Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Rooney Rating System

Reader reviews seem to be a can of wiggly worms these days. In the past few months, I’ve seen writers blow up nastily at reviewers, writers pretend to be gushing reviewers of their own work, and yes, even someone who plagiarised reviews for no obvious motivation that I could see.

With all that madness, I decided to be as plain and boring as possible.

Credit: Dimitri_C at
I don’t review books I don’t like. When I read, I read for fun, so there is little point in being a grump about it. If you ask me to read something, and I don’t like it, you’re probably just going to get a private message or email with my reasoning.

If I finish a book, it means it did something right- it compelled me onward. So while getting a 2 might not be the greatest ego boost, anything rated 3 and above means I was happy to read the book and it met my general pre-requisites for quality.

3 is always the best I hope for. Anything above that is an unexpected treat. I do admit that I am more likely to give 4s and 5s in my favourite genres.  These are the books I re-read, and I’m far more likely to stay in familiar territory for that.

My ratings

1 – I'll try not to do that
I’ll never review a book that I give a 1 – even if someone asks me to. In fact, I probably won’t even finish it and it will go in my “gave up” pile. It usually means that the book offered me no enjoyment and very little in the way of learning. Well, other than “don’t do that” when writing.

2 – I finished it
2s are books that were okay. The best I could say about them was that I finished them. I might review a 2 if I feel the book has opened up an interesting stream for discussion or has presented an intriguing notion.

3 – Good distraction
I enjoy 3s. It means they’ve distracted me from my life for a few hours, which always make me happy. 3s are well-written and high quality works and are always worth the read.

4 – Rewind and repeat
4s usually have an extra kick that makes me want to re-read them. It could be cute and cuddly gimmick, one of those epic fight scenes were the underdog gets his day, or even something as simple as a character that makes me smile/cry/cheer. They’re either epic in scope or just make me feel good.

5 – Master crafted
5s are much like 4s in terms of how much I enjoyed the book, but they also excel in one more thing: they’ve taught me something valuable about writing. These are the books that I’ll re-read as a writer.

So in a nutshell (for the authors):
1 or 2 – not a fabulous rating to get
3 to 5 – shiny ratings; nothing unreadable here
4 or 5 – you’re in my preferred genre; you’re teaching me how to become a better writer; or you created a quirky side-kick whose name is a number

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