>> Friday, January 06, 2006
I rate books I read not so much using technical criteria, but on how much I've enjoyed them. Of course, many technical issues will affect my enjoyment. I mean, if the writing is bad or ungrammatical enough for me to notice, or if the pacing is off and so on, I obviously will enjoy the book less. However, I'm perfectly comfortable with grading down a techincally good book for using a particular plot point I dislike and with giving an A grade to a book I know is flawed, just because it clicked with me and I loved reading every word of it (Susanna Kearsley, I'm thinking of you!).
Aaaanyway, I use letter grades + negatives and positives, with a C book being average, books B- and above being books I'd recommend, A+ books being books I couldn't have enjoyed more (and also being quite rare), and F books being books so offensively bad I couldn't find a single good thing to say about them (fortunately, also rare).
The great majority of the books I read in 2005 were in the B range: 63%! 18% were in the A range, so it means I'd be comfortable recommending about 81% of what I read this year. Pretty good!
Of course, this grade distribution includes both rereads and first-time reads, and I obviously only reread books I thought were really great the first time around, so the distribution for first-time reads should be quite different. I mean, I only gave A+ to two new-to-me books this year: the new Harry Potter and Fallen From Grace, by Laura Leone!
Looking at the grade distribution for non-rereads I see that, while the number of B books was still quite high, there were significantly fewer As, and quite a few more Cs. Still very few Ds and no Fs, though, so this was a pretty good year!