A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Making the Grade

One of the most compelling reasons I started reading blogs and then writing my own was to see and share thoughts and opinions about books. Reviews. That still holds true almost three years later. I'm always curious to read, see, and hear about what someone else thinks about a book we've both read. Or, might read.

Real nirvana is sitting with a
whole group of people up close and personal to chat on and on and on about favorite books and characters. I've had that good fortune and experience with the SoCal Bloggers and it was so much fun I can't even tell you.

Anyway, Holly recently wrote a post for Book Binge about her review preferences. I found myself agreeing with many of the points she was making. For instance, I completely agreed with her thoughts about the blurb. That said, I have to say what really stood out were her comments on grades. Specifically, the grade the reviewer gives the book.

Holly noted she always looks for a grade in the book review. Me too! I immediately thought, "Good, I'm not the only one." Holly's article goes on to list other points that are important to her about reviews, but I was stuck on that first one. Grades.

You might be thinking, "What's weird about that?" Well, when I started my blog I made a conscious decision to NOT put a grade on my reviews. My logic, which seems sort of dumb now, was that I frequently waffled in my feelings about some books. I didn't feel confident about being able to nail a specific measurement on a book. Additionally, I have to admit, that while I always try to give reasons 'why' I did or didn't like a book, I really didn't want to have to start defending any given grade I might slap up.

I realized when I was reading Holly's remarks how important looking for a grade in a review had become for me. Particularly now with so many posts to read each day, I will skim reviews and look for the grade. So picture it, there I am trolling through Romancelandia looking for the grade on everyone else's reviews and I'm not putting any on mine. Sometimes I'm such a dork.

Thanks to Holly we are making changes here at Nobody asked me... The bottom line? Starting with my TBR Day review of Beau Crusoe I began putting a grade on my reviews. I thought it might be more momentous for me, but it wasn't. In fact, it was sort of liberating and anti-climatic at the same time.

I guess since I've been grading books, sort of, on my personal spread sheet all along it's not going to be that big of a deal. Who knew?



Blogger nath said...

Hi there Rosie :D

I'm glad you'll be giving a grade now :D However, the arguments you have for not giving a grade are good too. I actually think that it's very hard to give a grade, whether it's a no. or a letter... but it does make it easier for people who reads your reviews :P By the way, you're not the only one waffling :P

4:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Nath, everyone else's reviews seem so organized and direct compared to mine most of the time. I have a tendency to write like I talk...all over the place. I've toyed with going to a format, but nothing I've seen really fits me. Maybe I'll make one up one of these old days.

6:35 AM PDT  
Blogger Holly said...

It's funny that you say your reviews are all over the place and unorganized, because I love them. Maybe it's because you write like you talk?

I really struggle to write reviews, too. Most of the time I finish one and go, "Dude, that doesn't even make sense" LOL Ahh, well.

And you know, it's really funny that you posted this today, because..well, I never noticed before that you don't include a grade. I guess your reviews are just that good. :P

10:48 AM PDT  
Blogger Kristie (J) said...

I've always rated the books I review - but it's been the grade *I wish I knew how to italicize* I *end of imaginary italics* give it. I certainly don't figure it will be the same for every reader. But for me, I grade them on my spreadsheet 'cause it makes it easier to do polls and stuff - so I just carried it over to the blog.

7:42 AM PDT  
Blogger Marg said...

Now, I have gone the opposite way. I used to always give a grade on my reviews but I have stopped doing that. The main reason I stopped is because a lot of the time I wanted to second guess my grade a day, a week or a month later. I do still grade for my spreadsheets and things but I don't put it on my review.

3:50 PM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Holly, thanks about the reviews. Yes, I frequently write like I talk which makes for some interesting editing I can tell you. Wow, really? You never noticed there wasn't a grade?

Kristie, I don't think every book is the same for every reader either, but when I started out I was a bit timid about being so direct about my opinion of a book with a grade. I've always had grades on my speadsheet.

Marg, LOL, now I'm quoting Holly, because I read your reviews all the time but never noticed they all didn't have grades.

7:11 PM PDT  
Blogger lisabea said...

Oh that's just great Rosie. I stopped giving grades completely because I'd go back and think: WHAT? I gave that book a b+? What was I thinking???? So now it's recommend for x reason...don't recommend...

I'm not a reviewer...I'm a, uh, recommender! OH noes.

7:03 AM PDT  
Blogger Rosie said...

Dear Miss Recommender, whatever works, yeah? Because even without a grade I'm reading books you "recommend". *whispers* Pssstt!! Really no grade? Why do I think everyone else is grading?

12:04 PM PDT  

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