05 February 2011

Chuck Close, Up Close

Chuck Close, Up Close7. Chuck Close, Up Close by Jan Greenberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another cool, informative book by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan.

Yes, it's a kid's book, but a very cool kid's book.

If you'd like to learn a bit about famous painter Chuck Close, this is a great place to start. The authors interviewed the artist so a lot of the text is in his own words. The book includes many of Close's portraits as well as photographs of the artist at work. His reductive, disciplined process is really fascinating.


Starting with this review, I'm adopting GoodReads rating system:
1- didn't like it
2- it was OK
3- liked it
4- really liked it
5- it was amazing

My past system was a bit compressed, the equivalent of putting GoodReads 2 through 5 between my 3 to 4.75. If I don't like something though, what does it really matter how much I disliked it? Since I'm not likely to finish or bother reviewing something I'd rate less than 3, I'm losing some of the nuance I could have without resorting to decimal points.

I'll probably still be reluctant to hand out fives, though I won't be as strict about it as I have been. (I'd reserved fives for my favorite books of all time.)

We'll see how it goes. I figure this will be consistent and pretty straightforward. I'm not going to redo my past ratings, but I expect you'll see more threes in the future.

A year ago on TTaT: The return of the owl

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  1. Numerical rating systems for art are kind of crazy when you think about it. Don't get me wrong, I love to dole out points and stars. But three could mean "really interesting but deeply flawed" or "not great but totally unoffensive."

  2. Totally. My old 3 was along the lines of your latter description: I didn't mind reading it.

    But as there are so many books out there I aim to read books I like and to avoid the meh. When I started out I meant to keep track of how likely I was to read something again but the scale has shifted over the years. There are lots of books I liked but once was really enough, you know?

    I haven't accounted well for the subjectivity of rating writing, that I freely admit. I find I have loads of 4s among wildly diverse books. E.g., can an art or photography book really be rated on the same scale as a novel or a nonfiction work? It's murky at best.

    The scale at its core conveys a sense of how much *I* liked a book. It's not meant to be much more than that.