In lieu of a formal review rating system with a number of “stars” as gauge on how much I enjoy the books I read, I decided to craft my own. It’s basically based on the following criteria:
a) Plot – Is the storyline believable (or acceptable at the very least in case of fantasy)? Does it move fast? Too fast? Too slow? Or just about right?
b) Characterization – Are the book’s characters “in character” or acting the way they should be? Are their personalities too strong or too weak? Do they contribute something to the story? Are they fun at all?
c) Entertainment – Can it sustain my attention for the time required to finish it? Will I learn anything from it? Will it make me cry, laugh, angry or fall in love? Will it make me want to read the next book in the series or anything else from the same author?
d) Cover-liciousness – Does it catch attention? Does it affirm my good taste if my buy it based on face value? Will it make me want to read the blurb or find out more about it? Will others covet it once they see me reading it? (Haha)
e) “Travelability” – Will it be worth bringing it with me while I’m out and about? Is it short enough to enjoy in between transit yet long enough to hold my attention?
(We have to have that last criterion as this blog being The Traveling Reader after all. ;))
And I just couldn’t resist creating my own badges (you’ll see more of these in my reviews in the future):
Like any good toiletry, this book should be one of the first things you should pack as you go to your new destination. It’s good, emotionally-provocative and filled to the brim with adventures yet light enough to be enjoyed while you’re traveling; this book will fill your hours of fun and enjoyment that you will hardly notice that the bus arrived too late. On the contrary, you might really get late for your next stop if you get so engrossed in this one. 😀
While this book falls slightly off from being awesome, it certainly has its charm. The story flows smoothly and is peppered with characters who make reading such a joy. Planning to catch that cutie’s eye (or gain new friends abroad)? This will certainly make a good conversation piece. But because this book is sweet enough to be taken in small doses, you don’t have to worry about forgetting what the story is all about if you have to stop in between breaks or in between bites of yummy croissants or pad thai noodles.
It’s certainly not a very terrible book but it’s just not worth packing this time. The story is quite complicated that you would have to dedicate a whole afternoon (or maybe just a couple of hours if you’re a speed reader) in order to digest it. Maybe you could just read it at home. Or bring it with you as an afterthought (before the taxi honks that you have to go right this instant).
Don’t even think about bringing this one on your journeys. While it’s not the worst book written, it’s hardly worth the trouble arranging your carefully packed luggage just to accommodate it. This doesn’t mean that the book was actually bad. It just didn’t pass the “travelability” meter we established.
NOTE: My reviews are not absolute. Sometimes, I re-read books just to evaluate if my feelings or thoughts about it have changed. And most often than not, when I read, I’m influenced by how I’m feeling for a particular day (my reading palate changes from day to day, too). So it could be that I graded a book as “BAD” only because I read it when I was having a bad day or I was just not ready for it. And oh, for me, there are really no bad books. Only that, some need more polishing than others.
For books that will be marked “Last Minute Packing” or “Excess Baggage”, they are not really bad. It’s just that they are not suitable to be brought while traveling. They are better read when you’re in your comfort zone or in your usual reading corner.
By the way, I try to avoid other readers’ reviews of books I particularly want to review because I fear that my observations would be clouded with what I had previously read. ^_^