I’ve been playing around on GoodReads.com listing off and rating books. My goal is to have a fragmentary record of things I’ve read.
There are a couple things that I find tricky about rating books.
- How do I rate books I read 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago? At the time I really enjoyed the book, but now it doesn’t appeal at all.
- How do I keep meta information from creeping in? The book was great, but I found out later that the author is seriously convinced that underpants gnomes are out to get him and the only solution is to nuke Belgium. Alternately, the first book in a series was great, but as the series went on it devolved into rabid rants against underpants gnomes.
- How do I rate books that really grabbed me but are poorly written? Sometimes I know that the confused farmboy is really the lost prince and he’s going to defeat the evil overlord in the penultimate chapter of tome three, but I can’t put the book down. Do I give the book a 5 because it’s gripping or a 1 because it’s popcorn reading?
- How do I rate books I don’t finish? Sometimes I quit a book in disgust because it’s nasty and not going to get any better. Sometimes I just wander away and never comeback to an otherwise unremarkable book. Sometimes a fascinating book has to go back to the library before I finish it.
One thing that’s amused me is that there are books I read three months ago that I do not remember at all. I know I read them, they’re in my list and if I really try I can dig up some vague recollections, but I have no clue who the characters were, what the plot was, or when I read it. It makes me wonder how many books I have completely forgotten over the years.