In my personal opinion, books should be rated. Whether it be fiction, non-fiction or other random genres (though I think all books fall into either of these two categories — I may be wrong though), these should all come with a rating.
What sort of rating, you ask. Well, that little green circular thing with two letters and maybe a number inside the circle. Kind of like the movie ratings? Well yes, exactly what I mean.
Why are these needed?
Because books are EXACTLY like movies. The only difference is that they show you pictures through your mind and not your eyes. But still. What’s stopping authors from writing whole chunks of explicit scenes full of vulgarities? Nothing. So that’s exactly what they do. And how would a young innocent reader know what the book contained? Never judge a book by its cover, so the old adage goes.
So I don’t judge it. I read it. And halfway into the process the characters are cursing and using profanities that shock my innocence out of its system. And very explicit intercourse is taking place, and people are getting murdered left, right and centre. If this book were made into a movie, there would undoubtedly either be PG13, NC16 or R21 on its trailer, depending on how liberal the censorship board is. But as a book? No one would guess if it had these things.
My point? As a reader, I only want to read good, edifying material. I try to stay as far away from profanity as possible, and I hate reading books with an overemphasised romance with too much touchy-feely stuff. But how would I know whether a book is free of that if I don’t have some forewarning? I would actually have to set eyes on that bad word, which gives my conscience a jolt, and then use my finger to cover the reeking piece of so-called vocabulary. (Yes, I do that.)
But wouldn’t it be ultimately better if ALL books had circular ratings? Well they can be square or diamond for all I care, just as long as I know what’s going on in the pages. So far, the only book I’ve seen with any warning is — well, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. And seriously, I don’t want to go that far in my search for books until only books that bad get ratings. ALL books should be rated. Imagine a nine year old wanting to read The Hunger Games. Isn’t that a bit too violent for small kids, what with people getting stabbed everywhere? So I would rate that PG13. Only to be read by people 13 years or older, with parental approval.
Of course it’s not as if people will actually adhere to these guidelines. But it’s only a warning sign for sensitive people who would prefer to stay away from overly corrupting material. Those who want to flout the guidelines, sure, go ahead. But they would be extremely helpful in my quest to find pure material.
(In all my book reviews, I shall put my opinion on what the rating should be.)