Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Mar 16, 2006

Rating System

I think I've reached the stage where I need some kind of formal rating system for the books (and other things) I review, basically as a shorthand, single-glance way of summing up what I think about them. After some consideration, I've decided on a method.

Instead of trying to come up with a detailed scale containing many variables, I'm basing my system on what I will do with the book after I've read it once.

5--This means the book will have a permanent place on my shelf and I will most certainly read it again this year. If I bought the paperback, I will get a hardback edition. Recommend it to anyone. Examples: Atlas Shrugged, Snow Crash

4--Keeping the book, I will re-read it after enough time has passed that I've forgotten most of the details. Eventually (say a year or two from now), I will probably end up selling this book back to Half-Price Bookstores and buying the paperback to conserve space. Recommend it to anyone that's interested in the genre. Examples: 1632, Men at Arms, Les Miserables, Shogun

3--Keeping the paperback but putting it in the back of my bookshelves where I can't see the title very easily, since it's partially covered by the second stack of books directly in front of it. Will either re-read it within the next 5 years or sell it when I move next, whichever comes first. If it's at the high end (3.5) I will recommend this book to people that like similar authors within the genre. If it's at the low end (2.5) I will make jokes about this book being an example of particularly hacky work within the genre. Examples: Pretty much anything by Terry Goodkind, Stephen King, or David Eddings; Poison Study

2--Selling it promptly! Will complain about the book to my more literate friends who may understand what I'm talking about. Examples: Crystal Rain, Elantris, Lady Slings the Booze

1--Only finished reading it for one of the following reasons: 1.) it was a gift from a VERY pushy friend or family member, 2.) it was a homework assignment, 3.) someone asked me to help them edit it. I probably won't be able to motivate myself to take it back to Half-Price, so I may use it for holding up furniture or ballast. I will complain about the lousiness of this book, regardless of whether I actually finished it, to anyone that will hold still. Examples: Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter


Anonymous said...

Moby Dick I understand but The Scarlet Letter? I would love to read your opinion on that one.

D. Eastbrook

Gus Van Horn said...


As a big fan of your book reviews, I am always happy to see you come up with new features!

And this was good for a chuckle, too!

(And I suppose if I adopted the same scale, Laura Ingraham's Shut up and Sing! would get a "1". Couldn't put it down ... fast enough!)


Toiler said...

"I will complain about the lousiness of this anyone that will hold still."

That bit made me laugh. So you're one of those types, eh? Ever thought of being a teacher? So many little ears that can't go anywhere. :-)

softwareNerd said...

Coincidentally, "The Scarlet Letter" was recommended on Objectivism Online just two days ago.

I haven't read it. Do you have a single-line critique that sums up why you don't like it?

Jennifer Snow said...

If memory serves, the only reason I read Scarlet Letter at all was because it was a homework assignment.

As for what was wrong with it: it was TOO LONG. Hawthorne has this ability to take what should have been a short story and turn it into a short novel.

However, it's been long enough since I've read it that my detestation may be somewhat inaccurate; I haven't wanted to try re-reading it!

Oh, and Toiler, teaching is not for me! Too much the Sage on the Stage, I think.