2006 Reading Year in Review - Part 3: Grades

>> Thursday, January 04, 2007

A quick explanation about my grading system: I use letter grades, adding negatives and positives when necessary.

A C book is average, usually either a bland one or one in which the negatives and positives balance each other. Books B- and above are books I'd recommend, with increasing enthusiasm up until A+ books, which are books so perfect I couldn't have enjoyed them more (unfortunately, quite rare).

D books are bad ones, but with at least something positive to them, while F books are those which are so offensively bad I couldn't find a single good thing to say about them (fortunately, also rare).

Finally, there are always a couple of books I mark DNF, books so bad I Did Not Finish them (I only use DNF if I've read about half the book or more; if I just read, say, 20 pages and put it down, I simply won't note it down in the spreadsheet).

I should also mention that I rate books for my enjoyment of them, not out of some objective measure of their technical quality. Of course, good quality will tend to make me enjoy a book more, but I'm perfectly comfortable with grading down a technically 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.

With all this said, on to my results. Converting my letter grades into numbers, with the A+ being a 12, A being an 11, etc, until F and DNF, which are a 0, I can arrive to an average grade for books read this year. For 2006, that number is 7.9, which would be around a B. For 2005, that number was only ever-so-slightly higher, a straight 8, which means on the whole, I've enjoyed my reading quite as much as I did last year (and just as much as in 2004, which was also 7.9. I'm nothing if not regular).

As in earlier years, the great majority of the books I read in 2006 were in the B range:70% (up from 63% in 2005)! I did better with A reads last year, though: 18% were in the A range in 2005, while only 11% fell in that category in 2006. This all means that the percentage of my reads that I would recommend to others would be 82%, very similar to the 81% I had in 2005. And hey, that's excellent!

Another thing that was also good was that this year I had only 1 D+, 1 D and 2 DNF. Last year, OTOH, I read more bad books: 10 books got D+ or less.

Full listing (if it doesn't add up, that's the rounding up, sorry):

A+: 0.5% (only 1 book this year, Archangel, by Sharon Shinn)
A: 4.5%
A-: 6.5%
B+: 35.8%
B: 23.4%
B-: 10.9%
C+: 8.5%
C: 4.5%
C-: 3.5%
D+: 0.5%
D: 0.5%
D-: 0%
F: 0%
DNF: 1%

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.

All rereads this year got B or higher from me, so the distribution I get is the following:

First-time reads: 8%
Rereads: 26%

First-time reads: 69%
Rereads: 74%

First-time reads: 20%
Rereads: 0%

First-time reads: 1%
Rereads: 0%

First-time reads: 0%
Rereads: 0%

First-time reads: 1%
Rereads: 0%

Coming up tomorrow: Genres and subgenres


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