Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Better, Worse, or Neither?

Haven't posted a non-book review post in a while and I thought of a somewhat book related topic last night... well it's actually more blog related, but close enough :) Anyway, I was reading through all my posts (yes I do love myself that much :)) and I noticed that recently, I've been giving everything a 3.5/5.  Well that makes sense, because I don't tend to read books I don't love, but unfortunately there are only so many 4s and 5s in the world.  But then I noticed that I gave The Harvey Girls a 3/5 - that's a 3/5 to The Harvey Girls and a 3.5/5 to Tears of Pearl and Robin Lee Hatcher's book! Not that either of those books wasn't good in its own way... but Harvey Girls was *at least* as good. 

I think I must have given it a slightly lower mark because it did not reach expectations, unlike Tears of Pearl, which exceeded them, and Wagered Heart, which met them handily.  So that raises the question, what do these ratings measure? I mean, ideally, I would want them to measure how much I enjoy a book... but that's not easy to answer.  First of all, that could completely depend on my mood - and it *definitely* depends on how much I'm anticipating it, what other people have told me about it, etc.  I think that's actually the number one thing I've learned from this blog (see, it's educational :)) - that expectations are a HUGE part of reading.   I seem to start almost every review with an intro of why I'm reading the book which is basically what I expect from it.  That's partly because it's a good intro, but it's also because that actually affects my review. 

So maybe it's the right thing to do, rating based on expectations... the thing is, I can't really help it.  I try to make my reviews and ratings as spontaneous as possible (I will admit to having thought about what I'm going to write before I write it (I've already started composing my Suite Francaise review, and I'm about 1/4 of the way through that :)) but I especially for the verdict section, I like to wait until the review's written before deciding.) So it all tends to be pretty spontaneous.

That brings up the question - is it worth something? well maybe something - in a way, it's a summary of the review - so I'd say you'll get a lot more out of the review.  Out of context, even the food verdicts aren't that accurate (I mean Nips vs. string beans... actually that's a really good way of comparing those two books - never mind, the food thing is totally brilliant :)) but the numbers are at least not to be relied on absolutely.  Basically, < is not transitive in book ratings :) (me showing off my computer science knowledge :))

But who cares? it's still fun!

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