April 2012 Month in Review

Ah April, a month that is supposed to herald the coming warmer weather that we’re going to be enjoying for the next few months.  Unless of course you live in Ohio, where the weather in March was beautiful and the weather in April was really cold and otherwise crappy.

But we’re not here to talk about weather, we’re here to talk about books!  I finished 9 books throughout the month of April, and I’m halfway through The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber at the moment.  I’ve got some stuff to talk about, but that’s going to come after we look at the books I read this month.

So 7 out of the 9 books that I read this month rated a 7 or higher, which by my rating means they’re books that I’d readily suggest to other people.  Along with that, one of the books that rated lower was in a series, and a 6 for a book in a series is something that I’d suggest to other people.  So it was a good month for books

So what’s my big concern that came to mind sometime in the past month or so.  Well, it involves looking at my rating system, my ratings from last year, and my ratings thus far this year.  Last year I gave 17 books a 10/10 rating, which is pretty good overall and especially concerning that those ratings came from 100 total books.  This year I’m up to 5 books with a 10/10 rating, which leaves me on course for about the same number that I had last year.  But when I looked at the excel file where I keep track of my books I quickly notice something about the books that I’ve rated 10/10 this year, they’re all books that I’ve read before.  (And Then There Were None, the Mistborn Trilogy, and I Don’t Want to Kill You.)

So what’s the big deal about that, is it even something that’s worth noticing?  Well, I don’t know.  I have noticed that reviewing each book that I read has over time changed how I look at them.  I’m able to pay more attention to some of the smaller details that really affect a book (viewpoint, pacing, character development, etc) in a way that I wasn’t able to do easily before I started reviewing every book.  I like to think that the quality of my reviews has gotten better over the past year because I’ve gotten better at explaining why I like or dislike a book as opposed to simply saying the book was good or bad.

So is it a bad thing that I’m becoming more critical in my reviews, I don’t think so.  Looking back over some of my 10/10 reviews from last year quickly shows that 4 of them were non-fiction books, which leaves me with 13 works of fiction that I rated 10/10.

So the last few months I’ve been ending these Month in Review posts with a question for those who read them.  I don’t really have on right now, so we’ll just end the post by saying thanks again for stopping by.

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22 Comments

  1. It’s because Brandon Sanderson is so awesome that he blows all other writers out of the water. It happens. 🙂

    Reply
    • I agree, Sanderson writes extremely well, his worldbuilding is fantastic, and his plots are always interesting. Sanderson really is one heck of a writer.

      Reply
  2. I certainly don’t think that becoming more critical in your reviews is bad, as long as you are giving your honest assessment of what the story did, or did not do, for you. Where I get frustrated with reviews is when I get the sense that people won’t pick up a book that I rate a 6 or 7 when, despite reasons for rating them as such, I feel the book is a very worthy read. I know I’ve had friends who won’t bother unless a book I read is a 9 or 10. But you can’t control how others will take what you say, so I’ve learned to not let it frustrate me too much.

    You had a really good month of reading. My reading has been waaay down over the month. I’ve read several things, but have yet to finish many. I think I’ve finished one book so far and will finish another (Mistborn: The Final Empire) tonight. I’ve started several other books this month though so maybe I’ll end up finishing a ton of stuff in May. Not complaining though, I’ve spent a lot of time doing things other than reading this month and at least I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the books I’ve read.

    Reply
    • People’s reaction to a 6 or a 7 largely depends on how you base your rating system. With my system I have a score of 7-10 listed as a book that I would suggest to other people. Even a 6/10 is a book that I would suggest in some limited circumstances.

      I try to be fairly in-depth with my reviews because the score is really just a general impression. One of my trombone instructors always used to tell me that it’s not good enough to simply have an opinion, you have to be able to support that opinion.

      Reply
    • And this is when I lose my self-control and go finish Mistborn, lol.

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      • We’re at the point where everyone else can finish it. I haven’t written up my answers to the week 4 questions yet, I’ll probably do that tomorrow. I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say about this section.

      • Haha, I just finished it ten minutes ago. I still need to write up my answers for week 4, but I just couldn’t stop after the part where *spoilers omitted.* The last two hundred pages of a Brandon Sanderson book are intense.

      • I finished it tonight myself. I had been good the whole time with it, but couldn’t control myself any longer. I will wait for a couple of weeks until we officially begin the next read to start reading the next book though. Which is good, I need a chance to gather my breath.

      • Sanderson’s books have a tendency to keep me up really late while I read the last 200+ pages in one sitting. He’s kept me up past my bedtime on numerous occasions.

      • Yeah. I liked the way that this one had some resolution; I was afraid it would end on a cliffhanger and I’d be too tempted to start the next ones now. I think I can hold off to start the next one for a few weeks at least. 🙂

      • It’s always annoying when books end on huge cliffhangers, especially when it’s the first book in a series. If it’s a later book in the series it doesn’t bother me quite as much, maybe because I’ve already invested the time by reading a couple of books.

        The second book in the series ends on a little more of a cliffhanger, but you can pick up the third book right after it, so it’s not bad, it’s really annoying when you have to wait a few years to read the next part.

      • Yeah, it’s a little rough trying to stop at the end of Chapter 34. Even knowing what happens in the book I was mad when I had to stop after that chapter during my re-read (I took the book with me to work so I could finish that section).

      • I’m very glad that I have the full series for Mistborn already and don’t have to wait for any of the books to come out. I am not patient when it comes to waiting for the next book in a series.

  3. I don’t think it’s an issue, Adam. It seems natural that your reviews would grow more critical over time. It also seems natural to me that if you loved book on the first reading, you’d love it on the second. I don’t pay as much attention to the numbers as to the content of your reviews, and you always back your thumb up/down with relevant concrete info.

    I’m afraid I’ve only read one of this year’s 10’s – And Then There Were None – but I think it’s one of the best mysteries ever written, so I continue to trust your assessments.

    Reply
    • I know I’ve plugged it to you before, but the Mistborn series is probably my favorite Fantasy series. This Wednesday will be the fourth week for our group read and to this point everyone has been raving about the first book.

      Reply
  4. I’ll be interested to see what you think of the Book of Air and Shadows: I read it last year with my book group.

    WRT being critical: I am always put off a reviewer if they only give high ratings to books. It shows that they are reading a wide range of books, some of which fall outside their comfort zone. This makes the books that they rave about stand out and I am much more likely to pick those ones up and give them a read.

    Reply
    • I read a lot of Fantasy novels, and that really is my favorite genre, but I’ll read anything if it’s well written. I love finding a new author or a new genre that I’m not familiar with.

      As for The Book of Air and Shadows, I should have a review up in the next couple of days. I’m enjoying the story, but I wish the author would quit trying to be cute and just tell the story. (If that sentence seems confusing at all don’t worry, I’ll explain it when my review comes up.)

      Reply
  5. Wow! You did really well this month!

    Reply
    • I didn’t set a goal of how many books I’m going to try and read this year, I’ve set a goal of averaging about 100 pages a day for the year. This is day 120 for the year and I’m at just under 14,000 pages, so I’m about 2,000 pages ahead of schedule so far.

      Reply
  6. I need to pick up more Sanderson novels. So far I’ve read The Way of Kings and Mistborn: Final Empire. He is fantastic and I see his novels have received 10 out of 10…that is encouraging!

    Reply
    • I have readily admitted that my reviews of his books are not exactly unbiased, but his novels are all quite good. Interesting magic, unique settings, deep characters, and fantastic plots. He does a lot of things very well.

      Reply

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