Monday, August 4, 2014

Judging Books

I know I've talked about reviews here before, but something occurred to me over the weekend.  Judging books is like judging people.  I take into account what the book is before I make my judgments about it.  I don't read a romance novel and hold it up to the same list of standards I would for a suspense, or a historical, or a classic, or a SF/F - because they're different.

Which is why a give a lot of books 4 or 5 stars.  And the books I give them to deserve them. 

Or maybe I really am holding all the books I read up to the same general standard - Did it entertain me? 

Perhaps the analogy would be more appropriate if I said 'judging dogs' instead of 'judging people'.  Ever watch the Westminster Kennel Club dog show?  Each dog isn't judged against other dogs, but rather to a breed standard.  Which is why for the 'best in show' category, you'll find maybe a chihuahua competing against a great dane.  There's no way those dogs can be compared to each other, but they are competing against one another - to see which one best meets its breed standard.  Is the chihuahua better at being a chihuahua than the great dane is at being a great dane? 

So, when I finish reading a book, I'm more like 'did this meet the standards I require when I read this genre?' than 'did this book meet the standards of all great books?'  Because if I held every book up to the latter rather than the former, I'm afraid I'd be doling out a whole lot fewer stars. 

Just a thought.

What do you think?


Silver James said...

I tend to not rate or review books that didn't meet my standards. Sometimes a book will get a 3 from me, which means I enjoyed the book overall but there were some problems along the way--grammar/editing or predictability. I also end up judging a lot of contests because...I'm a sucker like that. LOL These normally are books I would not pick up to read on my own. Sometimes, I'm blown away and find a new author. Sometimes I cringe and suck it up to "take one for the team."

I like your dog show analogy. That's pretty much how I work, too. :D

B.E. Sanderson said...

I wish all reviewers were like you, Silver. Although, I tend to be more forgiving of grammar and editing depending on the book (if the story's good, I'm really forgiving). I don't know if I could take one for the team, though. Probably why I don't judge contests. ;o)

Thanks! And I just thought of something else - those bad reviews where the person openly states they don't read the genre and they hated the book. That's like the guy who hates chihuahuas getting hired to judge them at Westminster. Bleh.

jblynn said...

I really like your WKC analogy. That's how I judge books too.

One size does NOT fit all.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks, JB! Nope, not at all.

Aisyah Putri Setiawan said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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