Hey, I’m Josh.
About ten years ago, I began working on a degree in English Literature at what was then called Utah Valley State College (now it’s called Utah Valley University). I love books and reading, so it seemed to be the right degree for me. I also like writing and learned to mesh reading books with writing about books in order to learn some pretty cool things about life and the human experience.
As much as I love reading, I don’t like reading junk. I’m talking about sex, bad language, violence, blood and gore, and things of that nature. To me, those subjects detract from the overall story the author tells me as their reader. However, in certain cases, like histories dealing with war, or novels based on the history of the early American slave trade, difficult subject matter is expected. But the reader has the right to know what they are getting themselves into.
One day, I became so frustrated that I told my wife, “Ya know, I wish that there was some kind of book rating system in place so I would have an idea of what I was reading for my classes; not a 5-star rating system telling me if it’s good or not. But a rating system like the movie industry has.” She suggested that we search the internet for a website that provides that information, so she and I poked around the Web for about an hour one night and found absolutely nothing. Then the idea came: “We should come up with a rating system for people like us that want to know about what we are reading before we pick a book up.” Then reality set in. I was busy with school; she was busy working. Pretty soon, our kids came into the picture. Neither of us had the time to focus on what seemed at the time like a huge project. So we let it go for a while.
Then a few years ago, she started working on a degree in English Literature at UVU. She read a lot anyway, so the degree was a natural fit for her, too, like it was for me. The topic of a book rating system came up again, and again, neither of us had the time to do anything about it. Then, in November 2010, I thought to myself, “It is time to develop that rating system.” So I began researching the movie rating system developed by the Motion Picture Association of America (MMPA) and the Classification & Rating Administration (CARA), and the video game rating system developed by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). The two rating systems are very similar, in purpose as well as their methodology. So I determined that a book rating system comparable to the movie and video game rating systems already in place, and well- accepted by the general public, was needed.
I first composed the descriptions, and then moved on to design the rating labels. Yeah, they don’t look like they were designed by a professional graphic artist, but they are good enough to get the project to the point that a re-design is in order. That may be a while.
The rating process looks like this:
- I read a book
- I assign the title a rating based on the contents of the book
- I write a review of the title (called a Revelation), giving my opinion of the book generally
- I post the rating and review on the blog for all to see and use
This website is searchable using any number of terms based on keywords (tags) is use while writing the review. The best way to find a book or author is to use the “Search ABR by Title, Author, ISBN, or Keyword” field on the right side of the web page. I keep my readers up to date on the number of Revelations I have posted by updating the number under “Published Revelations” whenever a new revelation is posted.
If you would like to suggest titles to add to the Revelation database, use the Contact ABR page to submit your ideas. Use the same page to send me general comments about ABR as well. If you found a particular book review helpful or entertaining, leave a comment under the Revelation for that book.
I’m excited about this project! I want you to stay up to speed with me, so go ahead and sign up for e-mail updates using the field to the right.
Tell everyone you know about ABR! And thanks for reading!