A friend recently asked me, "Do you review the accessibility of a book?" I asked what he meant. He said, "Sometimes I have wondered if, as a newbie or a vanilla, a book might be too intense, or hardcore, or even assume prior knowledge I won't be aware of. I just thought maybe you could incorporate those kinds of comments into your reviews."
I think it is a great idea. I never considered it before, being as desensitised to the subject matter as I sometimes feel I am. So, I have decided to add that element to my reviews, under the sub-header, "How accessible?", as well as adding a new tag, "Good for novices". However - and this is important to me - I would not want anyone to get the impression that a book that may be "good for novices" has nothing to teach those who may be more experienced. It is just not true. In fiction, a book which is good for novices may just mean it is more softcore than some of the more advanced stuff, and there's nothing wrong with preferring your porn softcore! In non-fiction, a book which is good for novices may simply mean it starts from the beginning, and builds on the basics. These books often also go on to contain some extraordinarily helpful and useful information for the more learned among us - but they also explain the basic premises, and teach you from the ground up. That's what I intend to mean by "good for novices".
I don't want anyone to take offence at my own personal views on the relative accessibility of particular works. I do ask for assistance in this area, from lovely helpful friends who are perhaps less accustomed to the language and subject matter. If my wording sometimes sounds slightly patronising, please know that I would never, ever mean it this way. But if you disagree about my views on a particular title, please do let me know. I always love to get feedback, and I never take criticism personally - I actually enjoy it!
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