Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Classics and Readability Levels.

reading level

I am ashamed.

Of course I didn’t compare myself to other blogs, and of course I wouldn’t be so competitive as to put in Bernita Harris’s great blog and discover her readability level is High School. ;-) (If you haven’t been to her blog, please check it out. It’s the first one I read every morning.)

Magical Musings (Junior High School), another wonderful blog about writing and inspiration peppered with reviews and interviews, is featuring a guest blog on critique groups and critiquing from Erica Orloff (Elementary School) today, whose blog is my very favorite when it comes to craft.

(Guess I shouldn’t be so depressed about my Elementary School rating, as most of my favorite blogs are rated at that level.)

Since I brought up Readability Levels, I’d be remiss not to mention to all you freelancers out there OleanderSolutions, whose Readability Studio 2007 not only lists the readability statistics for umteen different readability tests, but actually explains why and highlights the difficult words and sentences. And not just for freelancers--YA and children’s authors might find it helpful, too.

And this week I finished Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, who is not nearly as talented as her sister, Charlotte Bronte, whose Jane Eyre I’ve just started. And I’ve been reading bits and pieces of Dickens, trying to figure out which book I will choose to enjoy and study.

What’s curious to me is that these books were not only shelved in the children’s section of my library--not the young adult section or the junior section, but the children’s section--but I read them as a child. We all did.

Now it’s like I’m learning to read all over again. How is it that I understood these books so well as a child? How is it that I read the plethora of words without batting an eyelash? How is it that I could bear their slower pace, their long paragraphs, their even longer sentences? And the semicolons! I love the semicolon, but we’re talking hundreds on a page!!!

I’ve grown dumber.

I have a feeling I’m going to not write for another week. I want to read A Widow for One Year one more time. I want to finish Jane Eyre and read a Dickens. And then I want to read Jane Eyre again, and I’m dying to see if Wuthering Heights is still my friend..

This thirst for these books is startling and strange to me, but it’s like something in the universe is telling me it’s vitally important for me to read them. I’ve never been one to feel like the universe guides me, but in this case, something in me is really quite insistent that I must read these books, that there is something really important I’m supposed to learn from them.

Or maybe I just miss something in my childhood. Maybe climbing a tree and spending hours reading? Or huddling up to the register, with a blanket draped around me, so the hot air from the register filled the blanket like a balloon while I read for hours? Or maybe it’s just another manifestation of the ticking clock.

Or maybe I’m just curious to see the novel in its old form. The novel today is almost an entirely different form, in comparison.

And I can see why there are writers who don’t write. The part of imagining and making up a story before you actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is FUN!

What are you reading right now? What was/were your favorite book/s from childhood?

7 bonus scribbles:

Edie 12/01/2007 02:47:00 PM  

Spy, you haven't grown dumber, you've grown to be a bestseller! Writer James V. Smith did an analysis of NYTimes' bestseller across the genres, and most bestsellers have a Flesch-Kincaid grade level of 4-6.

Now I'm wondering which of Magical's blog you put in the get the Jr. high rating. I doubt it was mine, lol. And thanks for mentioning Erica's blog!

I'm reading MISTRESS OF THE ART OF DEATH by Ariana Franklin. I loved Jane Eyre when I was in high school. Have fun reading.

spyscribbler 12/01/2007 11:14:00 PM  

LOL, Edie! That's refreshing! As far as Magical's rating, I entered magicalmusings.com, so it used all the posts on that page, I believe. Maybe it scoured the blog? But I know you were in their somewhere!

I haven't heard of that book. What a fascinating title! What's it about? LOL ... lazy me. I'll go look it up. Great title!

Bernita 12/02/2007 08:46:00 AM  

Well, that test screws my readability rating.
Maybe I should avoid making fun with those superior words from Peter Bower's book.

spyscribbler 12/02/2007 09:16:00 AM  

I wouldn't have you change one single little bit of your blog, Bernita!

Angie 12/03/2007 04:23:00 AM  

I put in my blogspot blog and my LJ journal and both came out at high school level. But then, I've always been wordy and I use a lot of semicolons. I like a variety of sentence structures, in my fiction as well as my general blathering; I think it helps keep the reader awake, as well as being more likely to get your point across than just a series of short SVO sentences. I've heard it argued that it's better to make things simplesimplesimple!! to be crystal clear to the most readers, but I want my readers to meet me halfway. If that's a fault then I'll have to cop to it. :)

Angie

Poppak 12/05/2007 08:16:00 PM  

Okay. I'm flattered that this tool says my blog is College Undergrad level. And while hopefully I have some fascinating info, I also have articles about beer, Rugby and basketball.

But they are VERY interesting Rugby articles! Aha!