Thursday, 12 November 2015

Rating novels

  Readers seem to enjoy rating a novel after discussing it.
I have written a blog about Harriet Klausner, an Amazon reviewer, who always gave books four or five stars out of five.
Preston Library Book Club
What do the stars mean?
I found this rating system:
*  awful
**  okay                     
***  good
****  very good
*****  excellent
But my book clubs like to rate on a scale of 1 to 10.  So I would expect that a 'very good' book would get 8 or 9 stars.
I gave "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" a rating of 9.  In fact, I thought it was almost a perfect book.  If a book has everything I require for a good reading experience, I don't hesitate to give it a rating of 10.  But many people don't feel that any book deserves a rating of 10.

I look at the four experiential elements:
           character, plot, language, setting.
   I thought that "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" had very interesting characters, a convoluted plot with some surprises, wonderful language including a little Southern drawl, and a clear sense of place.
   There were great themes in this book, especially friendship and guilt.  I would have rated the book at 10, except that the narrative was not linear.  Perhaps that is a better structure for a mystery story like this, but I don't enjoy constant changes in time and place.  It seems to be very popular but I enjoy the old-fashioned linear storyline where I can jump in and swim along!
My personal thoughts on rating are these:
   When a book has been chosen for a book club, hopefully someone has read and recommended the book.  Therefore, I would expect no ratings to be under 5.  Even though it does not meet every reader's personal requirements, the book must have value.  The purpose of book clubs is to bring to the readers' attention, books that they were unaware of.  However, it is a free country and any rating is fine with me.  One reader hated the snakes in the book.  Snakes were only involved in one scene, but it was a very powerful scene, and it must have revived old personal fears and that reader gave the book a 2 rating.  Actually, I think my husband also gave a book a 2 rating because of the killing of innocent people.  Emotional responses cannot be denied, and play a part in our enjoyment of a novel.

Maybe the point system is too complicated.  Could we simplify the process, to rating by words?
   awful, okay, good, very good, excellent.       What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I rate your entry today as excellent. It's such an interesting topic!