Reviewing Philosophy

I just updated the Book Reviews tab to further clarify my reviewing philosophy. I thought I’d bring your attention to it here as well.


I rate books using a five-star scale:

5 stars = Wonderful, you MUST read this! 4 stars = Great, would recommend 3 stars = I’m glad I read it but I would not necessarily recommend others read it 2 stars = I’m NOT glad I read it and wouldn’t recommend it to others 1 star = Absolutely horrible

When I review a book, I hold it up the standards of it’s genre. While I expect books that are considered “literary fiction” to be well-written and plotted, I am not going to compare a trashy paranormal romance novel to Shakespeare. I’m of the opinion that it’s okay to read books just for fun and not every book I read needs to be a candidate for the next great American novel. My reviewing philosophy for books is similar to Roger Ebert’s reviewing policy for movies:

“What it means is that the star rating system is relative, not absolute. When you ask a friend if Hellboy is any good, you’re not asking if it’s any good compared to Mystic River, you’re asking if it’s any good compared to The Punisher. And my answer would be, on a scale of one to four, if Superman (1978) is four, then Hellboy is three and The Punisher is two. In the same way, if American Beauty gets four stars, then Leland clocks in at about two.”