2016/08/24

BOOKISH REFLECTIONS:
HOW I RATE BOOKS

Around two years ago (blows my mind that it's been two years) I wrote this post on ratings, basically explaining how I rate the books I read. However, after some time has passed, I find myself in need of sharing my updated thoughts on this topic.

What's happened is that I see myself being much stricter in my ratings nowadays. I think it has something to do with reading much more than I used to and having read a fair amount of books, I have developed a bit of a different taste for what I appreciate and what I don't. I also have to say that I trust myself more with my own thoughts on books, now being more able to explain what I think.

I still use a five star rating system (the one Goodreads uses), but my thoughts behind the different ratings has changed a bit:

1 STAR
This rating means I did not like the book. It isn't often I use this rating, as there is almost always something good to find in most of the books I read, but I find that I have used it a couple of times in the last few years, whereas before I never did. It's still rare though.

2 STARS
This means I though it was OK. I find that there are many books that are just OK, and even though 2 seems like such a strict rating, it's not necessarily. Sometimes a book is just OK and that's fine. 

3 STARS
This rating means I read and enjoyed the book and that I liked it. For me, 3 stars is not a bad rating at all - I find that most of the books that I read are 3 star reads, and most of the time, I would still recommend them, because I enjoyed them, but I'm usually a bit more specific as to what kind of readers I think would enjoy these books. About 40-50% of the books I read get this rating. 

4 STARS
This means I thought the book was great, and there was something to it that made it above average. It also means I would highly recommend it. There will still be an element or two that I thought made it less than perfect (or sometimes just a feeling), but still, 4 star reads are some pretty damn good books. About 30% of the books I read are 4 star reads.

5 STARS
The ultimate rating means I LOVED IT. I used to throw this around to more than a few books, but how often is it that you really love a book? Not that often. Even though not all 5 star reads make it into my favorite shelf, this rating is for books I truly adore and probably push on people. I'd say about 10% of the books I read make it into this category, if not less.


There are things that play into my rating of books that I feel a need to mention:

Genre:
I usually take the genre into consideration when reading a book, as I think it matters. However, it doesn't play as much of a role as it used to, as I think sometimes the genre can be used as an excuse - or sometimes even as a defense - but a good book is a good book. A genre doesn't guarantee a good or bad book, and it shouldn't restrain it.

0.5s:
I don't use 0.5 ratings. I try to make up my mind and if I'm unsure, I usually tip the scale down. 

Expectations:
This is still a big issue. I try to note my expectations in my reviews if it has made an impact, which it often has. It's near impossible to stay unfazed, but I think it's important to mention when it makes a difference.

I hope you found this enlightening. I would love to know how you rate your books (if you do) and if your way differs from mine.
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2016/08/23

TOP 5:
NONFICTION BOOKS I WANT TO READ III

It's time to look at some more nonfiction from my TBR! I've been reaching for so much nonfiction this year and keeping adding tons to my list of books to read, so I thought I would share some with you.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander


This is a book about incarceration in America, a land deemed colorblind, and yet most of the people behind bars are black. I find this topic very interesting, so I can't wait to read this one.

Fearless Girls, Wise Women and Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World by Kathleen Ragan


The title says it all. What I'm most intrigued by is that it looks at tales from many different countries and cultures.

In Search of Buddha's Daughters: A Modern Journey Down Ancient Roads by Christine Toomey


A journalist vividly reports on her two year global journey with women across the world who dedicates their lives of buddhism.

Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years by John Guy


Apparently this is a groundbreaking book that sees our favorite Tudor queen Elizabeth in a new light. Who doesn't love a bit of female power in 16th century?

The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria by Janine Di Giovanni


Tales from ordinary people in Syria through one of the most brutal conflicts in recent history. I think this will be heartbreaking but important.

Do you have any nonfiction books on your TBR?

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2016/08/22

BOOK REVIEW:
VINEGAR GIRL BY ANNE TYLER

Title: Vinegar Girl
Author: Anne Tyler
Published: 2016
Language: English
Pages: 240
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
In this retelling of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, a woman realises her father is trying to marry her off to his awkward, foreign lab assistant so he can stay in the country.


Review:
Though I have never read The Taming of the Shrew, I am quite familiar with the plot and so felt like it would be fun to read this retelling. And it was definitely entertaining.

This is a quick and easy read. The characters are good, the plot is fast-paced and amusing and there are parts of dialogue that is quite witty. It doesn't have a lot of big surprises a long the way but it's still a fun ride.

It's not amazing though, and certainly not perfect. I think almost all the characters could've been sharper and the whole story could have dug deeper and hit harder. I found the ending a bit lacking in strength, to be honest, it wasn't quite there for me.

Like I said though, I found it wholly entertaining and I read it in a jiffy. If you enjoy a witty romance, I would recommend it.
You can get this book at The Book Depository.
You can read more about it on Goodreads.
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