If you’re an author, you are now probably reconsidering asking me to review their book. But before you scratch my name off your list, let me explain.
I remember back in 1976 when Nadia Comaneci was awarded a perfect score at the Olympics. Even then I wondered, “Does that mean there is no room for improvement? What would happen if someone did better? How could they be rewarded since there is nothing beyond a perfect score?”
Just so you know, I think it’s odd that you can get 110 percent on a test, especially a math test. (Think about that for a moment.)
At any rate, how does that apply to the books I review?
When it comes to the five-star system, this is where my brain goes . . .
Five Stars . . . no room for improvement (not 80-100 percent as my math-loving friends would conclude)
Four Stars . . . incredibly good; a book I would highly recommend
Three Stars . . . good; I might recommend it, but I found some major shortcomings
Two Stars . . . I probably wouldn’t finish the book.
One Star . . . I probably wouldn’t get past the first page, definitely not the first chapter.
See how restrictive that can be?
The bulk of books I read would get a three or three-and-a-half, and that can be extremely discouraging to the author. It doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, but it didn’t grab me by the throat either.
Perhaps I should develop my own system. How about this?
This is reserved for those novels that take my breath away, engage me from the get-go, and keep me turning pages – or, at least, make me wish I could. I would also give a Wow! rating to those nonfiction books that I could describe as life-changing or, at least, make me significantly change how I do something.
You really should read this.
I would have no qualms about recommending this book to others. There may be a hiccup or two within the storyline, but the positives more than make up for them. In the case of nonfiction, these would be the books that I found thought-provoking and made a lasting impression.
Good but not for me.
There are some very well-written books out there that I would recommend to others, but didn’t grab me and with which I didn’t really connect.
These books would be those in which I found few redeeming features. They aren’t worth railing against, but I wouldn’t recommend them. In fact, I might point out their flaws when asked my opinion.
Run away; run away now!
This would be reserved for those books that would make me consider advocating book burning. Just kidding . . . sort of.
How about you? How do you interpret the five-star system?