Book worm...

I've been reading a lot lately - something to do with the bitter cold combined with low energy levels (last year at this time I was re-doing our entire dining room and I am so confused how I ever had it me). I'm on Goodreads and use it to keep track of what books I read/make library holds based on it's recommendations for me. And I have decided that their ranking system is awful. They give you the option of 5 stars. 

1 - Didn't like it
2 - It was ok
3 - Liked it
4 - Really liked it
5 - It was amazing

First, if they are going to offer this - they should at least offer the option of half stars because sometimes 3 seems harsh and 4 seems to generous. Pretty sure, most books I read fall into the 3.5 category. Another thing is most books I read start at a high ranking (this totally is a 4) but by the end when I am slogging through the last 50 pages where the author has already made their point but just fell in love with the sound of their own voice, I would give a much lower rating. Also some books I give a high rating to yet I would never read them again - they are a once-read-only kind of book and that seems unfair to put them on the same rank as the beloved worn copy of the best book you have ever read. And then there is the guilt of the not finished books - some because something better came along, some because they contained one too many f-bombs, and some because they are of the classics genre and at around 50 pages all I can think is, "I have no idea what these people are talking about." I've come to a point in my life where I am comfortable walking away from a book that doesn't hold me captive (this used to not be the case). Am I supposed to rate these books? Sometimes I want to because I feel like I have read enough to have a valid opinion - but I don't because what if the last half/100 pages/final chapter were phenomenal and I passed judgement too soon.

So if I was in charge of Goodreads - this would be my rating system... and half stars would be allowed... and separate rankings for the 1st half of the book and the 2nd half... and asterisks for once-read-only's and never-finished's... and it would all be very complicated.

1 - Threw it across the room in anger, disgust, frustration, etc.
2 - This could be good - if only it was much much shorter
3 - Recommended it to atleast 1 other person
4 - Had to take it into the bathroom with me
5 - Finished it in less than 24 hours

These are the books I have read this month - ranked according to my scale.

This was a 4 that ended in a 3. The author chose a random date and detailed all the deaths that day of children due to handguns (not including suicides). I found the gang culture narratives harrowing and feel awful that babies are being raised in such circumstances. It is one of those books that makes you want to change something but it is hard to pinpoint just what should be done.

This was a 4.5*. I finished it in less than a day - I would never read it again but the story is unforgettable. Don't read any description about this book - just go check it out or download it and start reading. You will be blown away. One of those books that makes reading fun again - quick and easy and captivating.

Covenant Motherhood
Britt recommended this to me after a mommy-breakdown post on here. I would give it a 3.5.  There were insights in this book that really helped me in regards to how I view some of my mothering tasks. But here is a little known secret about Cyndi - I really struggle with church books. There I said it and now you can know that I am the most awful Mormon around. The thing is when I pick up a church book I look at all the text and think, "How could anyone have this much to say on _______?" And then I read it and feel like they are just repeating themselves over and over and over again. And then I feel validated in my first thought and my awful Mormon-ness. I am forever grateful that this book was short and sweet... or I wouldn't have finished it and therefore would not have felt worthy enough to rate it.

I gave this book a 4. It was crazy fascinating and reminded me why I love memoirs - there is no need to make up stories when people are out there living lives such as this. The author recounts her chaotic childhood in Africa and it makes you want to scream... and laugh.

This would be a 3.5. Probably a 4 if the author was a little more relatable - at one point she was flabbergasted how a neighbor was raising 3 kids with no help... no nanny or housekeeper or chef... I mean how did the poor women ever survive... BAHAHAHAHAH - insert crazy-mom-of-5-with-bananas-smeared-on-her-floor-at-the-moment laugh. This book was haunting - it was a self-proclaimed perfect marriage that ended the day a new professor came to town and her husband fell instantly in love with another women. Basically my all-time worst nightmare. I did not enjoy the writing style or the dramatics of the author (but she is an actress so what can you expect) but reading the story was like watching two trains hurtling towards each other - horrible with anticipated disaster and you are incapable of looking away.

Read any take-to-the-loo-with-you books lately? I'm always taking recommendations. 


Chadwick and Julie said...

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" is a favorite. I've been big into the self-improvement/leadership books recently - "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families" was a game changer. "Time Well Spent" by Jodie Norton is shaping our chores system. "Speed of Trust" is kind of deep but eye opening in how we view each other, trust each other and ourselves. "The Outward Mindset" was recommended by my mom as a good read. Chadwick liked "The Great Influenza," "Born to Run," and the books by David McCullough. Gerald Lund has a few books that I've enjoyed that are more historical fiction. Multiple friends have recommended "The Book Thief," "Poison Wood Bible."

I totally agree with you on the church books! Sign me up for the bad Mormon list as well! Though I enjoyed President Monson's biography. I need to get on Goodreads....

Erinlizabeth said...

Yeah you're not alone with the church books... I'll even admit that I'm not a fan of Gerald Lund (gasp!). I like the history in his books. And that's about it. Anyway, we read The Rent Collector in book club this quarter and I mostly really loved it. So did everyone else. But Cambodia has always intrigued me. Other than that I feel like I've been in a slump of mediocre literature for a while now. Blah. Hopefully the Rent Collector is the start of a good streak.

Jo said...

Cyndi, I think you would like The Rent Collector. Believe it or not, I don't do much shopping at Deseret Book, but my mom does and I read some of the books she buys (just so she'll get her money's worth). The short church books are the best, but there are a few doctrinal ones that I've learned a lot from...