Friday, June 20, 2008

The Problem with Ratings

Current Reading: Fat, by Rob Grant

Inspirational Quote: "If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster." -- Isaac Asimov

I was reminded recently about the subjectivity of art. What I love, you may hate. So what does it mean when I give a book from the reading list a 5 or a 0? Only that the rating was my response to the book. Mine. That's all.

Is it good? Is it bad? I don't know. I'm just one guy with a set of tastes so built in that sometimes I make the mistake of assuming that they are shared by everyone. However, I've learned a great deal about publishing in the last year and the most important lesson has been that publishing is a labor of love for the people in it. They love books. I have learned that every single book on the shelves is there because people loved it. Not just the author (vanity presses do not count as publishers), but the agent, the editor, the bookstore purchasing department... a whole host of people loved that book. They loved it enough to push it through a process that accepts only the rare manuscript.

Given that, it is pure folly to look at a work and pronounce it unredeemable. The worst I can do is read it through and pronounce it "Not for me."

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