Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What Makes a Book Good?

We've been blogging since August and this post from me is a little overdue. LOL I was reading Tiny Little Librarian's blog (see link on left hand side of blog under "Website's We Like") and it has spurred me on to post my own system to rating the books I read and to explain what those numbers mean in my "Final Take" area.

These are a few things I consider and ask myself when I'm making a rating/writing a review (In order of importance to me):

How did it make me feel? Did I not want the book to end? Did I find anything redeeming about any of the characters? Could I understand where the characters were coming from? Did I have emotional reactions to the storyline?

How does the book open? Did the first few lines or pages hook me? Was I intrigued by the initial plot presented? Did it make me want to read more?

How does the book end? Was I satisfied with the ending? Did it wrap up the plot? Did it close too quickly or end just in time? If I didn't like the ending did it still make sense in the context of the story?

How developed are the characters? Did they mature/grow during the course of the plot? Did they change at all? Can I identify with some characteristic of the main character or can I put myself in their shoes? Were how they changed/developed realistic or far-fetched?

How does it compare to some other books in the same genre? I try to look at other books I've read that are similar in nature and see how they compare good or bad to those others. If it's the same author I also take that into consideration, especially if it's a series.

How's the writing? Bad grammar? Plot holes? Research errors? Typos? I'm not as much of a stickler about this as Lisa is but grammar is huge for me. I think that things such as bad grammar and typos are up to the editor to find. Plot holes and research errors are author issues but also should be raised by the editor. I think if the book is a memoir than it really is up to the publishing house to do their due diligence to verify facts.

Did I learn something? It doesn't have to be anything earth shattering but maybe it caused me to think about a subject matter differently.

What do those numbered ratings mean?

5 - Can't imagine not having read it. It was pure enjoyment and I wouldn't change a thing. Will pressure others into reading it. Will probably read it again at somepoint.

4 - Loved it but probably would have changed a few things whether it be the ending or some of the characters.

3 - Wasn't bad/liked it. Not sorry I read it but definitely wouldn't read it again and depending on the author might or might not read another one of their's. Some significant plot or character issues.

2 - Who the heck told me to read this? Or what was I thinking when I picked this book up? Wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Major plot and/or character issues.

1 - Probably will never happen because I won't waste my time on it past the first 50 pages if it doesn't hook me. If it's an author I love, I might come back to it wondering if my life is getting in the way of enjoying a good book. (i.e. Jodi Picoult's Songs of the Humpback Whale)

You can also count on 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 from me because sometimes it's just necessary.

I hope this helps all of you who read our blog understand how I rate the books I read.

Related: What Makes A Book Good - Lisa
What Makes A Book Good - Jenn


tinylittlelibrarian January 9, 2008 at 2:54 PM  

Wow, you've put so much thought into it, that's cool! Mine feel very inadequate now... :)

Julie January 9, 2008 at 3:00 PM  

LOL. But you inspired me to do this. I just used what Lisa posted way back when and customized it. :) Thought I should explain what the numbers meant too. LOL

Jeane January 11, 2008 at 2:44 PM  

I appreciate reading through all the thought you put into your ratings! Usually mine is just a gut reaction, not so well thought out.

Ladytink_534 January 11, 2008 at 7:09 PM  

I think I might start rating the books I read too.

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