Recently, I stumbled across a site full of reviews of various books, mostly science fiction and fantasy. I read a couple of them and quickly formed the opinion that the author of these was a moron.
Knowing this couldn’t be accurate, I took a closer look and noticed several things. One, that he was rating books on whether he liked them or not. This, I suppose, is only fair. All we can really do is say whether we liked a story and try to suss out why. But the next thing I noticed was that he was willing to let his preferences as far as stories go prejudice his assessment of a story in objective terms.
And, three, that all of this was veiled with the sanction of a numerical rating system. Using numerical ratings implies measuring against an objective standard, but in this case the objective standard was just how much he liked the book.
Since I’ve been reading quite a bit lately, I’ve been thinking about reviewing some of the books I’ve finished. And, while I can only realistically rate these books by how much I liked them, I have composed a numerical scale to tell you just how much I liked them and what that means in practical terms.
- 10 – I reread this at least once a year.
- 9 – I’m sure I will reread this at some point.
- 8 – I really enjoyed this, but may not reread it.
- 7 – Worth hardback purchase, but won’t reread it.
- 6 – Worth paperback or digital purchase, but won’t reread it.
- 5 – Not worth a purchase, but maybe to borrow from the library.
- 4 – I finished reading this, but it required discipline.
- 3 – I want my money back.
- 2 – I want my time back.
- 1 – I refuse to waste my time further. (Unfinished read)
- 0 – I would burn this book.
- * – Worth acquiring digital and analog editions.
- ** – I collect editions of this like normal people collect beanie babies.
As is the case in the site that spurred this post, this scale tells you much more about me than it does about the books being rated. So let me elaborate on the scale a little. 10 is reserved for books that I loved. 9-7 are books that I liked. 6-4 are books that, whether I liked them or not, had merit. 3-1 are books that were found wanting. 0 is reserved for books that I loathe with the heat of a thousand suns, a category primarily reserved for the plague of branded children’s books that has crowded out quality children’s literature. The two different star levels are modifiers of the numerical rating.
I’m hoping that the result will be to differentiate between books that I liked, books that I didn’t necessarily like but were otherwise well written, and books that I disliked because they were actually bad.