Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Call me Simon Cowell

One of the reasons I resisted assigning the books I've read a particular rating is because I'm a bit of a grade grubber. If I were a published author, I know it would hurt my heart a little bit if I had a three-star book on Amazon, because I'm the kind of girl who fought to make her 95 a 97 when I was in school (and although this has abated a bit now that I'm in my thirties and back in school, if I got an A- in a class I worked really hard in it would probably still rankle). But as a reader, I'm not very easy to please. I finally succumbed to adding a _/10 rating to the books on my blog after many readers have said they had a hard time figuring out if I liked the book or not based on the review (sometimes, this is intentional). So I'm adding a rating system with some caveats:

* My ratings are based on my personal enjoyment of the book, not on how important I think it is or what I think the New Yorker would say about the book. Even if I know it's a cheesy book, I'll give it a high rating if I enjoyed reading it. 
* I basically like any book that rates 5/10 or higher.
* I'm trying to rate on a bell curve where most decent books fall in about the 5-6 category. You won't see a lot of 1s or a lot of 10s. In fact, I'd be surprised if you see more than 2 or 3 tens in a year. If I'm reading more than 2 or 3 ones in a year, it's only because I've been compelled by external sources (my classes, the Whitneys, a well-meaning friend) to read the book.

I feel a little bit bad about this rating system, because even though I think it makes sense for the critic in me, the girl who always wants an A has a hard time feeling like she's failing a book that scores 6/10. 6/10 does not mean I only enjoyed 60% of it, it just means that it wasn't the kind of book that kept me up at night reading with a flashlight under the covers, that I wanted to talk about endlessly with my morning running partners, and and that made me reevaluate my entire worldview. There are very few books that do that, but that's what a 10/10 book does for me.


lyn said...

I think you should start tagging your posts with the rating of the book - "5" or "6" or "10" - that way we can quickly see which books fit into each rating!

lyn said...

Woo hoo!! Just saw your new labels. Thanks :)