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Monday, February 8, 2010

Good, Better, Best Why I Read the Books I Do

Why do I read?

Truth be told, I'm a word addict. Anything that looks like a language I might be able to decipher I will read. If it's lying there, uncovered, it's as tempting as a huge slice of chocolate cake dumped on my plate after dinner. How am I supposed to say no?

There might be words I avoid reading. Like any good dieter I know my weakness, and I don't allow certain reading material in my home because I know that, if it's there, I will read.

From time to time I stumble upon brand new books. Gifts, prizes, or random orphans from family trips and charity events I bring these books home, give into temptation, and read with wanton abandon. You'll see me post about various titles through the year. I have my own code, so to speak. My own way of rating every book. Here it is:

Forgettable: The worst thing that can be said about a book is that it is forgettable. This is the book that I start reading with every good intention, put down because RL interferes, and I forget to pick it up again. The book was so uninspiring that I simply forget I'm reading it. Ouch.

Okay: These are the books that I can read, enjoy while I read, but I walk away from. They aren't bad books, they just aren't special. I can probably remember the main plot points, possibly the main characters name, but this isn't a book I'll reread or give to friends.
Example: Siddhartha

Pretty good: When I finish a book and say, "That was pretty good," it's really a high compliment. It means I might reread this book if I'm in the right mood. I might recommend this book to a friend who I think will enjoy the plot.
Example: Most of Shakespeare

Really Great: This is a fantastic book that I can pick up and enjoy at any time. I don't have to be in the right mood or hunting for a certain flavor of book, this piece satisfies every time I open it.
Example: Coredlia's Honor by Louis McMaster Bujold

The Best: These are the books that seduce me from across the room. If I see them lying around I'll stop what I'm doing to read. I probably have most of this book memorized. I know every detail of the main character's life and know the birthdays of all the minor characters. Walking away from the book, I can remember details. I think about the book. I laugh at the book's jokes even if I haven't read the line in months. I will try to force this book on innocent passers-by because they need to love it too.
Example: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

How do you rate books?


  1. I would need to spend some time coming up with other categories, but my most prestigious level is "I'm stuck on a deserted, tropical, and inhabitable island for the rest of my life (which is hopefully a really long time) and can only have these couple of books with me..."

    I hope this isn't terribly lame, but Kerouac's "On the Road" personally fits the bill.

    Oh, my lowest category is "Dante's Tenth Circle of Hell" (wherein one is forced to read the book for eternity while constantly listening to old school modem connecting noises and having a perpetual arctic blast directed at the bare nether regions).

    For me, any James Patterson book qualifies...

  2. J.M. - I'll have to try On the Road.

    My current Tropical Island book would be Cordelia's Honor. I love that book! Especially the ending.

    Dante's circle would be reserved for that horrible cozy novel my father sent where the time line is horribly twisted and the sentence structure is all frogged up beyond reason. It may be a translation, but it's poorly done.

  3. That a great rating system. I tend to rank them 1-5 like with stars.