Rating Guide and Index

I rate books on a scale from one to ten. Ratings are, of course, subjective, and mine only reflect my personal experience with the book in question. Please find below a reference guide for my rating system, as well as an index of reviews in each category (alphabetical by author's last name).

1-3 Stars 

These are books I very much did not enjoy reading and did not consider to be successfully executed. I would not recommend other readers pick these up.

Campbell, Joseph: Creative Mythology

Cline, Ernest: Ready Player One

Donoghue, Emma: The Wonder

Eggers, Dave: The Circle

Farley, Christina: Gilded

Goldman, William: Boys And Girls Together

Healey, Sarah: The Sisters Chase

Horn, Stacy: Unbelievable

Jacobson, Howard: Shylock Is My Name

Letham, Jonathan: Motherless Brooklyn

Lloyd, Heather: My Name Is Venus Black

McKenzie, Catherine: Hidden

Moor, Robert: On Trails

O'Bannon, Ed: Court Justice

Potzsch, Oliver: The Hangman's Daughter

Schwartz, John Burnham: Reservation Road

Semple, Maria: Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Stone, Michel: Border Child

Updike, John: The Witches of Eastwick

Waller, Douglas: Wild Bill Donovan

Winters, Cat: Yesternight

Wolfe, Tom: The Bonfire of the Vanities

Yen, Anna: Sophia of Silicon Valley

4-6 Stars

These books are just okay. They're successful in some aspects, unsuccessful in others. These are the books I tend to forget the most, because I don't have strong feelings about them. I don't usually take a stance on recommendations for these books, because they're not good enough to affirmatively recommend and not bad enough that I think they're a waste of time.

Abbott, Megan: Die A Little; The Fever

Adcock, Siobhan: The Completionist

Adeyemi, Tomi: Children of Blood and Bone

Alderman, Naomi: The Power

Andersen, Christopher: Game of Crowns  

Asimov, Eric: How To Love Wine

Augustine, Saint: The Confessions of Saint Augustine

Baxter, Charles: The Feast of Love

Beatty, Paul: The Sellout

Bennett, Claire-Louise: Pond

Bernstein, Carl and Bob Woodward: All the President's Men

Bissinger, H.G.: Friday Night Lights

Bohjalian, Chris: The Guest Room

Bolick, Kate: Spinster

Bray, Libba: A Great And Terrible Beauty

Brennan, Christine: Inside Edge

Brotherton, Rob: Suspicious Minds

Buck, Pearl: The Good Earth

Buckley, Christopher: The Relic Master

Buntin, Julie: Marlena

Cain, James: Mildred Pierce

Campbell, Joseph: Occidental Mythology, Oriental Mythology, Primitive Mythology

Camus, Albert: The Stranger

Cather, Willa: My Antonia

Chabon, Michael: Wonder Boys

Chance, Megan: Inamorata

Charnock, Anne: A Calculated Life

Chu, Wesley: The Lives of Tao

Cluchey, Dan: The Life Of The World To Come

Cocks, Heather and Jessica Morgan: Spoiled; Messy

Collins, Max Allan: Supreme Justice

Collins, Paul: Duel With The Devil

Conroy, Pat: The Prince of Tides

Cusk, Rachel: Outline

DeLillo, Don: Zero K

Drury, Bob and Tom Clavin: The Heart of Everything That Is

Eggers, Dave: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Eichenwald, Kurt: The Informant

Ellis, Bret Easton: The Rules of Attraction

Enright, Anne: The Gathering

Essbaum, Jill Alexander: Hausfrau

Fitch, Janet: Paint It Black

Flynn, Gillian: Dark Places

Forster, E.M.: A Passage To India

Gortner, C.W.: The Romanov Empress

Graysmith, Robert: Zodiac

Gregory, Philippa: The White Queen; The Lady of the Rivers

Grumet, Louis: The Curious Case of Kiryas Joel

Halter, Marek: Lilah

Harris, Charlaine: Dead Ever After

Heinlein, Robert: Stranger In A Strange Land

Hemmings, Kaui Hart: The Possibilities

Henderson, Smith: Fourth of July Creek 

Henriquez, Cristina: The Book of Unknown Americans

Herman, Eleanor: Sex With Kings

Hill, Ben: Princess Masako

Hilton, James: Lost Horizon

Holmberg, Charlie: The Paper Magician 

Ishiguro, Kazuo: The Buried Giant

Jacobs, A.J.: The Year of Living Biblically

Jones, Rod: The Mothers

Kearney, Paul: The Wolf In The Attic

Kelley, Kitty: The Royals

King, Lily: The Pleasing Hour

Kinney, Alison: Hood

Ko, Lisa: The Leavers

Koerner, Brendan: The Skies Belong To Us

Kotlowitz, Alex: The Other Side Of The River

Krauss, Nicole: Forest Dark

Kwan, Kevin: Crazy Rich Asians

Lashner, William: The Barkeep

Leduff, Charlie: Detroit

Levin, Ira: Rosemary's Baby

Levitt, Stephen: Freakonomics

Libaire, Jardine: White Fur

Lowenthal, Michael: Charity Girl

Lynch, Jim: The Highest Tide

Mailer, Norman: The Executioner's Song

Mayes, Frances: Under The Tuscan Sun

Mezrich, Ben: Bringing Down The House

Moran, Michelle: Nefertiti

Nagorski, Andrew: The Nazi Hunters

Ondaatje, Michael: In The Skin Of A Lion

Oyeyemi, Helen: What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours

Pamuk, Orhan: Snow

Poehler, Amy: Yes Please

Pogue, James: Chosen Country

Pollan, Michael: In Defense Of Food

Proulx, Annie: The Shipping News

Redling, S.G.: Flowertown

Renault, Mary: The King Must Die

Ritter, William: Jackaby

Roberts, Gregory David: Shantaram

Robinson, Marilynne: Housekeeping

Romano-Lax, Andromeda: Behave

Rosenberg, Liz: The Moonlight Palace

Rowell, Rainbow: Landline

Ryan, Christopher and Calcida Jetha: Sex at Dawn

Sacks, Oliver: Migraine; The Island of the Colorblind; The Mind's Eye

Salie, Faith: Approval Junkie

Shepard, Jim: Lights Out In The Reptile House

Shipstead, Maggie: Seating Arrangements

Spark, Muriel: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

St. James, James: Party Monster

Standage, Tom: A History Of The World In 6 Glasses

Styron, William: Sophie's Choice

Sylvester, Natalia: Chasing The Sun

Thomas, Matthew: We Are Not Ourselves

Toobin, Jeffrey: American Heiress

Tyler, Anne: Vinegar Girl

Vonnegut, Kurt: Player Piano

Vyleta, Dan: Smoke

Wappler, Margaret: Neon Green

Warner, Benjamin: Thirst

Weir, Alison: Innocent Traitor, The Lady Elizabeth

Weir, Andy: The Martian

Wilder, Thornton: The Bridge Of San Luis Rey

Winchester, Simon: The Professor And The Madman

Wurger, Takis: The Club

Zambreno, Kate: Green Girl

7-8 Stars

These are books I liked, and even really liked. They're well-crafted and interesting, but don't have the something extra that makes them truly great in my eyes. I do recommend reading these books.

Adebayo, Ayobami: Stay With Me

Adiga, Aravind: The White Tiger

Allen, Jonathan and Amie Parnes: Shattered

Amend, Allison: Enchanted Islands

Aslan, Reza: Zealot

Atkinson, Kate: Life After Life

Atwood, Margaret: Oryx and Crake

Austen, Jane: Mansfield Park

Baldwin, James: If Beale Street Could Talk

Barnes, Julian: The Sense of an Ending

Batuman, Elif: The Idiot

Brown, Dee: Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee

Buckley, Christopher: Thank You For Smoking

Bugliosi, Vincent: Helter Skelter

Byatt, A.S.: Possession 

Carey, M.R.: The Girl With All The Gifts

Carreyrou, John: Bad Blood

Carson, Rachel: Silent Spring

Chabon, Michael: Moonglow

Cline, Emma: The Girls

Coetzee, J.M.: Disgrace

Coll, Steve: Ghost Wars

Conklin, Tara: The Last Romantics

Cooney, Kara: The Woman Who Would Be King

Corman, Avery: Kramer v. Kramer

Cudmore, Libby: The Big Rewind

Dawkins, Richard: The Selfish Gene

Diaz, Junot: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Didion, Joan: The Year of Magical Thinking

duMaurier, Daphne: Rebecca

Duyvis, Corinne: On The Edge Of Gone

Ebert, Roger: Life Itself

Eco, Umberto: The Name Of The Rose

Ellison, Ralph: Invisible Man

Erdrich, Louise: Love Medicine

Fagan, Jenni: The Panopticon 

Frankl, Viktor: Man's Search For Meaning

Franzen, Jonathan: Freedom

French, Tana: In The Woods

Gaiman, Neil: American Gods, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett)

Galbraith, Robert (J.K. Rowling): The Cuckoo's Calling; The Silkworm

Gay, Roxane: An Untamed State

Gessen, Masha: The Man Without A Face

Gibbs, Nancy: The President's Club

Gideon, Melanie: Valley of the Moon

Ginsburg, Ruth Bader: My Own Words

Gladwell, Malcolm: David And Goliath

Glendinning, Victoria: The Butcher's Daughter

Goldblatt, David: The Games

Gonzalez, Rigoberto: Butterfly Boy

Greer, Andrew Sean: Less

Gregory, Philippa: The Red Queen; The Kingmaker's Daughter

Hardy, Thomas: Far From The Madding Crowd

Heller, Zoe: Notes On A Scandal

Herman, Eleanor: Sex With The Queen

Hornby, Nick: Juliet, Naked

Hunt, Samantha: Mr. Splitfoot

Ile, Jowhor: And After Many Days 

Johnson, Daisy: Everything Under

Jones, Tayari: An American Marriage

Kanon, Joseph: The Good German

Keefe, Patrick Radden: Say Nothing

Kerman, Piper: Orange Is The New Black

Kim, Suki: Without You, There Is No Us 

Lahiri, Jhumpa: Interpreter of MaladiesThe Lowland

Larson, Erik: The Devil In The White City

Levental, Vadim: Masha Regina

Mastromonaco, Alyssa: Who Thought This Was A Good Idea?

Maugham, W. Somerset: Of Human Bondage

Maynard, Joyce: To Die For

McBride, James: The Color of Water

McCafferty, Megan: Sloppy Firsts

McCarthy, Mary: The Group

McCullers, Carson: The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

Miller, Madeline: The Song Of Achilles

Moriarty, Liane: Big Little Lies

Murdoch, Iris: Henry and Cato

Nafisi, Azar: Reading Lolita In Tehran

Naslund, Sena Jeter: Ahab's Wife

Norton, Elizabeth: Margaret Beaufort

Orlean, Susan: The Library Book

Oyeyemi, Helen: Boy, Snow, Bird

Ozeki, Ruth: A Tale For The Time Being

Patchett, Ann: Bel Canto

Petersen, Anne Helen: Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud

Pullman, Philip: La Belle Sauvage

Rio, M.L.: If We Were Villains

Roach, Mary: Spook, Stiff

Sacks, Oliver: A Leg To Stand On; Uncle Tungsten

Samatar, Sofia: The Winged Histories

Saunders, Geroge: Lincoln In The Bardo

Schiller, Lawrence: Perfect Murder Perfect Town

Sebald, W.G.: The Emigrants

Sedaris, David: Me Talk Pretty One Day

Shipstead, Maggie: Astonish Me

Sittenfeld, Curtis: Prep

Sjoberg, Fredrik: The Fly Trap

Skloot, Rebecca: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Smith, Chandler Klang: The Sky Is Yours 

Smith, Phyllis: I Am Livia

Sorrentino, Christopher: The Fugitives

Steiner, Susie: Missing, Presumed

Strout, Elizabeth: Olive Kitteridge

Susann, Jacqueline: Valley Of The Dolls

Tartt, Donna: The Goldfinch

Thomas, Angie: The Hate U Give 

Thomas, Evan: First

Toobin, Jeffrey: A Vast Conspiracy

Tulathimutte, Tony: Private Citizens

Wang, Weike: Chemistry

Ward, Jesmyn: Sing, Unburied, Sing

Watkins, Claire Vaye: Battleborn

Wayne, Teddy: The Love Song of Jonny Valentine

Weir, Alison: The Wars Of The Roses, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Children of Henry VIII

Wharton, Edith: The House of Mirth

Whitehead, Colson: The Underground Railroad

Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway

Wright, Lawrence: The Looming Tower; Going Clear

Zusak, Markus: The Book Thief

9-10 Stars

These are books I found to be truly wonderful, and loved the experience of reading. I highly recommend reading these books.

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi: Americanah (my favorite book of my third year of blogging!)

Arden, Katherine: The Bear and the Nightingale; The Girl in the Tower; The Winter of the Witch

Atwood, Margaret: The Blind Assassin

Beer, Edith Hahn: The Nazi Officer's Wife

Benioff, David: City of Thieves

Bordo, Susan: The Creation Of Anne Boleyn 

Catton, Eleanor: The Luminaries

Chabon, Michael: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (my favorite book of my fourth year of blogging!)

Chee, Alexander: The Queen Of The Night

Coates, Ta-Nehisi: Between The World And Me

Conroy, Pat: The Lords of Discipline

Deutscher, Guy: Through The Language Glass

Domet, Sarah: The Guineveres

Hamid, Mohsin: Exit West  (my favorite book of my fifth year of blogging!)

Lahiri, Jhumpa: The Namesake

Larson, Erik: Dead Wake

Longworth, Karina: Seduction

Mandel, Emily St. John: Station Eleven

McMurtry, Larry: The Last Picture Show

Morrison, Toni: Beloved

O'Brien, Tim: The Things They Carried

Oliva, Alexandra: The Last One

Reid, Taylor Jenkins: Daisy Jones and the Six

Setterfield, Diane: Once Upon A River

Shriver, Lionel: We Need To Talk About Kevin (my favorite book of my second year of blogging!)

Smith, Betty: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Warren, Robert Penn: All The King's Men (my favorite book of my first year of blogging!)

Williams, John: Stoner

Zentner, Jeff: The Serpent King


  1. Good list. This is a 10 star blog.

    1. Why thank you! That's very kind of you to say