My Elves Are Different

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Books should be judged on their merits ... the right thing to do in this circumstance is NOT REVIEW THE BOOK.


John D. said...

I've been comiced! Heh-heh... :)

You're focusing on the rating. Recording my impressions with a book still serves a purpose, as explained here, under "What, exactly, are you reviewing?":

Steve said...

Hi, John :)

Thanks for commenting!

First of all, I think more people will go by the star rating than will read the whole review.

Second, the star rating guide in your link says a two star book is "A mediocre book; not missing anything by passing it up."

So a low star rating can leave a serious negative impression of a book even if there are mitigating explanations in the text of the review.

The rating matters.

Your original definition of "reading experience" in the link focused on inherent qualities in a book: readability, etc.

Whereas your review is openly tinged by something extraneous to the novel: the amount of time you have available to read.

As you're not writing a reading log on a livejournal but reviewing on a major genre website I think it's terribly unfair to review and particularly star-rate when you haven't been able to do the book justice.

John D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John D. said...

>>I think more people will go by the star rating than will read the whole review.
That's a review reader not getting the whole story. Nothing I can do about that.

When I wrote the definitions for the star ratings, I was concentrating on the book impression part of the reading experience, not the reading experience itself. So yes, that's an incomplete definition. [Added: Think of 2 stars as a mediocre reading experience.]

I love the phrase "openly tinged", as it at least credits that I'm being honest with the review. (Unlike your Twitter post-shots! :)) But not reviewing it at all seems like the wrong thing to do. The book does have its merits, which I recognize and want to share.

Much of your feedback seems to circle around the fact that there's a star rating attached to the review. Does it feel more palatable if you simply ignore it?

Steve said...

You're right - you were open about the factors influencing your reading experience, so I guess my issue is particularly the star rating.

Regardless of the meaning you give star ratings, drive-by readers will interpret them in the usual way as referring to intrinsic properties of a book.

If it were clearly a personal blog it wouldn't matter, but as a major genre website it's unfair.

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