Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Skull Scoring System

What’s a book review without a final score? It’s easy to understand, pleasantly digestible, and forces the reviewer to put up or shut up. By those standards, the ultimate scoring system was Siskel & Ebert’s “thumbs up, thumbs down”. With a flick of their digits, they rendered a binary judgment requiring no conscious effort by their audience. 
My scoring system, however, is more nuanced. By aping the standard 5-Star system found in fine websites everywhere, I'm able to provide shades of meaning. Unlike the “star” rating system, though, (“I give Basket Case five stars!”), I like to use skulls as my cardinal symbols:

5 Skulls:  
 Awesome on top of awesome. Absolutely no qualifiers to the breathless adoration heaped upon such a masterpiece. To not shout its praises from the rooftop would be a crime against humanity; to not read it, a betrayal of one’s soul.

4 Skulls:
Really good. This is a story you must read, and soon. It will possess at least one aspect of sublime execution, if not more. Almost certainly guaranteed to inform you and stay with you.

3 Skulls:
Good enough to read, but not so good you would stay home and pass up a good party.

2 Skulls:
Mostly drivel. You won’t go on a rampage, but you will find it difficult to finish. And if you do, you’ll always wonder about what you might have been doing with all that time.  

1 Skull:
Putrid toxic waste. If you’re going to read a 1-Skuller all the way through, you might as well be sitting on a pineapple while you do.

0 Skulls:
Completely without any redeeming value whatsoever. This will scar you permanently, and, depending on your situation in life, probably scar your offspring, as well.