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Ratings on Books?

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Catherine Delors
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Post by Catherine Delors » Sun October 26th, 2008, 4:23 pm

I don't know whether this thread is the proper starting point for this, but I would like to see ratings for books, on a voluntary basis of course, along the same lines as movies. So the reader knows what to expect in terms of sex and violence.
Last edited by Catherine Delors on Sun October 26th, 2008, 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sun October 26th, 2008, 5:55 pm

Well if that were the case then my teens would be getting out the naughty R rated stuff and ditchin the G rated things, which could hurt them in the long run.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sun October 26th, 2008, 8:57 pm

I'd like to see that myself. There is one on romance you can try here. When I review a book that's over the top in sex and/or violence (at least for my tastes) I try to mention that so that other readers are aware of it going in. If I'd paid closer attention to the one and two star reviews on Pillars of the Earth I'd have been saved......

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Telynor
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Post by Telynor » Sun October 26th, 2008, 9:11 pm

I try to put some sort of warning in my reviews when the sex and/or violence gets a bit too much. I remember back in the day when I read Romantic Times that they had a code-word system for the level and amount of sex in their books --

Sweet -- for not too heavy, no kink sex
Sexy -- heavy on the details, but no kink
Spicy -- anything goes

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sun October 26th, 2008, 10:59 pm

I have wanted something like this for years. It's a matter of choice -- or rather, not being stuck with 'bait-and-switch' tactics. Imagine buying salsa and not having a clue whether it would be to your taste in terms of spiciness before you bought it! Or even when you buy a computer program, you get a little note on the box that details system requirements.
I think that with so many communication tools now available, it's only a matter of time before somebody works this one out. The sweet-to-spicy romance code seems too restricted -- some clean books might be rather sour, plot-wise, and some of the things termed 'spicy' others might define as 'sick'.

Here's what a scale I could use would look like:
veterinary manual: depicts play-by-play physical aspects of mating, little build-up or emotional involvement, long-term relationships irrelevant.
veterinary handbook: same as above, but less descriptive.
cautionary tale: depicts the realities of what happens when stupid choices are made.
negative fantasy: involves heroes/heroines who break all the normal human rules of relationship and get outcomes that no one in the real world would be likely to arrive at.
destructive fantasy: all of the above, lots of graphic description thrown in to hook readers already tending in that direction.
marriage handbook: plot includes elements that would be helpful in building sound partnerships.
Marriage manual: same as above, but includes more sex.
Knock-your-socks-off romance: Where you get so involved in the growing relationship between the characters that one charged glance gives the reader more thrill than five pages of veterinary manual.

Ash
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Post by Ash » Sun October 26th, 2008, 11:00 pm

Ratings will do for books what they did for movies: encourage writers to always write in sex and violence to avoid the deadly 'G' rating....Ratings have never worked because someone's sex scene is someone elses porn. As much as I am bothered by overly graphic of either, esp when having nothing to do with the story, I know I can always close the book if I don't like what I am reading (and then wallbang it if need be)

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Sun October 26th, 2008, 11:27 pm

I can understand people's concerns on this matter, but I think I would come down on the side of leaving things uncensored, because how does one decide?
I'm reminded of the film Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. I think it was a 12 in the UK. When it came out, I was amused at the cheesily suggestive pottery making scene in the film, and rather disturbed at the ending where the bad guy gets impaled on the shard of glass. I was discussing the film with my dh's cousin - a man. 'It should never have been a twelve,' he said. 'Not with that suggestive scene in it with the potter's wheel!' So he would have censored it for that. Whereas I saw nothing wrong in that but would have censored it for the glass shard incident, which didn't bother cuz one whit. Who decides what gets the ratings and for what reason? I frequently disagree with the film censors and I suspect I would often disagree with the book censors! Just IMO. I respect everyone's views on this.
As a sideline to this, my internet friend Doubtful Muse wrote a piece in defence of not putting reading ages on children's books which mostly reflects my own opinions - and she puts it well. http://doubtfulmuse.blogspot.com/2008/0 ... ay-no.html
Last edited by EC2 on Mon October 27th, 2008, 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: typo
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Catherine Delors
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Post by Catherine Delors » Sun October 26th, 2008, 11:59 pm

Very funny about Ghost, EC2. I remember very clearly the pottery wheel scene (there's a great spoof of it in one of the Naked Gun films) and I totally forgot the impalement scene. :eek: You would think that's the kind of thing that would make an impression...
I guess that militates against the ratings thing. What is a shocker to some doesn't even break through the consciousness of someone else. I think Mistress got a "sexy" rating on the romance scale, which made me very happy. :D

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Mon October 27th, 2008, 12:44 am

I remember way back when my mother had to take me to the following movies, 'cause I couldn't go to these unattended,
  1. Zeferelli's (sp?) Romeo and Juliet. Why? Because we saw his bare naked back side!
  2. M.A.S.H. Horrors, just the language alone, but if I recall the big decisive factor was the shower scene with Hot Lips
Times have changed and everyone's taste is their own.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon October 27th, 2008, 3:00 am

How shocking something is to a person has to do with what they have been exposed to. For instance, most mothers very quickly get used to changing diapers and get to the point where they can discuss the various health indicators of the contents over lunch without a blink, while those who do not deal with feces daily tend to think 'eeeeww!'

I have done several postmortems on animals. The first one was stomach-churning. By number ten, they became routine, although it never feels good to lose a faithful friend.

Sex and violence ratings are helpful, at least in some form, because they allow a reader to intelligently select for their particular level. I know that today any form of discrimination (meaning discernment) is considered automatically a bad thing, but really, how many of you would want to come share in a postmortem on one of my llamas just because I do them all the time? Neither do readers want to be thrust without warning into situations of sex and/or violence that offend them.

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