Book Forecast: Precipitous Reviews ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, January 11, 2008

Book Forecast: Precipitous Reviews

Some predictions are easy to make.

In 2008, more book reviews will appear on this blog than ever before. I'm still figuring out the best rhythms, as far as reading and reviewing go. I like to read a fiction book and a nonfiction book simultaneously, usually finishing the fiction maybe I can establish a fiction/non-fiction pattern with the reviews. We'll see.

I also realized that the rating system I use now is kind of confusing, since I'm using A and B with the + and - designations, giving six possible grades. In a sense, a B- would therefore be equivalent to an F...while at the same appearing to be a simple B-, which is not a failing grade in real life. I justified this in the past by saying that I don't review awful, trashy books (I don't)...but that still makes the A/B scale kind of ambiguous. I'm sure this paragraph makes sense to no one but me, so I'm ending it now.

Upshot: I'm switching to the star (*****) approach that works so well on sites like Rotten Tomatoes. It's more objective and, should I review a horrible book, will give me the means of expressing it. Yes I know, these are exciting times.

I'm also thinking about adding an "upcoming books" list to the sidebar so you can see what's on tap review-wise... I'm probably flattering myself by thinking that anyone might want to read the same stuff I am, but it would be a lot of fun to hear some of your reactions to the books I end up reviewing. We shall see. I do have some really promising titles coming up...

That concludes the book forecast. Read early and often.

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gymbrall said...

I'd like to put in a vote for the 2 star rating system as used by James Bowman.
2 Stars - Great! Go read it right now
1 Star - If you like reading books, you can put this on the list, it won't disappoint.
No Stars - Don't waste your time.

It's simple, it's clear, and it removes the problem of comparing books to one another in non-meaningful ways (What is the difference between a 2 star book and 3 star book, a 1 star book and a 2 star book)

Anyway, I also realize this is not a blogacracy and that I'll be thrilled read the reviews even if you switch to a symbolic system wherein each book gets assigned a character from Taxi to indicate its worth. (I was gonna say Care Bears, but really, I don't think you're capable of that level of inanity)

Anyway, glad to hear there will be more book reviews.

John B. said...

Re the A/B grading system, I just assumed you were reading things you thought were really good; now, I realize, you were grading like a grad school prof.

Whatever system you go with is fine with me; I pay more attention to what you actually have to say about the books you're reviewing. It's in the actual review where you get to talk about the spaces between the stars, as it were.

Ariel said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Charles... that's tempting. Whatever I end up doing has to have a bias toward better books, since I don't review anything unless I think it has a shot at being worth my time. So maybe I could get away with three stars...

*** Superb
** Well worth your time
* Has its points
_ Don't bother

Re the A/B grading system, I just assumed you were reading things you thought were really good

And a lot of them were! I handed out a lot of A grades... but that system is innately confusing (just like in grad school, I should add.)

It's in the actual review where you get to talk about the spaces between the stars, as it were.

That's good to hear. And I agree, the number of stars shouldn't be the high point of the review.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife