One and Two-Star Book Reviews are a Paradox (If you’re Reading For Pleasure)

See, here. So, a thing occurred to me…I mean, a truly new thing. Seriously. I think I’ve invented it. And it will save me time and energy. And, best of all, it makes sense. Sort of.

The thing I realized about novels was—just like with a relationship—when you finish with one, you can never say that the time spent inside of it was wasted. Not truly. Not if you’re being honest with yourself.

I mean, you might have regrets, sure. But (and I have this on good authority from my therapist), fact is, you stayed with it, for however long you did, because it was providing something for you. Something you needed at that time. Girlfriend. Marriage. Living with your birth family as an adult. Taking care of elderly parents…you name it. The situation might not be ideal. It might even be dysfunctional. But, you stayed in it for a reason, even if only maybe to try and grow and escape it.

Switching back the analogy: So, you kept reading the friggin’ novel that you didn’t like. You even finished it. Maybe you hoped it would get better and it didn’t. But, even then, you learned something about yourself in the process. Or you worked your brain. Or, whatever. I don’t know why you did it. My point is: you had your reasons. Right?

This leads me to the paradox. So—follow me, now—that being the case, you should never really give a novel less than a 3-star review (that being average). Boom. There, I said it.

Here’s my reasoning. Let’s say that roughly 50% of the books you start are so bad you don’t finish them. And then you finish a book that is the worst, I mean WORST book you’ve ever finished. Well, that book is still median quality of all the books you’ve started.

Hence: Three stars.

So, doesn’t that mean that all those crappy books you set aside should get scathing one or two-star reviews. Well, no. Shit, you didn’t even finish it. It would be unethical to give a review on a full book you haven’t ever read…

See how that works?

I do realize that there might be people out there that truly, fully read and finish books they hate. Perhaps they do so for the reason that they need to make themselves feel superior by writing a bad review. For those people, I just guess we all have to agree that you’re aren’t reading for pleasure. You’re a masochist.

So, uh, good on you. I guess.

This is all pretext for me to explain and justify why I’m starting a new thing. I call them Three Chapter Reviews™. I’m very excited about this. I will read the first three chapters of various books and review them at that point.

See? Less time. Less trouble. Did I mention I was really very excited about this?

Like the lady says: Watch this space (or, sign up for my newsletter)!

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