Thursday, August 4, 2011

Should books have "ratings?"

So, lately I have been thinking about books and if they should have "ratings" or not. Now, I'm not talking about book banning or requiring a person to be a certain age to read a book, so please don't go all "That's censorship!" on me and just stay with me for a moment.

When I say ratings, I am meaning I wish there was a small thing on the spine or the back of the cover or even on the first page informing the reader of content in the book.
For example if the book is a M/F story a F/F story or a M/M story. Also, use a movie type rating informing people of to what extent swearing, violence and sexuality is contained in the book. I say this only because I was speaking with a friend recently who was telling me how she picked up a book that had content to which she was very uncomfortable reading, when I read the cover blurb, I too was misled and never would have thought that the book contained this "issue."
There are some people who only wish to read books that have certain content and having a rating on books would help them find what they are looking for, it could also help parents decide what is appropriate for their children and their family.
I have a nephew and my sister will only allow him to have certain books due to his age, as of now, she doesn't want him to have anything more then Dr. Suess type books. However, he grabs my Stephen King books at any chance he gets and he plays with them, which I think is awesome!
I digress, what do you all think about this? Should books come with "A warning label" essentially? Telling us more of the content of the book?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerers' stone:
Language: None
Violence: Minimal
Or something similar, anyway what are y'alls thoughts on this?



Mardel said...

On one hand, it sounds like a good idea. I know there's been a couple books that I've started reading and then became a little grossed out (involved incest, consensual incest, which bothered me to read about).

On the other hand, I can see it being used to censure books that get put in a library - school library or classroom. There are some wonderful books out there, that happen to have some language or strong events that are a huge part of the story that I can see parents or someone trying to get banned because of language or content.

I would love some warning myself though on the adult books - but then I'd rather be surprised and possibly give away a book I didn't like than to have book banners get another reason to ban a book.

Kathy S said...

I like the idea of rating books as long as no one took it so far as to start banning more books from schools and libraries, which, unfortunately I think they would do. In theory I think the ratings would be wonderful, but I think some people would take the good intentions too far. Because while you and I might not put ratings on books to censor them, it could be used as an excuse for censorship.

J.P. said...

I think this is a great topic! I think books can go without ratings, when it comes to the topic of ratings book for children I believe this what the parents and students job comes into play. Parents are there to say whay they children can or can not read same as with movies, television shows and video games. As school the teacher is only going to bring in age appropriate books for the development of their students.

As for ratings for adults, i also think this is not needed. Why? Well isn't that why we have people who review books:-) It's like buying a book because the description sound good and then you read it and the book is bad, should they put a rating on the book for that? My suggestion is if you ran into this problem just do a little more digging to find out a little more about the book.