Should We Give Grades to Books?

Should book reviewers (like yours truly) assign grades to literature? The immediate impetus for this question is that I am contemplating creating a grading system for the books I review; yet this would seem to contradict the initial purpose I put forward for the creation of this website: to appreciate–that is, to enhance the value of—old books.

Yet obviously I don’t hold the reductio ad absurdum view that old books are to be valued merely because they are old; you won’t see me leading the McGuffey Reader revival; I may praise Jeremy Taylor’s spectacular rhetoric but you won’t find me preaching his old time religion. (Put it this way: if I swore off every old author who would have disapproved of my lifestyle, I wouldn’t be The Old Book Appreciator now, would I?) But appreciating anything means marking it out for special consideration; I can’t well run around naming all the animals and plants like naked Adam. (more…)

Random Book Cover & Illustrations: Travel Narratives of Friedrich Gerstäcker

Random Book Cover & Illustrations: Works of Schiller (1883)

Crate-Diggings: German Historians of the 18th and 19th Centuries

Crate-Diggings: Miscellaneous Philosophical Works by Female Writers