Among my many addictions, my one for reading started early on in life. Consequently, various parts of my life – both online and off – revolve around this activity. So, I created this page so you could easily access various bits of information having to do with my addiction to reading.
First, there are a couple of places online where I share this addiction with others with varying degrees of the addiction:
Feel free to friend me in either or both of these places. All of the reviews that appear here on marginalia will be on these two social networking sites as well, although these sites will also contain reviews and ratings that don’t appear here on the blog for various reasons. Of course, if you’d just like to read the reviews that I have featured on marginalia, check out my “bookmarked” posts.
Current Reading Challenges
I’m currently undertaking the following reading related challenges:
- Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge: While you can challenge yourself to read any number of books for the year, I’m specifically challenging myself to read 100 written works of greater than 7,500 words. You can see my progress and below.
The remainder of this page presents information about various aspects of my reviews of written works. I hope that this information provides some insight into my reviews – my thought process, my opinions and my jargon.
I use the Goodreads 5-star scale qualitative labels (as of January 2012) as a guide to assign star ratings to written works that I read. The scales is as follows:
1 star – didn’t like it
2 stars – it was ok
3 stars – like it
4 stars – really like it
5 stars – it was amazing
I only use full stars, no half stars. Given the fact that the middle of the road rating is 2 stars at “it was ok”, my ratings might seem a little low to some. Oh well, it’s what I’ve chosen to stick with. It allows for a more nuanced rating of the better works and leaves the bad writing in a clump at the bottom; I’m ok with that.
Length characterization of fictional prose works
I’m slightly anal when it comes to my reviews, in case you couldn’t tell by now. I like to use different terms to refer to fictional prose of differing lengths. I think that it’s important to judge like things against like things, not comparing a novelette (such as Wool) against a gargantuan novel (like Cryptonomicon) unless my points are justified. Controlling my use of these terms helps me keep things in perspective. To that end, I use the guidelines of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards rules (as of October 2011) to distinguish between lengths of works of fictional prose:
short story: less than 7,500 words
novelette: between 7,501 and 17,500 words
novella: between 17,501 and 40,000 words
novel: 40,001 words or more
Below are some definitions of terms that I will use in some of my reviews that might be unfamiliar to you, mostly because I made them up (or stole them from works that are not a dictionary or encyclopedia!).
- quadruple-s romance: “single sex scene story romance”; a romance, typically of novella length, that contains only a single, usually culminating, sex scene.