Wednesday, May 27, 2015
"Wed's Wonderings & Wanderings": Rating Books Per Their Genre
Now I recently had a long discussion with my sister on how I choose to "judge" the books I read and review. I've found people will commonly read and review books thinking nothing about why they've judge the book the way they have, or perhaps what they are comparing the book to in order to judge the book appropriately. Reviewing something whether it be a book, meal, song or a piece of artwork requires thought and sometimes objectivity before one makes their final assessment.
To be objective one needs is not to be influenced by feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts. As a history major in college, I was taught this was the ONLY way to present your thoughts for historical purposes. So in writing reviews, which are obviously meant to be based completely on ones personal feelings, tastes or opinions, a reader is called to become subjective in their writing.
What I always try to do when I begin a book is read it objectively and by the end allow myself to be subjective in my reasoning when writing my reviews. Actually a review can sometimes become more comparative than subjective, but I'll get to that later. Because here's the thing most readers tend to do, by accident mind you, when they read a book most read it the same way they read any other book. Now before you think I'm a loon let me explain, a reader will accidentally find themselves reading a RomCom the same way they read a Romantic Suspense or Historical Fiction novel.
With every genre, and author, there subsequently comes a different style and mindset a reader needs to be set in to read such a book. Which is why when books are mislabeled readers get frustrated, I know I do. Readers can't expect their last romance to read like their next mystery novel. The case for every genre and author changes from book to book, and so should ones expectations for each book.
Consequently, when I judge books in a certain genre I evaluate them based on that genre, not how it read in comparison to another book, which was in a different genre. It's that principle of you can't compare apples and oranges, they maybe both fruit but they are different. Same goes with genre comparisons no good reviews will come of it and you won't be satisfied with your read if you try a new genre and only compare it to your favorite books, which probably aren't even in the same category. For example when reading a crime thriller written by a woman and lets say there's romance thrown in, and she enhances the romance more than the crime solving. Then there is a male author who also throws in romance to his story, in the same genre, because it's essential to the plot, but it's not the main point for his story so he doesn't overly focus on it. Now if you are a reader and you love romance novels and decide to try out the crime thriller genre for the first time you'd most likely love the woman author more and dislike the male author. Why? Only because the female author played to the genre you preferred, not to the genre you were actually reading. Meanwhile the male writer stuck to the genre, while the female writer may have gone to far into the romance genre distracting from the crime thriller plot line, which was meant to be the purpose of the story all along. So in the end personally I'd rate the male author higher than the female writer, because he comparatively stayed closer to the genre than the female author did.
So in the end rating and reviews always seem to boil down to personal tastes, which leaves people in the Subjective category. It's not always the case as this is a general assumption, but I would say most people don't think before they read or review. I know I will wait a few minutes to think things through and asses a few points before reviewing. Not before I verbally react mind you, because after I finish a book I definitely spew a few things out to the nearest friend or family member, or to myself. Either way the key to fully enjoying a book is to know what you'll be reading, as in the genre, and keeping an open mind especially if it's a new genre. Never be afraid to try a new genre, it's like going on a trip to a new place or trying a new place to eat with new exotic food, you may find that you like it and that is never a bad thing.