I’m not a great one for writing reviews, not just books, anything. It is the star system I particularly loath. I can understand its purpose, just not how it can be fairly applied. Without guidelines, it becomes a subjective box tick, almost a polarised like or dislike with a vague differentiation in the middle.
Ask me any day of the week for my top ten list of books, films or music, it is likely to vary each time according to my mood or memories. I don’t have favourites – no special colours, recipes or preferences for food. It is not that I lack consistency, it is more that I like variety.
When it comes to books my pleasure is fulfilled on many levels, but my top criteria is – does it hold my attention? Do I read it quickly – not hastily or speed reading – more a case of ‘do not disturb’. It could be because the plot is a real page turner, or may be I’ve become besotted with a character or it could be the prose, the writing style mesmerises me. The better the book, the sadder I feel at the end. When I finished Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy I went into mourning. Even after thousands of pages, I didn’t want it to end and went into some kind of mini-depression until I found a replacement.
My friends like to peruse my mini-library – I have good old-fashioned paper books, several hundred – and they come to borrow when the need arises. “What do you recommend?” I almost randomly pick something up and remark, “This was a good read, because…” the ending can vary according to my friends tastes – good historical setting, it made me laugh, it was a real whodunnit….. They trust me and generally the book comes back a few days later, well thumbed and I’m asked again.
It leads me to wonder about writing reviews here on my blog and I decided that Thursday’s would be my ‘That was a good read because’ day. Simply put I will say why I kept turning the pages and what held my attention, caught me and kept me ensnared. And if it was really good, I might tell you I mourned its passing, but I won’t be giving a rating.