Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Rating System for Books

I can understand why some people would think that having a rating system for books, something similar to what is done for movies, would be a good idea. I can understand it; but I can't agree with the premise. I'm perfectly happy with the general categorizations commonly used in libraries and bookstores now: Adult, Young Adult and Children. In fact, the books for children are often further broken down into what is appropriate for general age groups within that classification.

Toya Bryant, over at American Chronicle
doesn't believe that is enough, however, and yearns for a true rating system even for the adult books:
I recently went to my local library and checked out a book that was written by a well-known author. It had a catchy title, the cover art was fascinating, and the storyline was one I thought would hold my attention. Unfortunately though, when I took the book home and began to read it I realized that it used odious lingo that I personally find distasteful. But because there is no rating system in place I was made to make a blind selection.

Modern day literature has gradually begun to reflect the licentiousness of society today. The inclusion of vulgar speech, sexual acts, extreme violence and even drug use have become the new normal for many literary works. That further necessitates a rating system that allows us to make an educated decision on what we opt to read.
I think the big difference between DVDs or movies watched in theaters and books is the ease with which a book can be closed for good if a single word or paragraph drives you to do so. It's not that easy to stop a DVD before exposing children to its content or to walk out of a movie that offends you.

We suffer enough from the Nanny States of America already, so please don't waste time and money slapping "Rs" and "PG-13s" all over books because more bureaucracy is exactly what we don't need today.
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