, as the ship sinks beneath the waves.

:P

yes, but where are my pants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24738497)

I could swear I was wearing them a second ago! WHAT THE FUCK?

End This. (5, Insightful)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738509)

Please. No more. These reviews are, truly, the bottom of the barrel.

The editing is worse.

-G

Re:End This. (4, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738701)

I was actually entertained... If you don't like time-wasters on Idle, how hard is it to avoid? You know, it actually wastes less of your time if you're able to refrain from clicking in, reading enough to assure yourself that you don't like it, and then posting to complain. Sure, it's a complete waste and a pointless review on a pointless book. But it's pretty easy to skip if you're not in the mood.

Re:End This. (2, Insightful)

basscomm (122302) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739015)

Doing a funny review of a bad book is all well and good, but samzenpus's meandering trainwreck of a writing style, combined with his painfully unfunny commentary and his... creative use of punctuation means that he's really not the one to be doing them.

Re:End This. (5, Informative)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739087)

Yes, unfortunately, this is on Books, not Idle.

Re:End This. (5, Insightful)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739227)

D'oh!

I assumed base on the fact that this was a complete waste of time that this was Idle, but didn't actually look.

You are absolutely right. WTF is this doing anywhere but Idle!?!

Re:End This. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739983)

Enough people must've blocked Idle that samzenpus is putting this crap on the other sections now. It's time to start blocking all of his stories now. Help & Preferences -> Index Authors -> Un-check samzenpus.

Re:End This. (2, Informative)

theIsovist (1348209) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739151)

it's not the fact that we can avoid it, it just cheapens slashdot. Slashdot stopped the april fools jokes to appear to be a legitimate news organization, so why do we now have to suffer through Idle? At least april fools was once a year.

Re:End This. (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739261)

Is that why there was no april fools stuff this year?

Thats just sad. Stuff like omgponies is what gave Slashdot some of its charm.

Re:End This. (1)

theIsovist (1348209) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739329)

agreed. but again, it was a once a year thing, which kept the joke from getting old.

Re:End This. (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739787)

although if i remember this year they saved up the articals that on any other day you would have asked "is this for real?" and posted them on April 1st.. so everyone was trying to figure out if they where real or jokes because they could go both ways..

i thought it made the comments qutie funny and enjoyable to read through.. and on a plus site it didn't burn my eyes to look at it like 2007's did

Re:End This. (3, Funny)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739017)

The review was hilarious and well-written. Thanks.

Re:End This. (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739639)

If you are referring to the repetition of "he hates rap...," I think that was on purpose to show how bad the book really is.

Re:End This. (1)

Born2bwire (977760) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739729)

Should Slashdot only give reviews of books they liked? I think it is useful to be given recommendations of books that I should read and should avoid.

Re:End This. (1)

tist (1086039) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739837)

For heaven's sake, this isn't F----d Company .com. This business of publishing stupid emails or hacking on lousy books does not belong on Slashdot - News for Nerds, Stuff that matters.

Re:End This. (1)

qualidafial (967876) | more than 5 years ago | (#24740119)

Slashdot Idle is shaping up to be the new Mandatory Fun Day.

Stuff that matters? (5, Insightful)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738525)

I'm all for occasional humor (hell, I used to be an admin on Fark) -- but I'm thinking that if Slashdot is going to be running as much crap as they have with 'idle', crappy book reviews, and criticizing their reader e-mail, that they need to drop the "Stuff that Matters" tag line.

Re:Stuff that matters? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738743)

The new News for nerds, stuff that matters [newstrust.net] as endorsed by the old News for nerds, stuff that matters [slashdot.org] .

Re:Stuff that matters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739677)

Ironically, I see no news at NewsTrust. No news is good news, right?

I have JavaShit turned off.

Re:Stuff that matters? (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738837)

*sheds tear*

If only the scoring went above 5.

Re:Stuff that matters? (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738933)

Or just change it to the more accurate "Stuff that's free." The overall quality of the content is in decline, but occasionally there's still some good stuff.

The code is free. So anyone who thinks they can do a better job (or perhaps just a different job) of sifting the crap from the pile can, in theory, roll their own.

Re:Stuff that matters? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739443)

"News for 'noids, staff that mutters"

Re:Stuff that matters? (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739965)

Again, as pointed out above, this somehow made it to Books. But, if you're tired of Idle, I'm sure there is a way to stop those stories from crossing your /., no? There are plenty of headlines with substance - stuff that matters - and to some poor soul who really, really couldn't find anything to read, maybe this book matters.

oh, this just in, I meant to say that "this book is made of [anti?]matter." my bad. I can't actually imagine any sort of target audience for this book, aside from maybe college freshmen whose parents are looking for a quick-fix scare tactic. Glad we avoided WWIII whew!

Amazon 5 Stars (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24738567)

At the time of writing, this book has a 5 star rating at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Recovering-Preppie-Michael-Mare/dp/1419663275 [amazon.com]

Re:Amazon 5 Stars (4, Interesting)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738811)

At the time of writing, this book has a 5 star rating at Amazon.com

All but one of the reviews are by one-off reviewers.

I'm no crypto-genius, so I could be way off, but it smells like just the kind of cack-handed astroturfing our hero might try.

Is it really that surprising? (5, Insightful)

cwAllenPoole (1228672) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738573)

Unless someone has a VERY good ghost writer or something extraordinary happened to that individual, a biography is necessarily going to be terrible. Why? Because the average life is rather boring (which is why "Reality Television" is generally very highly edited).

Re:Is it really that surprising? (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 5 years ago | (#24740013)

Chapter 5: The day I had diarrhea

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24738585)

"Needless to say, I had the last laugh."

Really that bad? (1)

Ender Wiggin 77 (865636) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738593)

Strangely, all 4 Amazon reviews gave it 5 stars (out of 5).

Re:Really that bad? (2, Informative)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738863)

even more strangely, three of the four reviewers never reviewed anything but this book, and the fourth had only three reviews, one of which was about shoes. Oh .. and it was writen by an someone with an indian name ... cheat?!

Re:Really that bad? (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 5 years ago | (#24740039)

And it was not reviewed by rappers. Oh the bias!

Correction (2, Insightful)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738595)

Indian students cheat?

ALL students cheat! Perhaps he meant that Indian students that cheat are caught more frequently?

Re:Correction (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738689)

ALL students cheat!

I never cheated in college. Not that I'm especially noble, but I figured while my self-respect may have a price, it certainly wouldn't be a letter on a report card that in the grand scheme of my life wouldn't be especially important.

Re:Correction (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738807)

OTOH, there are some cultures where cheating is institutionalized.

Dunno if Indians fall into this category but other countries do.

Re:Correction (3, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739011)

Examples please. I already have a very good idea but I'd like to have a second opinion. Post as AC because you don't want those cheating bastards who cheated to earn mod points to use said mod points against you.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739697)

When I was in undergrad at a small liberal arts college, i wasn't aware of much cheating at all.
When I went to graduate school at a larger university, I was absolutely blown away by the magnitude of the cheating that went on by the foreign* students. (Indian and/or Asian in appearance & accent)

More shocking than the cheating, however, was that the university seemed to accept it. In one case I remember, several foreign students were caught using books during an exam. The professor had the entire class retake the exam as open book, instead of punishing the cheaters.

In another case, a group of 4 or 5 foreign students went before the class to give a Powerpoint presentation. The first slide went up showing the wrong class number (it was a class a class from the previous term,) as well as the name of one student in the group along with 4 students not even in the class. The group got an A. :(

At my graduate school university, I'd estimate 95% of the students in the CS program were foreign. I think they let the students get away with murder to keep the foreign student money train rolling.

Re:Correction (1)

fmobus (831767) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739027)

I can understand cheating in elementary and high school, but cheating in college/university, where exams are supposedly on stuff you like and have willfully chosen as career does not make sense.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739181)

HA!!! You're funny. I would have orgasmed if more than 30% of the shit I had to take in college was related to my field. General studies is the biggest waste of time and brainpower ever invented. I hope the jackass who came up with that idea is rotting in hell right now.

Re:Correction (1)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739943)

Not every course in university applies directly to your career. Some are just for background/general knowledge. Some people just want the paper at the end. I personally think it's self-defeating, but I can understand that there are people who would do it.

Re:Correction (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739509)

I didn't cheat either, but the GP's comment would be correct if he had said "all cultures have members who cheat".

It's scary thinking that my surgeon might have cheated his way through college.

Re:Correction (3, Insightful)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738855)

Most likely the Indian students have better study habits. Based on the review, the author probably assumes that they MUST cheat because they get better grades. This is speculation since I have not read the book, but I have heard that rhetoric before.

or maybe he's just another RACIST piece of shit? (0, Flamebait)

justdrew (706141) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739307)

anyone who likes O'Liely can fuck off and die as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739759)

Indian students cheat?

  ALL students cheat! Perhaps he meant that Indian students that cheat are caught more frequently?

No, all students do not cheat. I just finished a physics degree and I didn't cheat once.

As far as Indian students go, I can't say whether they cheat or not as a whole. The Chinese students in our program however, did have much less of an aversion to splitting the workload amongst themselves than the rest of us. Some might call it cheating, some might call it creative distribution of workload ... but as it was amongst a group of 5 individuals, I can't say that *all* Chinese students cheat. Just the 5 in our program.

Re:Correction (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739967)

I don't cheat. Why would I cheat?

Good use for a rambling piece of crap (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24738637)

Start a religion based on it. It worked for L Ron Hu88ard.

Review? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24738645)

"Michael de Mare is to literature what Jeffery Dahmer is to fine dining."

Scathing words. Why is the reviewer anonymous?

Re:Review? (3, Funny)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738727)

Scathing words. Why is the reviewer anonymous?

The reviewer is Samzenpus.

Why are you anonymous, your words are utterly inconsequential?

Re:Review? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24740079)

Ugh. I have samzenpus's posts BLOCKED from my slashdot experience.

What an utter waste of carbon atoms.

Anagram (2, Funny)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738649)

He admire Camel? Mice heed alarm? Am media lecher?

Re:Anagram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739055)

Or even, "I'd charm me a eel."

Re:Anagram (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739255)

each lime dream

maybe we want one in French, tho:

michael a merde

Please stop (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738675)

Please stop putting links to "idle" on the front page.

Re:Please stop (2, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738825)

This isn't even Idle, though, this is just a plain Books post. The author can write a snarky review of some awful book he received if he wants, but who the hell decided that Slashdot's readership was interested?

Re:Please stop (1)

PenisLands (930247) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738835)

I agree. I come to read about TECHNOLOGY... not someone's 'blog'.

Re:Please stop (2, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739507)

I come to read about interesting stuff, not technology. Yes, that's right, we have taken over your nerd board. Slashdot will now be about bad books!

Re:Please stop (1)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739653)

More importantly, categorize the posts correctly. I have my homepage set to never display idle content but this slips in anyway under the guise of a book review.

Book Surge (5, Informative)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738721)

The publisher, Book Surge, is Amazon's self-publishing/publish on demand branch. Likely, no one other than the author ever read this book prior to printing and it's likely that /.'s review copy was author-provided as well.

Re:Book Surge (1, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739019)

This "review" seems like another outlet for the "Let's make fun of the mentally ill!" comedy of the "reader mail" posts...

woo (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738767)

The first part lets us in on a few basic facts about Michael and his day to day activities. He hates rap. Indian students cheat. Walking makes Michael's legs hurt. He is scared of his stoner suite mate. CS students are the smartest students on campus. Michael is the smartest among them.

Get this man a slashdot id!

Why is there a review of a vanity press title? (4, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738779)

BookSurge is an Amazon-owned vanity press. Since when does anybody, including Slashdot, waste time reviewing self-published books? Even in the "Idle" section this is stupid.

Maybe this is a thinly veiled review by the author to get a few people to buy this thing to experience its awfulness.

SirWired

Re:Why is there a review of a vanity press title? (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739077)

It's not unprecedented [slashdot.org] . But Commodork was actually good.

Well, I like the review. (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738785)

/. gets books to review and some of them are awful. Nothing wrong with putting that on the front page. So please stop can people stop whinging about idle on the front page.

Get Harlan Ellison to do a review, then. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739289)

/. gets books to review and some of them are awful.

So does every newspaper, magazine, blog, and publisher.

I can count the number of times I've seen any of the above publish a review of a book from their slushpile on the fingers of one hand.

I can count the number of times I've seen any of the above do it twice on the fingers of one foot.

I can vaguely recall seeing one that was worth reading, once, but it was probably by someone like Harlan Ellison.

Tell you what, get someone at Ellison's level to do the next review like this. Or... don't do it.

Re:Get Harlan Ellison to do a review, then. (3, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739621)

Well, slashdot is more informal than most newspapers. Also, you could simply not read the reviews. That would work too. But, I think a better point is that in some way, they are entertaining you, because here you are, debating with me the marits (or not) of having these reviews. Is that entertainment? If not, why are you here?

Re:Get Harlan Ellison to do a review, then. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739881)

Well, slashdot is more informal than most newspapers.

What part of "or blog" is hard to understand.

Also, you could simply not read the reviews.

If I can't depend on slashdot actually restricting the front page to stuff that at least *someone* thinks "matters" (it's clear that not even the reviewer did) then it's less useful.

I think a better point is that in some way, they are entertaining you

In your dreams. I'm here because I had hoped that after a few cycles of this crap they'd quit posting it, but it's obvious that I gave Taco too much credit and ignoring it won't make it go away.

Re:Get Harlan Ellison to do a review, then. (2, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#24740113)

If I can't depend on slashdot actually restricting the front page to stuff that at least *someone* thinks "matters" (it's clear that not even the reviewer did) then it's less useful.

Does it matter how old the miniture lego man is? Or what the latest apple rumour (to the nth degree) is? Or that article about 1Pb databases which kind of falls in to the "duh" category if you've been following Moore's law for any time at all.

In your dreams. I'm here because I had hoped that after a few cycles of this crap they'd quit posting it, but it's obvious that I gave Taco too much credit and ignoring it won't make it go away.

Honestly, I don't dream about whether or not you are entertained. But you are still here posting (and quite annoyed by me if your tone is anything to go by). A post like your last reply will go nowhere towards making Taco stop posting these things, since it's such a deeply nested reply. So, you muse be getting some entertainment since you took the effort to make that post.

Or you're doing something you don't enjoy for reasons you don't fully understand. But here's the rub, now you either have to let my claim stand, or post a reply.

Now *that's* entertainment!

Re:Well, I like the review. (1)

codemaster2b (901536) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739299)

Hm... whining about whining... this could get recursive...

I do agree with you. I liked the review.

Re:Well, I like the review. (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739577)

Might I offer a counter argument? The reason that I get annoyed with this idle stuff is that it truly is worthless to me. With every article, there's some knowledge that can be gleaned from it. I don't like apple, but I read apple stories because they're trend-setters in the market, and it's worthwhile to know what they're doing. I'm not a hardware man, but it's interesting to read about the different video cards coming out. I like book reviews because I learn about what books and authors are worth reading.

Idle brings me none of this. I would never have bought this mans book, and mocking it on the front page wastes space and time that I would rather devote to something else. Not only that, but putting it under book reviews instead of idle means that I can't filter these lame reviews out. Whether slashdot does them or not is their decision, but they should know that they're negatively impacting my use of the site, and judging by the comments, a lot of people feel this way. Slashdot hits a niche where they get serious people who are highly skilled talking about technical things; where in that niche does humor fall?

Re:Well, I like the review. (3, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739693)

You may offer me a counter argument. Allow me to couynter with a counter counter argument...

If you don't like the idle stuff, then why did you enter this thread?

Back more to your point, not all the slashdot articles are useful. Quite a lot are very speculative, and the ones on basic science, while very entertaining, are not really useful to me, beyond entertainment. Oh, and the threads are often a complete waste of time (Someone in ther internet is wrong!--Randall Munroe), but an entertaining waste of time, so I still post.

To conclude that somewhat rambling point, I assert that the main purpose of slashdot is entertainment. So the question becomes, is idle entertaining?

Personally, I find that the hit rate for idle is about as high as any of the other sections.

Re:Well, I like the review. (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739839)

This article (and thread) is in the Books section, not the Idle section, so the points are even more valid.

That "Saved by the Bell" show ... (3, Insightful)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24738883)

screwed up the definition of preppie.

Michael seems to have a different definition for the word preppie than the good people at Webster or I do.

You and me both. When I went to high school (early 80s), preppies were the kids who were taking college prep classes - hence "preppie". They were the ones who studied, dressed neatly, participated in sports, band, chorus, etc... and generally got good grades. They were usually from middle class families whose parents understood the value of an education. Everyone in that group wanted to be: doctors, lawyers, engineers, computer specialists, or any other white collar professional career you can think of. Preppies were usually decent kids. Yeah, there were some rich kids who had the nice cars and coasted through life, but they were the rich kids and weren't part of the preppie crowd. They were the ones who got in Ivy League schools because they were legacies or what ever.

It was NOT someone who tried to get away with conning other kids and teachers, doing little work, and just coasting through life.

Re:That "Saved by the Bell" show ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739103)

When I went to high school (early 2000's, or 00's if you prefer), definition 1 was a geek/nerd (didn't really exist, because nearly everyone was too stupid or preppie, definition 2) and definition 2 was a prep or preppie. Of course, I went to a small high school (9-12) in Ohio, nuf said.

by SomeoneTooLazyToMakeASlashdotAccount

Re:That "Saved by the Bell" show ... (3, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739157)

When I went to high school (early 80s), preppies were the kids who were taking college prep classes - hence "preppie"...Yeah, there were some rich kids who had the nice cars and coasted through life, but they were the rich kids and weren't part of the preppie crowd. They were the ones who got in Ivy League schools because they were legacies or what ever.

"Preppie" comes from "prep school", not "college prep classes" and the usage in your high school had nothing to do with the usual meaning of the term [amazon.com] . Your community was probably so unfamiliar with real preppies that the word was repurposed for someone completely different.

Re:That "Saved by the Bell" show ... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739293)

In my high school, Preppies were usually middle to upper class family kids who's parents had gone to college and were expecting to get accepted to a college based on little more than their average grades, extra circular activities, and mediocrim of motivation. They were white, their parents had money, and they felt they were entitled to a college education. Not to say that they were hateful racists, but they had the expectations that white kids with >C averages all got to go to college. That feeling of entitlement definitely made for some tension between them and the less financially well off students, those who's parents had not graduated from college, and those of us who were heading for the military.

The students you described, we had as well, but they were usually labeled as geeks and brainy kids. Socially, they didn't have the tension with the preppies that others did, but they weren't exactly invited out for reindeer games.

There were exceptions to all social classes in high school, heck there were even a couple of jocks who were actually good guys. But by and large, the preppies of my experience were the ones most likely to consider themselves 'above' the others as part of their entitled position in society.

-Rick

serously, /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24738957)

this highly forced attempt at humour has got to stop guys.

Who's making you do this? come on, you can tell us.

It's not idle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739039)

It's drivel about drivel: metadrivel, if you will.

OTOH, congrats to slashdot for actually increasing my boredom level.

Is it just me? (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739051)

Is it just me, or has it seemed lately that everytime I've thought, "damn, slashdot is going down the shitter", I look up at who approved the story, and it's been the name samzenpus, nearly every single time?

Given that knowledge, I think it's obvious what should be done.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 5 years ago | (#24740015)

You should go to your preferences and deselect samzenpus from your list of editors?

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739071)

"Confessions of a Recovering Preppie is not the bottom of the barrel it is in a hole five feet below the barrel."

Yes, the flow is like a poisoned lake. Pleasestop.

Purpose of these book reviews? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739095)

Reviewing a popular book and commenting in this way would be useful and funny to all of us, since popular books and authors already get a lot of positive press, and the negative comments can be viewed as a roast in most cases.

However, in the case of a truly bad book, these effects of a bad review are reversed. For example, if the purpose of this review was to get people to laugh at a bad author, it's unfortunate that the humor has to come at his expense because the book apparently truly is bad. There are bad books and authors, and producing negative comments about a bad book seems to me like writing a dissertation on how annoying it is that annoying people are in fact, really annoying.

Additionally, if the purpose of this review was to get people to not read the book, again I believe this review probably got this guy more press in one day than he ever would have received in his lifetime. Now he will likely sell many copies of the book he never would have sold, so there again I'm not sure about the purpose of the review.

The moral: This comment is or isn't funny to the /. audience for the same reason that the review is or isn't funny to the /. audience.

Re:Purpose of these book reviews? (1)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 5 years ago | (#24740043)

go to this books Amazon page and read the sample provided. It is written slightly below the 8th grade "what I did for my summer vacation" level.

I think buying a copy is the least you could do for someone suffering from that level of illiteracy.

Please NO MORE (4, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739179)

Listen Editors, listen Taco, please listen hard...

I KNOW what the url to DIGG is. If I wanted braindead lolcat crap I'd go there.

You are seriously destroying the integrity of Slashdot with Idle, the reader's mail garbage, and now this book review drivel.

Is it driving up your hits? Perhaps it is, perhaps it is also making you more money. Are you so greedy that you are willing to cheapen yourselves in this way? Why not just get into the spam industry if that's the case?

There is no value in this. It detracts from otherwise good content. You can see perfectly well that there are already many complaining. Do you not care about this site any more?

Enough is enough

Re:Please NO MORE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739771)

I think they do this because they get complaints of all their book reviews get an 8 or greater.

How thinned skinned can you be? They make Obama look like a hippopotamus by comparison.

How to get rid of Idle (1)

sjonke (457707) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739353)

I had to undo the change so I could post this message here, but for those complaining, it's easy enough to get rid of idle: Click "Customize" in the top bar. Then click "Sections". Then for "Idle" choose the circle-slash option. Click "Save" at the bottom. *Poof* - no more (atrocious) "Idle".

Think of "Idle" as a "Roach Motel". Do you really want these "Idle" writers involved in the main articles? Better that they are stuck here. Now I'm going back to that setting....

Re:How to get rid of Idle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739547)

A) This isn't in Idle, it's in Book Reviews.

B) Not everyone has an account.

Re:How to get rid of Idle (1)

Moebius Loop (135536) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739699)

I had to undo the change so I could post this message here, but for those complaining, it's easy enough to get rid of idle: Click "Customize" in the top bar. Then click "Sections". Then for "Idle" choose the circle-slash option. Click "Save" at the bottom. *Poof* - no more (atrocious) "Idle".

Think of "Idle" as a "Roach Motel". Do you really want these "Idle" writers involved in the main articles? Better that they are stuck here. Now I'm going back to that setting....

You sure about that? This is in books, not idle. That's the problem.

OTOH, as others have mentioned, it seems the biggest problem is samzenpus. I believe there's an option to filter all his stuff, though...

-phil

Bottom of the barrel posts fit the name. (1)

someguy (23968) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739459)

Is Slashdot trying to get more of the Something Awful audience?

If the books are so awful, just toss them. Don't subject us to these crap reviews. It's almost as bad as having Jon Katz back..

1972 called... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739461)

They want the word "preppie" back.

CS students (2, Interesting)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739581)

Soon to get modded down as offtopic or troll, but why exactly is it that CS students think they're the smartest? What is it about knowing how to use a computer that makes for elitism? It's not like many CS students go on to cancer research with their computer skills. A few yes, but most of those were double majors in biology or were biology students taking a few computer classes.

Have you seen the Amazon reviews? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739625)

There were several *rave* reviews on Amazon's websites for this book, and since the reviewers used Amazon's 'RealName' system to identify themselves, they *must* be actual people, right?

Wrong. By entering a credit card into your account with a valid number but fake name, you can get a 'RealName' that says anything (I just tried it). I strongly believe that the author has written these reviews himself:
"Michael de Mare's deadpan humor makes it a quick, entertaining read. One example of his style: his friend "Lincoln" decides he wants to run for an undergraduate political office. The author thinks to himself: "I wonder what would be the first thing he'd do if elected - maybe free the slaves?" - By Valeda Zaage
I mean, seriously? And that name? That has got to have some hidden meaning.

Slashdot (1)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739665)

Slashdot has jumped the shark with Idle leaving beta. It lost too much of it's original appeal when goofy humour lost it's spontaneity and "Stuff that Matters" began to apply to only a portion of the main content.

Of course, this is just my opinion with no reasonable backup.

Pulled out of idle? (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739669)

Wasn't the last one of these in idle? I took idle off my front page because of the last one. Did slashdot decide it was so important for us to see these Bottom of the Barrel Reviews that they pulled it into the books section?

Mixed blessing (1)

isomeme (177414) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739805)

Dear /.,

I'm sorry I complained about the white-on-teal scheme originally used for body text in this department. That scheme made it impossible for me to read these reviews.

Please restore that scheme as quickly as possible.

Re:Mixed blessing (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739913)

That would be because this wasn't posted in idle, it was posted in books. God save us all.

Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24739811)

This is the first one of these bottom-of-the-barrel Idle stories I've actually clicked on, and it confirms my suspicions that the prior stories sucked.

Slashdot disseminates science-related news, and does it pretty well. Its success in this respect does not give the editors a carte blanche to start writing in ways that are unfamiliar to them. Such as writing humor.

There has to be some sort of science news out there on the 'net, however obscure, that would be more worthwhile to post than trying, through "humorous" presentation, to pass off your site's chaff to your readers as interesting content.

Review is worth reading (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#24739857)

The book might disappoint. But the review has made me laugh more than anything else all day...
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