This month’s theme is ‘Love and Hate.’ What came to mind was my love of reading and reviewing books written by my colleagues, but my hate for rating their novels. Now that I know how much work goes into writing and publishing books, I wish I could give everyone a five, but I know better. I mustn’t rate on effort; instead, I score a work based on my big picture sampling of the genre, placing the book I’m reading on a spectrum of quality from one to five. (Heck, I just finished CASUAL VACANCY by the Potter-famed Ms. Rawlings, and 3.5 is my rating of her tome.)
My role as a high school principal, opening a brand new high school with a demanding curriculum, taught me a good deal about rating inflation. Teachers yearned to grade on effort, but I encouraged them to measure learning, a student’s grasp of the subject matter, instead. As a matter of fact, as a staff, we eliminated ‘D’ as a passing grade. Could a student with a ‘D’ understanding of a subject be successful at the next level of that subject? Our answer was no. We became the only school in the district where a ‘D’ was not a ‘passing’ grade.
So, back to novels, suspense/romance, in particular. If certain contemporary novels by Suzanne Brockman and Linda Howard are 5’s to me, then a whole lot of novels I read in that genre are 4’s. To me a 4 is an excellent rating, not quite the page-turning, riveting quality of the pros. Will that 4-rated writer get to a level 5? Of course they might, and I’m happy to continue reading books by a 4-rated writer while she builds to that prowess.
I’d love rating more if people understood that a 4 from me (from anyone!) is an honorable score.
SUSPENSE SPIKED WITH ROMANCE
LAST RESORT * FADEOUT * SWOON
FADEOUT won a RONE award! LIE CATCHERS is out on KDP right now! It goes free Feb.11-15!