"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

Engagement Reading

I have long been troubled by the numerous inadequacies of the star-rating system. Whether I loved something or hated it often seems too concise a way to communicate how I really felt about what I read. Take, for example, a heart wrenching tale about a Holocaust survivor or the horrifying memoir of a woman abducted and held captive for years by a cruel and abusive criminal. While I may have found those books engaging and interesting, while I may have stayed up half the night steadily turning pages and holding my breath, it is unlikely that saying I LOVED the story best fits how I really felt about it. Conversely, if I give a book about baseball only one star, a rating that typically communicates severe dislike, it may only be that I am not interested in baseball and therefore a book that might be perfectly fascinating to my bat-swinging cousin didn't interest me at all. Hence the engagement reading, a reading indicating the level of engagement I felt at a given point in the book.

It goes a little something like this...

1 - Still reading but considering doing ANYTHING else.

2 - Boring but I would continue to read this selection if I were waiting in a doctor's office and the      only other available choices ere Men's Health and Parenting magazine.

3 - Utterly average. Beige pants average. At this point I will neither recommend nor discourage anyone else from this choice. 

3.5 - Getting good! Interested to know what's coming next but if my copy caught on fire I probably wouldn't buy it a second time to find out. 

4 - Reading during almost every available moment. It's at this point that I start telling people about what I'm reading and spreading the word. 

4.5 - Skipping chores and staying up late to find out what happens next. 


The beauty in determining multiple engagement readings is that it results in a line graph that shows how engaged I felt throughout. Take a look at this one:

You can tell that I liked this book from the beginning. As I went it just kept getting more and more engaging for me, consuming me completely by the end. This next one is a little different: 

I was very interested in the beginning but things slowed way down through the middle and it was a struggle to get through. I made it though and it really paid off at the end because the final parts of the book were wonderful! 

And that's all there is to it! I hope you enjoy the engagement readings on Biblio-Files. Happy reading!

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