Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Book Reviews: The Explanation

Today I am about to post my first book review. Before I post it I just thought I would explain a little bit about the format, and why I talk about what I talk about. For me, there are two main things I want to know about in a book:

  1. Is it a good story?
  2. If we were using the movie rating system for content, what would it be rated?

All of my reviews will answer these two questions. The format will be fairly simple:

Book Title



Length (in pages)

Quality Rating on a 1 to 10 scale

Content Rating on a G to R scale

Paragraph explaining quality rating choice

Paragraph explaining content rating choice

The first four parts are easily explained. To write a review you need a title and author. Genre and Length are listed for those people who have biases for or against certain genres or lengths. Personally, I love a good scifi or fantasy book and the longer the better. But I know people who think scifi is for dorks, and people who think anything over three hundred pages is much much much too long. So those are listed for your convenience. After that the quality rating and content rating will be listed. These ratings are followed by explanatory paragraphs, so you know why I rated them like I did.

My quality rating system is your basic 1 to 10 scale. A 1 means that I can't believe I just wasted the money to buy it, the time to read it, the thought to process it, and the breath to live through it. In short, I'd rather die than reread this book (a little extreme but you get the idea). A 5 would be a perfectly acceptable book. I don't think I wasted my time, but it was not something that struck me as extraordinary. A 10 is something you should not even question. Just go out and buy it. A 10 means that the book changed my life on a deep level, made me reevaluate everything I thought was real, and must immediately be added to the list of books I will reread once a year for the rest of my life. In short, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

My content rating system is based on how I see movies rated. F word used more than twice? R rating. Automatic style. D word used once or twice with limited hinted at sexual content? That's a PG style book. No violence? No sex? No cursing? Man, I must be reading Clifford the Big Red Dog. That gets a G.

Since ratings are my opinion, I think they both warrant explanations. In my quality rating explanation I will highlight what I liked or disliked about how the story was written minus details when I can. I will compare it to other books if I feel it is appropriate, and I will mention what sort of readers might like or dislike the book. In the content rating section I will explain why it got the rating it did. I will also highlight curse word usage, sexual content, and violence. For example if a book gets a PG-13 for intense violence, I will say so, and tell you whether the curse word usage and sexual content was maybe a PG instead of a PG-13. I think these are the three big things parents and readers are looking for when it comes to a book rating, though if there are other common things you're looking for let me know.

The reason why I rate books is mentioned in this post. The reason why I highlight the things I do is because some of them bother me. I don't like excessive cursing or sexual content in a book but violence doesn't bother me (I think violence doesn't bother me because my mind tends to skip over description and action in books. I like dialogue, which often has cursing). Some people don't mind cursing or sexual content but hate violence. So once again this is just an area to list what is in a book, and how to rate it based off of my knowledge of how the movie rating system works. No one starts controversy about rating Terminator Salvation PG-13 when all the other terminator movies are R. (Notice Salvation didn't use the f word whereas the other Terminator movies used it every other word).

Now for those of you who are curious as to what this will look like, the next post is the review of Pandora's Star. Enjoy.

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