“Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible, and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.”-J.R.R.Tolkien
This page used to house a fairly standard rating system, scaled from numbers 1-5. Since starting this blog, I’ve had a change in perspective. Frankly, ratings seem futile. There is no universal definition for what a 1 out of 5 ought to mean, and why a book should fall under a given category. My definition of 5 out of 5 may be completely opposed to another definition. Our criteria could be different, even though both of our arguments could be sound. At the end of the day, art—which I wholeheartedly believe books are—resist categorization. And they do so for good reason too. Imagine, if you will, a world where books were measured like a pH test, or they’re impacts explained by the Richter scale!
Instead, I’ve opted for a simpler approach where I advise you—my most spifftacular readers—whether or not you should buy the book yourselves, borrow it, or bypass it all together. Isn’t alliteration wonderful? The following is a brief summary of each of the three Bs, though feel free to ignore this completely as they are fairly self-explanatory. But where would writers be if we let things explain themselves? Frightened and out of the job, that’s where.
Buy: if I bought the book and enjoyed it, chances are I feel you ought to as well. And I am generally a very frugal nerd, so I don’t advise people to spend money lightly. Of course, if you weren’t willing to buy books then I doubt that you’d be frequenting book review blogs. For exceptional books, I will probably recommend either the hardcover or the paper back, but for books that I found tolerable I will advise a paperback purchase. Some, of course, may be tolerable yet not enough to tempt you.
Borrow: most of us are inclined to do this anyway. It’s good for the environment and for our moth filled wallets. Generally speaking, I will always recommend that you borrow even the best books. However, this suggestion is very useful for books that I wasn’t enormously impressed by, but also not regretful at the brain cells I wasted by reading them. That honor is reserved for the bypass category.
Bypass: I didn’t like the book. It pained me, and made my temples throb and required a lot of cat cuddling and hot chocolate in order to heal. I want to spare you the same pain, so I will recommend this course of action. Unless I know you, and I don’t like you. Then I’ll send you a doctored review that advises you to buy the hardcover.