A Book Rating System? Nah.

Video games have ratings. Movies have ratings. TV shows have ratings. Should books and other reading material be rated as well? Fanfiction.net and FictionPress have their own rating system.

I don’t think books or reading material should be rated. Libraries and bookstores have their books in sections for different age groups: children’s books (G), juvenile (PG), YA (PG-13), and adult (PG-13, R, and up). I think splitting books up by age group serves as a sufficient “rating system.”

Once a child turns 13 or reaches an appropriate level of good judgment, I don’t think parents should restrict that child’s reading material anymore. Some may argue that reading “explicit” material may somehow be less “offensive” than watching it. I don’t necessarily believe that – but then again, what people consider “explicit” or “offensive” is often very subjective.

So… what do you think?

19 thoughts on “A Book Rating System? Nah.

  1. I tend to agree with you, books are already separated out by age groups, so it seems redundant and unnecessary to divide them even more.

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  2. I was raised by librarians, so I was raised to think that all reading material should be available to all adults. Some things shoould be kept “under the counter” to be kept away from the very young.

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  3. Books are already split up enough. I’ve read books that have had some adult content, but nothing was THAT bad it should be classified to an extreme. And for the most part, people going out of their way to read are usually more mature, or they stick to age appropriate books. On a whole, books are harder to get a hold of than just flipping on your TV and have less “nudity” and “gore” just for the sake of it.

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    • “…people going out of their way to read are usually more mature…” < That is so true. It's also true that in movies/TV, gore and nudity are just there to be "eye candy" to the viewer. Books tend to be more boiled down; everything in a book usually has a point.

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  4. I look at books, movies, and so on as works that become available to each person at a different age. There’s no such thing as “children’s literature.” Those books just can be understood at an earlier age than some others. Many so-called children’s books are still worth reading by adults. At the same time, many “adult” (read well-written, complex, deep–not pornographic) books can be appreciated by some children.

    Take Emily Dickinson, for example. I couldn’t get anything out of her poetry when I was a teenager, but now, twenty years later, I love her writing.

    What I’m saying here is that artificial lines don’t do what they’re intended to do. They don’t tell us what’s worth reading when. They also tempt some children to sneak into the Restricted Section.

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  5. I agree with you, Maggie. With a movie, there’s some uniformity in the ratings because the raters watch the movie and rate it according to set guidelines.

    Who would/could/should do that with books?

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  6. Good question. I’m with you. I do think it’s a good idea to have sections in libraries/bookstores, but I really don’t like the idea of other people deciding for whom a given book is acceptable. No thanks. I’ll decide for myself.
    – Imagine having to show your ID when buying a book. πŸ˜„

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  7. One of my favorite novels about the Civil War is called “Unto this Hour” by Tom Wicker … it is a well-crafted and factually accurate account of the Battle of 2nd Manassas from the point of view of both those who fought the battle and those who were simply caught up in the turmoil. I love the book and my only criticism is that Wicker rather gratuitously (in my humble opinion) spiced the narrative up with sexual content that was unnecessarily graphic. I had the same problem with another terrific novel … “Pillars of the Earth”.

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    • I recently read A Reliable Wife (Robert Goolrick) and I felt that it had way too much sexual content. I feel like a lot of the time, sex is put in books for the same reason it’s put into movies: as filler.

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      • I always go very carefully with sex scenes. My first two books didn’t have any, but then I think my characters got frustrated, because there are a few in the third book. πŸ™‚

        I always give a lot of thought to whether the scenes belong, and, if they do, how I write them. It has to be real (not like most of what you see in the movies), and it has to illuminate something about the characters. Otherwise, it gets cut.

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