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Ratings on Books?

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Catherine Delors
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Post by Catherine Delors » Tue October 28th, 2008, 12:11 am

Oh, CW, it lasted for several months after publication. I got so fed up with it that I quit checking if it had been changed.
I have a brand new editor for the paperback (Penguin does that for all paperbacks because it goes to another division) and this new lady takes an entirely different view of things. :)

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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Tue October 28th, 2008, 8:14 pm

We had a similar discussion on another forum that I'm a member of, and I think we came to pretty much the same conclusions as we have on here - that what offends one person won't offend the next reader, and that it's probably virtually impossible to come to a ratings system that everyone will agree on. Perhaps there should be some guidelines for children's books, but again children mature at different stages and some children are affected by certain things more than others - just like adults! And of course as someone pointed out, giving a book the equivalent of a 15 film rating might well drive some younger folk to read the book out of curiosity - I remember my friend and me picking out certain sections of books by Jackie Collins and Harold Robbins, and also The Exorcist! Personally I don't like being told whether or not something is suitable for me - if I'm offended by a book or film, then I'll stop reading or watching it! And I would hope that parents would be able to "vet" books for their children too, but you can't police everybody can you?

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Catherine Delors
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Post by Catherine Delors » Tue October 28th, 2008, 10:22 pm

You are right, Madeleine. All depends on personal taste. I loved Red Dragon, but Dr. Seuss creeps me out. :eek:

Ash
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Post by Ash » Wed October 29th, 2008, 12:00 am

Why? I tend to be picky with what I read to my young students, and I have no trouble picking his books (I don't care for Cat in the Hat, but the others I love).

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Catherine Delors
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Post by Catherine Delors » Wed October 29th, 2008, 12:16 am

I wonder. The texts are irksome (but then I am not a native English speaker, so I may be missing the poetry of repetition.)
What spooks me is the graphics. To me they evoke something nightmarish. There is another thread somewhere on the forum about people who find clowns totally creepy. I react in the same manner to Dr. Seuss.

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Post by Ash » Wed October 29th, 2008, 3:59 am

Ah - ok, if English is not your first language, I can see the problem. For my kids, they love the rhyming and inventing words (the names of the toys in The Grinch are especially wonderful). It would be very difficult to translate some of that!

The pictures seem pretty tame to me, but then I am used to illustrations in children's books. Seen a heck of a lot worse, and scarier! But then I am easily scared by other things, so I totally understand your view.

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Catherine Delors
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Post by Catherine Delors » Wed October 29th, 2008, 12:29 pm

I discovered Dr. Seuss not as a child, but when I gave birth. The hospital presented me, courtesy of a formula maker, a diaper bag full of baby formula (of course) and various goodies, including a Dr. Seuss book.
I just looked up the book on Amazon and realize all of a sudden why it freaked me out: it referred - not intentionally, I am sure - to a birth defect that affected my son. But I think I would have disliked the graphics even without that personal factor.
That was my first exposure to Seuss, who is not a household name in my country of origin. I donated the book to my library since I didn't want to keep it at home and I don't like to throw away books.
Do you know whether anyone did a psychoanalytic study of Seuss's work?

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Wed October 29th, 2008, 12:42 pm

We had Dr Seuss in our libraries in the UK when mine were growing up and yes, I thought they were a bit creepy and weird to look at, but I was never able to put my finger on why. I didn't go much for the content either. My children - both boys - loved the below as tinies.

The 'Where's Spot?' series
Hairy McClary from Donaldson's Dairy series
Mog series
Alfie series
Full Moon Soup - all visuals, no words, but much loved
Prince Cinders - Babette Cole (I've remembered one!)
All the Asterix the Gaul books. (well as older children here, but had to mention them).
Harry the Dirty Dog
Peep-Bo. My younger son adored this one as a tiny. 'Here's a little baby, one two three, looks in the mirror, what does he see?
The Elephant and the Bad Baby - 'And the bad baby said.....Yesssss!!!'
The Dr. Xargle series
The Little Dracula series
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 » Wed October 29th, 2008, 1:25 pm

[quote=""EC2""]... and yes, I thought they were a bit creepy and weird to look at, but I was never able to put my finger on why. I didn't go much for the content either.[/quote]

Ah, it's just not me being weird then. Thank you, EC2! I too was (and still am) a fan of Asterix, along with all the adults and kids at home. My favourite is "Le Bouclier Arverne" because it has such a universal theme: the Holy Grail is right there under your nose, but you need to search for it all over the place before you can realize that.

I sent you a PM a few days ago. Did you see it?

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Wed October 29th, 2008, 11:58 pm

My mother hated Dr. Seuss. I loved him. Might be one of those authors who just plain appeals more to children than to parents.

I've thought about developing a ratings system for Historical Novels.info, but there were too many stumbling blocks. First of all, as others have pointed out, people have different levels of sensitivity to different types of sexual and/or violent content. I can't stand Clive Cussler's novels, because I feel the violent scenes are written in a way that encourages readers to applaud and celebrate the violence. Other novels that are equally graphic (or more so) don't bother me because the violent scenes are integral to a novel whose essence is to condemn such violence. Sex scenes, however graphic they may be, don't bother me unless the sex is violent or creepy (or clumsily written, but that's another issue entirely), and not always then, just as with violent scenes.

More important, for me, is that I'd be afraid one or another brief scene in a novel which didn't bother me but would bother others might slip my mind, so that I would give it the wrong rating. I don't want to start reading books with a sex/violence check-list in hand that would interfere with my understanding and appreciation of the novel's essence.

And finally, there are times when rating a novel might introduce a spoiler for some readers. (Does the guy ever get to bed the girl? for example.)

I do try to suggest the overall nature of a novel through the tone and content of my reviews.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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