Quantitative Analysis (Graphs!)

Someday, this will no doubt be a Ph.D. thesis of stunning quality and complete lack of interest to the world at large. At present, in its slimy larval form, it simply serves to visually present the breadth and depth of the site's reviewed material. On the Y axis, ladies and gentlemen, please find the entertainment value of each reviewed book. On the X axis, their literary value is displayed.

If you should browse to this page when the main chart is out of date, don't fret! The page is always in progress and will be updated soon with new data. You are more than welcome to press the refresh button over and over again should it please you to do so.

To view the chart in a way that makes it actually visible, right click on the image, select "Open link in new tab," and then click with the little + sign magnifying glass and use the scroll bars. Hi, Mom!!
The chart above simply records my scores, in two admittedly limited and amorphous dimensions, of the books I've reviewed so far. In the chart below, the points are colored to denote their star ratings, red through purple corresponding to 0 through 5.

Red: 0-0.99, Orange: 1-1.99, Yellow: 2-2.99, Green: 3-3.99, Blue: 4-4.99, Purple: 5

Clearly, there's a significant (although not completely consistent) correspondence between the star ratings and the two-dimensional scores.

In the chart below, each zone of color completely encompasses all of the star ratings that correspond. For example, there are no books rated below one star whose data points fall outside the pink zone. However, the zones overlap significantly, and there are also some interesting outliers that required zone extension.


It's also clear from this zoned chart that I've given more weight, consciously or not, to what I consider literary quality. Entertainment value, while a large contributor to the overall star ratings I've given, hasn't been nearly as important. It's also obvious that without high values in both categories, a book isn't going to reach a 5 star rating; similarly, a book has to have at least some of each quality in order to claw its way out of the zone of horrid pink where fiction goes to die.

This latter observation is illustrated by Fifty Shades of Grey, which earned a few extra points for entertainment due to the protagonist's inexplicable dirty man-feet fetish, and The Deed of Paksenarrion, which drew competently on a several relatively learned historical sources while still managing to make orc gang-rape as exciting as a glass of lukewarm Pepsi. They anchor the two almost perfectly symmetrical ends of the pink zone. Note that The Second Wives Club, a pretty crappy book in its own right, managed to scrape a 2 rating and the corresponding yellow point, and it's actually scored four points lower than Paksenarrion on the literary quality axis. Meanwhile, with only a one-point entertainment value lead and a bonus of nine measly literary quality points, the dreadful One Fifth Avenue also made yellow, with a star rating of 2 to Fifty Shades's abysmal 0.

The last inarguable conclusion to be drawn from this series of charts is that two dimensions aren't really enough to adequately examine and compare these works -- or any works -- in a way that could get at a true quantification of their (supposedly) subjective worth. Keep a jaundiced eye out for more, and more complicated, charts to come. Polar coordinates ahoy!

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