This serves to answer some questions and issues that I’m sure
none a lot of you have wondered about during the Site’s first month.
First and foremost is the whole concept of star ratings. Roger Ebert has called them the “bane of [his] existence” due to their simultaneous relativity and absolutism (his words, not mine… sort of). Here at emptybookshelf.com we consider star ratings incredibly absolute with no relavity. Any item/object/concept given two stars is inherently worse than any other item/object/concept receiving any higher number of stars. The catch is that items are relative to each other. We may review things that you don’t care about, so even though our goal is to tell you what to think, the review of, let’s say, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, may not affect you one bit because your own, subconscious relative ranking of grilled cheese is way at the bottom, below where our favorable review can affect you. Naturally, in not liking grilled cheese, you are fundamentally wrong, and we demand you utilize the commenting system so we may castigate you openly, but we do realize that we just can’t get through to some people about some topics some times.
Second Issue, also star-related: Everything on emptybookshelf.com is on a 5 star index. Due to the above-mentioned absolutism of the star rankings, this is a necessity. The reason for this clarification stems from the fact that certain types of reviews have been media-standardized to a certain index. For example, movie and hotel reviews are usually 4 star index, restaurants (in the Michelin guide, at least) go up to 3, automobile crash-worthiness tests go up to 5 and so on. When comparing an emptybookshelf review to one of its competitors, keep in mind the index of the competitor’s star rating. My two-and-a-half star review of the Cleveland ChopHouse & Brewery seems phenomenal if one forgets that we’re using the 5 star index, not the usual 3 of restaurant-centered opinionary publications
Keep in mind that some opinionary bodies list the subjects of their reviews as either “recommended” or “not-recommended” (graphically, *’d or not *’d) This is a copout, and consider this the calling out of any such opinionary body. We here at emptybookshelf.com may use the phrase “recommended” (or not ~), but that will serve only to emphasize the star rating, not embellish or enhance it.
A fair number of the upcoming reviews will most likely be media-related, as we do our writing in rather seat-of-the-pants fashion, and thinking of good, non-traditional subjects can be as much work as writing the review itself. There’s plenty of media out there, and it can usually elicit a thorough opinion in a short amount of time. That isn’t to say there won’t be a fair amount of “out there” reviews, so long as the Junior Staff stays focused.