Read. Rate. Review.

Having a large TBR is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, cause I’ll probably never run out of books to read. But at the same time, because I have many a books, choosing the next book to read isn’t easily done. In this post, I’ll shine a light on how I choose my books to read and how I rate them.

Everyone has their own way of choosing a new book to read. Jeremy from Inklingstime, for example, holds a competition to determine his next read. Although quite time consuming, Jeremy’s Book Competition is tremendously fun. Not only to watch him battling his books with a genuine joy, but also participating and commenting on the various battles (*) is a good way to pass the time. Also, trying to slip some of my books into the competition raises the stakes and makes it even more exciting. Will my books prevail or suffer the first losses?

So, do I do the same? Alas, no. [Insert your booing here]. While J. has quite the overview of his collection, I can’t see half of mine because my books are stacked away in boxes in the attic (**). With a 1000+ TBR, I can host my very own Grand Slam, qualifiers included, so no, a full-on competition is out of my reach. Instead, I tend to be pretty boring when it comes to choosing a new book to read. The TBR-mountain aside, I am almost permanently invested in a sh*tload of series and add to that a lot of trilogies or whatever I started but never finished, and you can imagine it’s quite hard to keep track of all those bigger storylines and characters. In order to reduce that huge stack of series, I decided to alternate the books I read between three or so major Epic and the same amount of Urban Fantasy series. That way, I have sufficient variety in my reading and do I get to finish those ever-lasting series.
Another way of choosing my books, is through the monthly themed bookchallenge hosted by my bookclub. Every month, a theme is chosen and you have to read a book that fits the theme in order to succeed in the challenge. Apart from the challenge, there is the monthly book discussion, in which I tend to partake, which is another way of choosing my books (***).

However! However. Because of those monthly challenges and discussions – which are almost never ever standalone books – I have a lot of unfinished business in terms of those previously mentioned trilogies, duologies, otherologies and these tend to get snowed under.
In order to make sure that the unfortunate ones also get their time in the spotlight, I randomly select a book once in while, next to the series I’m reading. I’d like to be as creative as J. and come up with my very own selection procedure, but I find the well-known bookjar quite satisfying and it suits my means well. The titles I’ve put into the jar are the next installments of the neglected ~logies and some standalones/others which I planned to read for I don’t know how long. When a book gets selected, another one joins the jar. For this, I have a box filled with scraps of paper with all the books on them, so they all have a fair chance.
In order to not get any big series when I’m already reading so many, I have a separate series-jar. Whenever I finished a series or two, I’ll pick a new one out of that jar. Yes, it’s all very cool!

Which brings me to how I rate books. As you might have noticed by now, I’m perhaps the slightest bit obsessed. This translates to a quite expansive rating-system in an excel-file – the same in which I keep my books catalogued. After finishing a book, I give a separate rating to plot, characters, writing and an overall rating. These four ratings each get a different weight when put together to get a mean score. This way of rating actually works quite well, cause the score I get in the end, is pretty much the same as a more simple star-rating. This star rating is the one I’ll apply here.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★: Amazing book. One of my favourites!
★ ★ ★ ★: Great read, you should try it!
★ ★ ★: Pretty decent, but could have been better.
★ ★: This was not what I had hoped for…
★: Ugh! Stay away from this.

Because of all this, though, it’s not surprising that I don’t Always read the latest craze. In fact, the craze of yesteryear is still waiting to be read. On the flipside, whereas everyone is reading and reviewing something brand new and shiny, The Paper Dragon randomly selects the glory of years gone by and brings them to you with an ingenious rating-system. You are very much welcome!

* Booooo- and Yaaaaay-sounds obviously included.
** There are only so many books one can put on the shelves before they collapse under the weight of high prose and complex, heavyweight plots.
*** As a general rule, these books can never be a sequel in a series, for everyone has to be able to partake. This, however, is quite counterproductive to the ‘trying to reduce the amount of series I’m reading’ thing.

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