Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lousy

There is a site I belong to that gives its members the freedom to review a book by one word:

"outstanding"

"lousy"

"crap".

Or, almost as bad, to review a book by simply using stars:

The guidelines are: 1 star: I hated it
                             2 stars: it was okay
                             3 stars: I liked it
                             4 stars: I really loved it
                             5 stars: It was amazing.

What do you think about this kind of book reviewing?

16 Comments:

At 18 October, 2010 , Blogger Karen Elizabeth Brown said...

Seems to me that a writer who is reviewing a piece would have more to say about ANYTHING than just one word sentences. Besides, it doesn't do the author any good if he/she can't learn and grow from the reviews.
Stars are good when you are selling things and I realize there are time and limited space issues. But there needs to be good feedback, if that's the purpose of the exercise, or it would be wasted time and energy on everyone's part.
Karen

 
At 18 October, 2010 , Blogger Rettakat said...

I TOTALLY agree with Karen, only she said it better!

Whenever anyone says to me "I like that" about something I have created, I am almost always tempted to ask "why?".

Loretta

 
At 18 October, 2010 , Blogger Quenby said...

If only evaluation was this simple. If I wrote this on a student's paper, I'm certain they would never improve their writing, and may actually question whether or not I've read their paper since I can't express why it's bad or good. These are such ambiguous statements. A writer needs to understand why something works or doesn't work. A one liner may work for describing your kitten as cute, but doesn't work when evaluating writing.

Stars are great as a heading of some sort, but should never stand alone to speak for themselves. For instance, I've watched so many amazing movies whose rating was rather low on the IMDb or similar rating site. Had I let the rating system prevent me from enjoying these movies, I'd be missing out on some great art. Similarly, I've seen movies that are horrid but have great scores. Ratings are subjective, and because of this, arguing why you use the descriptors that you do helps to put that subjectivity into perspective so the audience can better grasp what's at stake.

Granted, people can be lazy, and a star rating is a great way to avoid wasting time. Then again, those who think reading is ever a waste of time probably wouldn't even read an extended review, anyway.

 
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