I’ve decided to implement a grading system for the fiction I review at Tony’s Book World. I’ve always admired the letter grading system that M. A. Orthofer uses at the Complete Review, so I am implementing a similar system here without the same aura of authority. This is a system for people who think there is a huge difference between an A- and a B+.
I have gone back and assigned grades to all the fiction I have read since my last yearly Top 10 list which was published on about December 10 and is when my old literary year ends and the new one begins. The grade appears near the top of the review. I did feel rather silly grading William Shakespeare. Giving ‘Portrait of a Lady’ only an A- made me feel as pompous as Henry James must have actually been.
On the positive side, ‘How to be Both’ by Ali Smith and ‘Honeydew’ by Edith Perlman received A ratings and ‘There Must Be Some Mistake’ by Frederick Barthelme received an A-, the only recently published books to rate that high. There are no A+ ratings yet, and I will try to avoid them for as long as possible.