Month: September 2012

Monthly Review – September 2012

Posted September 30, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

Now that September comes to a close, I would like to hear what people thought of As I Lay Dying. Did you read it? Did you find it difficult? Or any other comments you want to make of this book. Personally I found it difficult to read, and while I wouldn’t say I really enjoyed this book, I did find the writing style very interesting.

Next month’s book is to help celebrate banned booked week (which is currently on now) and we will be reading Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses which has been often described as one of the most controversial and acclaimed novels ever written. I’m sure this book will spark some interesting conversations but I do worry that it may cause fights. I hope everyone reading and  discussing the book, does so in a respectful manner. Also as a reminder that next month we will be reading House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski as part of the Horror theme and we will be looking for a book to fit the Road Trip/Travel theme. If you’re not aware, the book discussion and everything else will be happening over on the Goodreads forums, so feel free to join in there.

During the month I’ve read some great books, but I wasn’t as productive as last month. Some of the highlights from the months reading include, Justin Cronin’s The Twelve which I was lucky enough to get an advanced review copy of, Dare Me by Megan Abbott and He Died with his Eyes Open by Derek Raymond. But my favourite of the month was The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers; which is a heartbreaking work of beauty. A book of friendship and loss, The Yellow Birds follows the story of Private Bartle and his time served in Al Tafar, Iraq and the aftermath. What have you been reading this month and what did you enjoy? I would love to hear about your reading life in the comments below.

  • Soulless by Gail Carriger 
  • The Geneva Trap by Stella Rimington 
  • Live by Night by Dennis Lehane 
  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King 
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner 
  • The Transport Accident by Ned Beauman 
  • One Night Stands and Lost Weekends by Lawrence Block 
  • Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann 
  • The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco 
  • The Twelve by Justin Cronin 
  • He Died with His Eyes Open by Derek Raymond 
  • Dare Me by Megan Abbott 
  • The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers 

What Books Have Been Trending – July-September 2012

Posted September 29, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Book Trends / 0 Comments

It’s time once again to look at the past three months and see what books have been trending. I love doing this segment and I’ve chosen six books for each month to highlight. Once again there is no real science to this but I do feel I’m getting better at following the book trends and picking the ones that seem to be popping up the most. It does depend on what circles you run in but I hope I’ve managed to get a good cross section. I love doing this; at this rate I might have to start doing this every month. So here are the books I’ve noticed that are getting some good buzz.

July

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a satirical and heartbreaking story of the Iraq war, this book follows eight surviving men of Bravo Squad on a victory tour for Thanksgiving Day and tries to spotlight just how America treats its soldiers.

 

Gold follows the story of two world-class cyclists in the lead up to the London Olympics. This is a deep, bittersweet story that full of empathy, sharp observations and strong characters.  I highly recommend checking this book out.

 

Shadow of Night follows on from A Discovery of Witches in the All Souls Trilogy. This book has been anticipated by many fans and continues the story taking the reader back into a world of spies, subterfuge, alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries.

 

The Age of Miracles is a coming of age story in a post apocalyptic world. The World is slowing down and the days are getting longer at first by a few minutes and then by hours. But for 11 year old Julia, she has to cope with the normal disasters of everyday life as a teenager.

 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a novel about a retired man who sets out one day to post a letter and keeps walking. A sentimental novel with humour and charm, this book was long listed for the Man Booker prize.

 

Where We Belong follows the story of a thirty six year old that seems to have her life on track; until one day an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that she thought she had sealed off changes everything. A Chic Lit novel by an author of five Blockbuster novels.

 

August

Dare Me is a new style of noir; modern and suburban. Cheerleaders Addy and Beth rule the school but when the new cheerleading coach arrives things take a turn for the worst. Dare Me is a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.

 

Shine Shine Shine is a stunning debut unlike any other; it’s a shocking, searing, breathless love story, a gripping portrait of modern family, and a stunning exploration of love, death and what it means to be human. A cross of Chick Lit and Literary Fiction.

 

The Dinner has only just been translated into English. This Danish novel is dark and beautiful; Paul and Claire are going out to dinner with Paul’s brother and his wife. The reason for this isn’t the usual family get together, this time they have something important to discuss; their children.

 

The Dog Stars is a riveting, powerful novel about a pilot living in a world filled with loss—and what he is willing to risk to rediscover, against all odds, connection, love, and grace. The Dog Stars is a remarkably unique novel that is a captivating and enjoyable ride.

 

What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway? The Last Policeman is a novel that offers a mystery set on the brink of an apocalypse. Detective Palace sets out to solve a crime, even though there is an asteroid heading towards earth that will wipe everything out in the next few months.

 

Throne of Glass is a debut YA fantasy novel about an 18 year old assassin working in the salt mines. The Prince offers her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

 

September

No Easy Day is a first-person account of the planning and execution of the Bin Laden raid from a Navy Seal who confronted the terrorist mastermind and witnessed his final moment. A lot of buzz around this book as this is the first time one of the Navy Seals have talked about this event.

 

NW by Zadie Smith is a brilliant tragi-comic novel following four Londoners – Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan – as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell. Depicting the modern urban zone – familiar to town-dwellers everywhere – Zadie Smith’s NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.

 

Telegraph Avenue is the story of Archy and Nat; long time friends, band mates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. An intimate epic set to the funky beat of classic vinyl soul-jazz and pulsing with a virtuosic, pyrotechnical style.

 

The Casual Vacancy may not be released yet but the hype is already huge. This novel sees J.K Rowling try her hand in adult fiction; When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

The Raven Boys sees Maggie Stiefvater return with a brand new series. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

 

Haunted by Murph, The Yellow Birds follows the story of Private Bartle and his time served in Al Tafar, Iraq, the loss of a friend and the aftermath. This is a book of friendship and loss; with profound emotional insight and stunning prose.

 

Like before I’m going to try to predict another book that is coming out in the next three months that will get a lot of buzz to it. My pick is probably a little predictable, but I think The Twelve by Justin Cronin will get a lot of attention. This is book two in The Passage trilogy but now we have to wait another two years for the last book. What do you think of the books trending? Are there any that you feel like I’ve missed or some that caught your eye?


As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Posted September 28, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Book of the Month, Classic / 0 Comments

As I Lay Dying by William FaulknerTitle: As I Lay Dying (Goodreads)
Author: William Faulkner
Published: Vintage, 1930
Pages: 267
Genres: Classic
My Copy: eBook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

As I Lay Dying is a classic American novel that was written by William Faulkner. This book follows the journey of fifteen different characters as they set out to fulfil the wishes of the recently deceased Addie Bundren who is to be buried in Jefferson.  Faulkner shifts between the fifteen narrators throughout book, one of them is even the deceased, who is expressing her thoughts from the coffin. As the book continues you can see the characters develop with each narrator’s perceptions and opinions.

This book is best known for its stream of consciousness writing technique which can be one of the biggest struggles with this book. It’s a dense read and if you don’t pay enough attention and try to delve deep into this book you will struggle to enjoy it. I made the mistake of starting reading book out as like a novel and it took me a while to pull myself up and approach this novel in the right mindset. But eventually I did start enjoying this book for what it is; and that is as a piece of literature that helped pioneer the stream of consciousness narrative and the interior monologue.

Faulkner was never an easy author to read but I hear this is his most accessible novel so I’m worried about reading anything else of his. I did enjoy exploring his literary style and just seeing the techniques he used for this novel but this really isn’t everyone’s idea of a fun read. There are some interesting characters in As I Lay Dying and some very ironic and dark elements to the story. As for the plot and scenery I did find it lacking but that really wasn’t what Faulkner was trying to achieve.

William Faulkner has famously said that he wrote the novel in six weeks and that he did not change a word of it. This in itself is a pretty impressive statement but if you look at the techniques and the novel as an overall piece of high literature, this statement is more impressive that I originally thought; it makes me feel like a failure. As I Lay Dying is not going to be for everyone, it is a dense novel but for lovers of literature it is interesting to dive into something that has been analysed deeply. I’m not going to go into this side of the book because I doubt I could really do it justice.  The style of this book is interesting, the prose is worth a deeper look and overall this book is just fascinating.


Guest Review: No Sex in the City

Posted September 27, 2012 by jus_de_fruit in Chick Lit, Guest Posts / 0 Comments

Guest Review: No Sex in the CityTitle: No Sex in the City (Goodreads)
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Published: Pan Macmillan, 2012
Pages: 400
Genres: Chick Lit
My Copy: ARC from Publisher

Buy: Book Depository
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

I read a bit of chick-lit in my early to late twenties. It was fun to read and didn’t require much brainpower. It was easy to relate to, as a young woman experiencing a similar, yet more toned down, sort of life. My tastes may have changed in recent years.  Apart from Stephanie Plum, I’m not sure the last time I read a book that fell into the chick-lit genre. Now I seem to go after historical time travelling romances. I think I lost the ability to relate with those young women trying to find Mr Right and it started to get a bit mundane, although I suppose I could still enjoy it.  My husband’s taste in books may have also redirected my attentions.

I heard about No Sex in the City when I heard an interview with Randa Abdel-Fattah on the radio. I was fascinated by her stories of parent arranged dating and was intrigued.  It’s something completely different to my own life experience.  I did once ask my dad who he would pick if arranged marriages were a thing of our culture, and after hearing his choice, I was pretty glad that wasn’t a thing.

Randa Abdel-Fattah is an Australian born Muslim of Palestinian and Egyptian heritage who seems to have achieved quite a bit in her life working as a human rights advocate and has an interest in interfaith dialogue. These interests come through in this book, as the characters are a mix of faiths.  The main character Esma is a Muslim and her best friends who form the No Sex in the City club are a Greek Orthodox, a Jew and a Hindu. An interesting combination.

Esma is trying to find the right man to settle down with, but at 28 her family are feeling a bit desperate, but Esma knows what she wants and doesn’t feel the need to settle for anything less.  Pressure from work colleagues tell her that perhaps she should just give up, play the field a bit and see what she likes but she’s pretty set on sharing her first kiss with her husband on their wedding day.

As a young Christian woman who was reading chick-lit back in the day, there was quite a bit of falling into bed with strangers that may or may not be Mr Right. I suppose it is a reflection of the society that we live in, and quite a few young women are able to relate, but I found this book so refreshing for not being afraid to illustrate the life of a young woman living a life of chastity.  The book isn’t completely prudish, as other characters choose different paths, but this is who Esma is, and she isn’t going to apologise for that. Even though the main character is a Muslim, I’d probably recommend this to Christian women as well, as they probably get disillusioned by the way certain media portrays sex.

The book is quite easy to read and completes the check list usually found in all the others of this genre. There are problems at work and within her family that she needs to overcome, and there is a bit of a love triangle that is developed. We also get to follow the stories of her three friends as they also have their own experience of dating.

It doesn’t finish with a typical happily ever after for all the characters but you can’t help but feel that it’s all for the best.  I really enjoyed journeying with this group of young women who all seemed to know what they wanted out of life and never felt the need to settle for less. I’d probably even read more if this book was turned into a series, as I found the characters to be very likeable.

This is a guest post by Mary; not only is she my wonderful wife, she is also my editor and helps moderate the Literary Exploration group on Goodreads. Big thanks to her for this post and everything she does to help me with this blog.


Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Andrew Shaffer

Posted September 26, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Humour / 0 Comments

Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Andrew ShafferTitle: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey (Goodreads)
Author: Andrew Shaffer
Series: Fifty Shames #1
Published: Da Capo Press, 2012
Pages: 224
Genres: Humour
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook Depository
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

I’ve not read many parodies before but Andrew Shaffer is mildly amusing on twitter so I thought I’d give his book a go. Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is an obvious dig at Fifty Shades of Grey but it also has fun with the Twilight fanfic elements as well; clearly pointing out the similarities of the two books with lines like; “I’m Edward Cullen. I mean, ‘Earl Grey.’ Have a seat?” This novel reminds me of a Leslie Nielsen style parody with the farfetched and over done humour, but that’s what makes it so much fun to read. Earl Grey is a billionaire with fifty secret shames; some of them involve his love of BDSM (Bards, Dragons, Sorcery, and Magick) while others are even worse, like his love of Nickelback.

Obviously this is never going to be high literature with lines like “Moan,” I moan. “Moan, moan, moooooooan.” but is this book supposed to reflect the literary flaws of 50 Shades and Twilight or is this just meant to be a fun read? I’m not going to think too much about it, I went into this book for a fun read and that is how I will review it. I’ve heard people claim that Edward Cullen and Christian Grey are hot but none come close to Earl Grey because “HOLY MOTHER EFFING SPARKLY VAMPIRES IS HE HOT”.

Let’s face it Andrew Shaffer had a lot of fun with this book, from the pseudonym (Fanny Merkin) to the cover and everything in between. It was awkward and unexpected; I had so much fun reading this book. I don’t normally highlight but my kindle version of this book has over thirty different highlighted passages in it. I really enjoyed what Shaffer did with this book; highlights for me included the Spanking scene with the Count from Sesame Street and the Cleo sex quiz (which I really want to read the other 200 pages of). They are making a movie of Fifty Shades, and if they ever decided to make a parody I really hope they consult Andrew Shaffer. This was a fun read and I’m looking forward to Fifty Shames in Space but right now I need a sandwich.

If you don’t believe me check out what Tiffany Reisz, author of the BDSM erotica series, The Original Sinners says about this book; “I’m not telling you to buy Fifty Shames of Earl Grey because I’m banging the author. I’m telling you to buy Fifty Shames of Earl Grey AND I’m banging the author.”

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Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton

Posted September 24, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Crime / 0 Comments

Now You See Me by S.J. BoltonTitle: Now You See Me (Goodreads)
Author: S.J. Bolton
Series: Lacey Flint #1
Published: Bantam Press, 2012
Pages: 432
Genres: Crime
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Lacey Flint is a young detective constable in London with a secret past.  When she finds a woman stabbed right by her car everything changes for her. The killer has a special interest in Lacey and with her special knowledge on serial killers she finds herself a part of the terrifying murder hunt to catch this copy cat killer. Is this killer’s interest in Lacey personal or professional? Can Lacey continue to keep her past hidden when she is pushed further and further into the spot light? Read Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton to find out.

I found it interesting that the struggles of Lacey Flint seemed to be the main focus of this novel while the Jack the Ripper copy cat killer serves as a way to build the characters. It is a fine balance to get right but I tend to feel like Bolton didn’t focus on catching the killer as I would like. I love the idea of a Ripper copy cat and the killer known as Joesbury went to great lengths to attack Lacey, but in the end I never really felt like it was a balanced novel. Lacey is a great character and everything felt like an attack on her,; both from the killer and the other detectives, which in the end helped give us a better perspective of this character.   However the hunt and the killer side of this book just become formulaic back story. I just think it never really seemed to come together in the end; sure there is closure in the book but it felt a little messy.

One of my major problems with Crime novels like this is the fact that everything all feels predictable and everyone writing bestseller novels are following the same outline and formula. I would have loved something a bit more dark and gritty. There were some good elements in this novel but as I said before the balance wasn’t there. I think Bolton really let the reader down in that aspect; especially in the end of the book where it all felt rushed and never ended neatly. I know it was an attempt to setup the second book in the series but it never really worked.


Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

Posted September 22, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben FountainTitle: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Goodreads)
Author: Ben Fountain
Published: Canongate, 2012
Pages: 308
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Billy Lynn is a 19 year old Iraq War hero on a P.R. tour for the Army. The team “the Bravos” are on a two week “Victory Tour” stateside that was filmed and widely viewed on TV due to acts of valour in Iraq. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a satirical look at Americans and how they treat and view the war on terror.

I’ve often heard that this book is a satirical book in the vein of Slaughterhouse-Five and Catch 22 and this was the primary reason I read this book. While there were some satirical elements in the book, I found this book a little heartbreaking; in the sense that these soldiers fight for their country and the Americans love them for it, as long as it doesn’t interrupt their football or cost them anything. This was the overall message I got from this book; people will support their troops as long as it takes no effort and doesn’t interrupt their lives.

I wanted to like this book and sure there is a lot to think about in this book but I think leaving me so feeling so bad doesn’t really help with the enjoyment element of this book. There were some literary issues I had, but they could be narrowed down to the fact I’m not an American and I don’t fully understand the American lifestyle.

The entire book really showed the disconnection between the military and civil life in this modern day. Americans wants revenge for 9/11 but they are not willing to sacrifice their Thanksgiving football game. This was a powerful book and while it’s not as funny as Catch 22 it does leave you pondering life like Slaughterhouse-Five did for me. As I’ve stated I’m not expert in American life or politics but this did leave me pondering many aspects of this War on Terror.


Guest Review: A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar

Posted September 21, 2012 by jus_de_fruit in Contemporary, Guest Posts / 0 Comments

Guest Review: A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to KashgarTitle: A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar (Goodreads)
Author: Suzanne Joinson
Published: Bloomsbury, 2012
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary
My Copy: ARC from Publisher

Buy: AmazonBook Depository
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Last month, I was walking past our local indie bookshop, and outside they had a blackboard that listed some of the new releases they had in stock.  A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar was one of those, and the title drew me in. I had no idea what it was about and had heard nothing about it leading up to the release, but perhaps it was the mention of some foreign city that I’ll never likely experience myself.  I went in to try and find a copy to learn more about it, but I couldn’t find it, and then got distracted looking at other things.  Then it showed up at our house in one of those parcels of books my husband regularly receives, so I knew I had to read it.

A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar tells the story of a couple of people. In 1923, it tells the story of Evangeline English who arrives in Kashgar in disguise as a Christian missionary, as a way to protect her sister who had decided to become an evangelist. Inspired by the travels of Richard Burton, she decides to write a similar book, of which the title of this book comes from. With her bicycle as her own real sense of freedom, the reality of living in Kashgar never seems to meet the romanticised adventure in her mind. Her relationship with her sister changes, as Evangline tries to guard her from things that Lizzie doesn’t want to avoid.

In the present day, we have Frieda, who is at her crossroads in her life. Her job working with Islamic youth in various Middle Eastern countries causes her to be out of town a lot so her friendships have withered. She’s in a dead end relationship with a married man.  She then gets a letter saying an old woman has died and she’s the next of kin and she should come clear the house. Tayab is a refugee from Yemen, living in England with an expired visa and is on the run.  Their encounter of each other lead their lives on a new course, both having to confront some major issues in their lives.

Suzanne Joinson’s debut novel alternates between 1923 and the present day. Each time, I felt like I was longing to find out what was happening in the other story. As the story comes together, you realise that both the stories are connected and it left me thinking about how the actions of people in generations before mine have affected the choices I may make now without me even knowing. There is no real way to know how the lives of people we’ve never met unconsciously affect our decision making today.

As a Christian, I found the missionary aspect interesting. Full of people filled with faults, which I suppose is an accurate reflection of any church. Some trying to do the right thing, some trying to make amends for their own wrongs, and some on power trips trying to control others, whatever the risk. It seemed to be written very matter-of-factly and I don’t think it was in a pro- or anti-Christian way. I appreciated that.

I enjoyed this book; the story was beautifully written and can take you to a time and place not normally experienced by us.

This is a guest post by Mary; not only is she my wonderful wife, she is also my editor and helps moderate the Literary Exploration group on Goodreads. Big thanks to her for this post and everything she does to help me with this blog.


The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

Posted September 20, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

The Yellow Birds by Kevin PowersTitle: The Yellow Birds (Goodreads)
Author: Kevin Powers
Published: Hachette, 2012
Pages: 226
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle
(or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Haunted by Murph, The Yellow Birds follows the story of Private Bartle and his time served in Al Tafar, Iraq, the loss of a friend and the aftermath. Every war there seems to be one powerful book that is so heartbreaking but helps readers get an idea of the tragic nature of war; I’m thinking All Quiet on the Western Front, The Diary of a Young Girl, The Things They Carried, and now The Yellow Birds could quite possibly be the one to reflect the harsh reality of the Iraq War.

This is a book of friendship and loss; the novel is broken into two parts which are woven together. First there is the story of the friendship and serving together in the war and the other is of Private Bartle struggling to deal with the loss of his friend and returning from the war. There is a real beauty in the way Kevin Powers has melded the two together and the way he tries to help the reader understand the psychological mindset of a soldier turning from war. There is a wonderful part in the book where a bartender refers to Bartle as a hero and his reaction was basically ‘how can I be considered a hero if all I did was survive.’

I don’t want to sound to cliched with using words like beautiful, stunning, haunting and heart breaking but these words do seem very appropriate for this book. This is a debut novel for Kevin Powers and with his experience serving in the Iraq War and his poetry background, The Yellow Birds comes together for an emotional sensation. The proses of this novel are just wonderful and the characters really do seem to be well developed without showing too much.

I will admit I don’t read many war books but I’ve recently read two wonderful books on the Iraq war; this one and Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk (review up in two days). While both books were wonderfully thought provoking they were in two very different ways. If The Yellow Birds doesn’t become the stand out book for the Iraq war; like All Quiet on the Western Front, The Diary of a Young Girl or The Things They Carried I have a feeling it might be compared to the psychological mindset of war along with Catch 22 or Slaughterhouse-Five. This truly is a stunning book that made me tear up and feel for the soldiers fight in Iraq. Everyone should read this book.


Book Ratings

Posted September 19, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 0 Comments

rating

My dad asked me the other day, How do you rate books?” This is an interesting thought, I’ve got a system for rating but I never really thought of it into great details. I’m not talking about my 1-10 scale that I use but what factors determine the rating. So I thought I would brainstorm my thoughts into this blog post. When I finish reading a book I often got to Goodreads, mark the book as read and give an initial rating of the book; this is basically my feeling of the book at the time of finishing the book. But I often spend some time thinking about the book and how I would like to review it (yes, that’s my excuse for always being over three reviews behind and I’m sticking to it).

While thinking about how I want to review the book I often look at some key elements. I normally have a think about the plot, writing style, characters, grammar, research, my personal experience, insightfulness and any other elements that should be factored in. But should I have a standard criterion or should each rating be based on a tailored scale for that book? I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and I feel like while I really liked the parody novel Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, I could never put it on the same rating criteria as Crime and Punishment.

I think the fact that I’m trying to explore the different genres out there a rating template would never work but I should look at some key elements no matter what the book was and I think the main ones would be plot, characters, style and my personal experience of the book. These for elements make up my end rating; I often change the rating of a book when I finish reviewing it.

 The problem with ratings are the fact that they are very personal and when looking at your reading list as a whole some books shouldn’t be considered to be on the same level as others. But should you review a book without a rating or is adding a rating just a good way for people to quickly look at what you thought of that particular book?

I would love to hear people’s thoughts on ratings. I know most people have different scales and ways of picking the final rating so please tell me about your process. Also if there was ever a standard criterion for book ratings what would you put on it. For example if you to break down the characterisation, would you look at believability, personality and so on?