Sometime in May or June, I started thinking more and more about whether I should be rating books on this blog or not. So far, I’ve been using a 10-point scale, explained here. After some reflection, I’ve decided I’m no longer going to keep score. I made that decision based on two issues I’m recently finding with “rating” literature:
- Reading taste is like any taste – subjective. I don’t want to detract people from a potentially awesome reading experience just because I hated a book.
- I actually don’t seem to dislike that many books I’ve read, so my rating curve was becoming very heavily skewed. The reason for this was that even if I didn’t particularly enjoy reading a book, a lot of the time I still thought it had its merits so I found it difficult to give a low score. It may also be that I’m just bloody amazing at judging my own taste and therefore only buy books I’ll enjoy (Charlotte Roche’s Feuchtgebiete sort of defeats that point though).
I will still tag them with the categories of Awesome, Pretty Good, So-So, and Nuisance, but I think this is a lot more personal than attaching a blatant numerical score. [social science geek mode on] There is something to be said for qualitative methods, after all. [social science geek mode off]
I’ll also keep my Goodreads account, where rating is part of the site’s philosophy. It helps me organise the books I want to investigate/read, and Goodreads at least mitigates one of the problems I have with keeping score on my blog: people who turn to Goodreads for information are less likely to pick their reads based on my judgement alone, but based on an overall score averaged from the opinions of many different readers. [social science geek mode on] In the ideal case, the larger the sample, the smaller the error term, right? [social science geek mode off].
Public service announcement over.