I got this infographic thing in my e-mail box the other day:
I’m not really sure what to make of it. I mean, sure it’s cool and all but how is the “top 1%” figured out? I saw an estimate that Goodreads has somewhere in the area of 50 million users. IF that’s true being part of the top 1% is interesting, but it puts me in a group with about 500,000 other people. Not nearly as special as it might sound.
It’s also interesting to see the review of mine that got the most attention was related to Star Wars ~ and was 6 years ago. This is one of those good / bad things depending on how you want to look at it. Hopefully I’ll see another one of these in the future. Could be a neat way to look back at some of what I’ve done. Goodreads doesn’t catch everything though. I do put my reviews up at MilSciFi from time to time as well (when the book fits). I’ve posted my review philosophy there, but I don’t know how many folks have ever managed to get over there to see it so I thought I’d re-post it here. Pop over and check out MilSciFi too!
It’s important to start by stating the fact that I am a fan first. Yes, I help to publish a monthly fanzine. It’s also true that I’m an author and artist when I can squeeze that in along with my day job. It’s important to state these things because I make every effort to be honest and fair with my reviews. If I like something, I’ll tell you. If I don’t like something, I’ll try to figure out what it is exactly that bothers me, but I’m going to say I don’t like it. I don’t intend criticism to be personal about any author. I know how hard it is to make it work when you’re writing a novel.
I intend to stick with the five star rating system. I’ve always considered stars to be very limited, but I can’t really come up with a better system on my own. I’ll make them work. I am a terrible grader, in that I don’t consider average to be a horrible thing. I don’t just give five star ratings away. I consider five stars to be something rarely achievable. I also believe a book has to have gone really wrong to end up in the one star category. I can only recall two I’ve read that have landed at a single star. Getting it really right is tough, but it’s just as challenging to get it really wrong.
An example is probably best here. I would give The Hobbit five stars. The writing style struck a chord with me. The story is one that stands up to a reread despite the fact that I read it the first time when I was nine or ten. I’ve gone back and read the book more than once. The depth of world building shows through the writing without becoming a bludgeon. I feel that is a standard for the full five star rating. It moved me. It changed something in my outlook and really made me think. I haven’t put any others up to that level yet. I say “yet” not because I haven’t read other excellent and moving books, but because I’m not going to rate backwards in time. I will only rate/review a book should I read it *again*. While I consider The Good Earth another five star book, I’m not going to put something like that out for consideration until I read it again.
Having said all that about stars, I will also be upfront about any book (or books) where my own work shows up. Pretty easy to say that a book of my own, or an anthology containing a story of mine would get a five star rating from me. You should know that up front if I expect you to care about my reviews. I’ve seen others that give everything they read a four or five star rating. I don’t give those reviews much weight. I don’t expect you would either.
That’s my non legal disclaimer. I’m a fan. I try to be fair about what I read. I can’t wait to see the next cool story headed my way.