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Old 05-17-2011, 07:05 AM   #91
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. . . I did just write a 5-star book review last night, however. I was deciding between 4.5 or 5, and I realized that I was loathe to put it down, whipping right through the 345 pages in a relatively short time (by ignoring all the chores, good thing it was Sunday), and I had no pressing issues with any part of the book, so.... 5 stars it was.
Based on your review, Grace, I have added The Scavenger's Daughter: A Tyler West Mystery by Mike McIntyre to my wishlist at Smashwords.
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Old 05-18-2011, 01:05 AM   #92
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Based on your review, Grace, I have added The Scavenger's Daughter: A Tyler West Mystery by Mike McIntyre to my wishlist at Smashwords.
I definitely hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:59 AM   #93
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Based on your review, Grace, I have added The Scavenger's Daughter: A Tyler West Mystery by Mike McIntyre to my wishlist at Smashwords.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:42 AM   #94
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I just finished a book to which I would give 5 stars: David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet. I have reviewed it and another 5-star book, David Stannard's Honor Killing: Race, Rape, and Clarence Darrow’s Spectacular Last Case at my blog in On Books: Honor Killing & The Thousand Autumns. Thousand Autumns is fiction and Honor Killing is nonfiction. Unortunately, both are Agency 6 ebooks, which means neither is properly priced.
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Old 05-18-2011, 07:58 PM   #95
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:25 AM   #96
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Hmm. I seldom give five stars to books. There's a lot that come close, but not many that can get there by definition. For me, five stars means "Yes. This is one of the best books I've ever read." For me, every book I rate 3 stars and above is worthwhile, with 3 stars as good/solid, and 4 stars as excellent (I don't do half points, not like it shows up on goodreads anyway).

5 stars is reserved for books that are so good that I'm probably going to purchase multiple copies so I can leave it all over my friend's apartments. Understandably, I can't feel this way about too many books.

I haven't given any book this year five stars. In 2010, I gave five stars to two books: Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...rs_of_Solitude) and Jose Joaquin Fernandez De Lizardi's The Mangy Parrot (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...e-mangy-parrot). In 2009, I gave 5 stars to only one book: Walter M. Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1..._for_Leibowitz).

This year, the closest book that I'd give 5 stars to is probably Kameron Hurley's God's War, but I still can't give it 5 stars. It's excellent, but it's not *perfect*. The plot gets too convoluted towards the end and there's a lot of drama that feels almost manipulated. It's still my most enjoyed read of the year and one of the most memorable SF/F books I've ever read, but a book that I'd leave behind in friend's apartments? Not quite there yet.

So yeah. None of my reviews on my book blog (http://fridafantastic.wordpress.com/) has five stars yet, but when it shows up, you'll need to pay extra attention
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:59 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by bashfulbanshee View Post
In 2010, I gave five stars to two books: Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...rs_of_Solitude) [...]

So yeah. None of my reviews on my book blog (http://fridafantastic.wordpress.com/) has five stars yet, but when it shows up, you'll need to pay extra attention
yeah, at least I can exclude myself from those who pay extra attention to your 5-star books since I couldn't put up with "100 years of solitude". I think I read it when I was 14 and it was so boring that it made reading to the last page the most painful job I've ever done.

I'll add another book to my Favorite collection: Markus Zusek's "The Book Thief". I'm still halfway gone but like it very much. Awesome. Terrific. Humorous.

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Old 05-19-2011, 05:54 AM   #98
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5 stars is reserved for books that are so good that I'm probably going to purchase multiple copies so I can leave it all over my friend's apartments. Understandably, I can't feel this way about too many books.
My rating system, which I explained in On Books: Indie eBooks Worth Reading (I), an article at my blog, is as follows:
  • 5 and 5+ stars are exceptional books. They are interesting, well-written with few and very minor grammar and spelling errors, and if 5+, have characters with whom at least I, and usually also my wife and perhaps some friends, get involved emotionally; that is, we react emotionally to events that happen in a characters fictional world. These are the authors who inspire you to immediately buy whatever else they currently have available that you haven’t read and whose next book you eagerly look for even months after finishing the current read. These are the books that are worth buying almost regardless of price.
  • 3 to 4 stars are well-written books, too. They also are interesting but may have more serious grammar and spelling issues than the 5/5+ books. However, such issues are not so serious that one can’t read and enjoy the book. These books are not particularly memorable; they are memorable for a few days then forgotten. The characters don’t involve you greatly, although a 4-star book’s characters do involve the reader at least a little or occasionally. These are the “average” books – the ones you read once, perhaps mention to someone else that they might be worth reading, and then discard. Whether the author writes another book doesn’t matter all that much to you. These are books worth buying if the price is right.
  • 1 to 2 stars are the horrors of indie publishing. A 1-star book has nothing in its favor — the story/plot is bad, the writing makes a sixth-grade student look like a Pulitzer Prize for Literature winner, and the book is so riddled with grammar and spelling errors, you wonder if English is a language the author recognizes at all. Not even a professional editor could salvage the book; the book needs to be scrapped and begun from the beginning. The 2-star books are slightly better. With these books there is a glimmer of hope. These books need the touch of a professional editor, but they at least do have a good story/plot. Again the grammar and spelling is atrocious, but editorial help might fix the problem. A book with a 1- or 2-star rating should not be bought, or even downloaded for free.
I think there can be a significant number of 5-star books, especially as there are more than 1 million books published each year in the United States alone. Where I make the separation that you make is with the 5+ rating. I think those are the exceptional books, the ones that I not only would recommend to friends, family, and strangers, but the ones that I would, without hesitation, purchase as gifts for friends and family even if the genre is other than what friends and family normally read.

The problem with rating systems are (a) they are rarely explained, the assumption being that everyone knows what the criteria are for earning 5 stars or 4 stars or x stars, and (b) each of us emphasizes different factors or scales common factors differently.

I try to discern what criteria a rater has applied when assigning a star rating and try not to rely on the fact that a book has been given a 4- or 5-star rating.
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Old 05-19-2011, 04:38 PM   #99
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yeah, at least I can exclude myself from those who pay extra attention to your 5-star books since I couldn't put up with "100 years of solitude". I think I read it when I was 14 and it was so boring that it made reading to the last page the most painful job I've ever done.
That sounds awful! Did you read it for school? A lot of people I know have very polarized reactions to the book, it's very much a love it or hate it book. Most of the people I know who disliked it had it as required reading for school, which may or not be a factor.

Unfortunately I disliked many books that I had to read for school, even though they were good. I couldn't appreciate Kafka when he was forced on me, but now I do. I think books are better appreciated when you are interested in its content/story, and you could have very different opinions of it after. I remember thinking The Left Hand of Darkness was a bore and I couldn't get past the first 3 chapters. The next time I picked it up, I finished the book in two days and loved every moment of it. Another one of my five star books.
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:51 PM   #100
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I noticed the rating system on Goodreads is a little generous.
One star = didn't like it
Two stars = it was ok
Three stars = liked it
Four stars = really liked it
Five stars = it was amazing

I find books can be "amazing" but not worthy of a 5 star or top rating. So I convert to an A-F scoring system. One star = "F" Two stars = "D" etc
I've yet to give anything an "A" or 5 stars yet. Lots of 3s and 4s. I'm afraid I bring down the GR average with my system.
Also, I don't rate a book that I don't finish.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:02 PM   #101
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I noticed the rating system on Goodreads is a little generous.
One star = didn't like it
Two stars = it was ok
Three stars = liked it
Four stars = really liked it
Five stars = it was amazing

I find books can be "amazing" but not worthy of a 5 star or top rating. So I convert to an A-F scoring system. One star = "F" Two stars = "D" etc
I've yet to give anything an "A" or 5 stars yet. Lots of 3s and 4s. I'm afraid I bring down the GR average with my system.
Also, I don't rate a book that I don't finish.
Most of my GR books are three stars - means I didn't regret the time at, but there wasn't any reason to out of one's way to obtain a copy.
Four stars mean I liked it quite a bit, and would be worth seeking out.
Five stars I do give, but only for real winners, one or two per year.
Two stars is rare for me, but sometimes there's a book I really didn't care for, but had some redeeming value (say - wooden characters, weak plot, but great historical research)
One star is also rare, but I've read a couple - not always all the way through, but a fair amount "to see if things get better"?

I rate books if I've read more than half, if I feel there's something to mention in my comments.
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:25 AM   #102
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That sounds awful! Did you read it for school? A lot of people I know have very polarized reactions to the book, it's very much a love it or hate it book. Most of the people I know who disliked it had it as required reading for school, which may or not be a factor.

Unfortunately I disliked many books that I had to read for school, even though they were good. I couldn't appreciate Kafka when he was forced on me, but now I do. I think books are better appreciated when you are interested in its content/story, and you could have very different opinions of it after. I remember thinking The Left Hand of Darkness was a bore and I couldn't get past the first 3 chapters. The next time I picked it up, I finished the book in two days and loved every moment of it. Another one of my five star books.
You're right, there were some excerpts from "100 years of solitude" in the textbook. But you're also wrong in some sense, because I voluntarily read it. (I remember being the only one to raise hand when the teacher ask, "Has any of you read the novel before?") I'd known it was considered "revolutionary", a real giant among great works, a masterpiece; so I'd found a 2nd-hand copy and read through before we actually learned it in class.

Perhaps young minds seek adventure, thriller, fantasy, and heroic actions rather than a Magical realism. Perhaps the only thing I can do about it is getting back when I'm mature enough.

Correct me if my memory has already collected dust, but there is this detail in "100 years of solitude" that has something to do with a pig tail, right?
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:57 AM   #103
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Also, I don't rate a book that I don't finish.
I, too, don't rate a book that I don't finish although I am sorely tempted to do so (giving it 1 or 2 stars based on my criteria which I elucidated in an earlier post in this thread). My primary reason for not giving such a book any rating is that I want to be certain of why I am not finishing the book. Occasionally it is because I'm just not in the mood to read a book in the particular genre at the moment, thus I might (although highly doubtful) retry the book at a future date.

Sadly, the usual reason for not finishing a book I've started is that it is a 1- or 2-star book (according to my rating criteria) and thus the author should be pummeled with rotten tomatoes for pressing the Send (or Print) button on their computer. In fact, they should have their computers taken away to save readers from further torment.

I suspect that Dante would have yet another level of Hell if he were writing today -- a level dedicated to wannabe authors who shouldn't be wannabe authors because their "masterpiece" is equivalent to torture by waterboarding.
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Old 05-20-2011, 11:51 AM   #104
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I sometimes rate books that I don't finish - if the reason I don't finish is because the book is crap and it's killing me. Other than that I only rate books that I finish. I dump the rest in my DNF pile. I also have a DNF will try later pile for books everyone else likes but I can't get through.
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:02 PM   #105
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Perhaps young minds seek adventure, thriller, fantasy, and heroic actions rather than a Magical realism. Perhaps the only thing I can do about it is getting back when I'm mature enough.

Correct me if my memory has already collected dust, but there is this detail in "100 years of solitude" that has something to do with a pig tail, right?
Yep, you're correct! It mentions pigs in the beginning and in the end of the book. I can't say why because it would be a spoiler for a lot of folks.

I don't know many people who went out of their way to read One Hundred Years of Solitude as teenagers, that's really cool. I've always read a lot but I think I was still reading Dragonlance when I was 14. Nothing wrong with Dragonlance, it's fun and stuff but I definitely didn't go very far to try out other material, regardless of whether I ended up liking it or not. I think I read an online translation of Luo Guanzhong's Romance of the Three Kingdoms. This was because I was playing a lot of Koei games at the time: Dynasty Warriors and the RTK turn-based games. Oh, those were the days ;D

I don't think liking One Hundred Years of Solitude has anything to do with maturity. Just read it if you're interested again. I read Marquez whenever I want something "strange, surprisingly funny, and very different." For me, the value of the book is that it created a desire for me to experience something that nothing else (but this book) can offer. And the desire isn't quenched after reading it. Instead, I feel like it opened some gates in my brain and I'm more open to other ideas and experiences. It creates an enduring change in the reader. That's how I'd define a 5 star book over a 4 star book. It's more of a continuum, really. There's books that come close, but aren't fully on the other side of the fence.
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