When I pick up a book, I make a rapid calculation: Is it worth my time? or more to the point, OUR time?
Every page turned is something else undone. A ball unthrown. The book-not-yet-read is a high-risk investment. You can gain more than you imagined; or you can lose all that ball-throwing time. Unlike money, you can’t get it back — ever. Of course, that is why book reviews exist. A review is like a financial advisor. In theory, this lowers the risk — if you overlook 2008 etc.
So Lyra has decided to judge every book I read — from her point of view. Or rather, I will write the (short) review, but she gets to decide if it was worth the time I spent away from training, ball play, hiking, etc. I also have to add one line at the end of the review that connects the book — no matter what the genre — to dogs. Her rating system is as follows:
= Utter waste of time
= Reader got some enjoyment. Her good mood resulted in extra play time. Still, not enough, really.
= Book offers a new idea or slant of light that reader values.
= Book will change reader’s life in such a way that dog benefits.
I think her scheme a bit utilitarian — and don’t always agree with her rating — but Lyra says that’s because I’m mired in romantic ideas of literature.