Hearts attack

My friend Lale Eskioglu runs a rapidly growing site that I've mentioned here before, Read Literature, where she invites readers to contribute reviews and to suggest new titles. (Go ahead! Try it.) And there she has included several of my brief comments about books. (I'm delighted. Crankiness always seeks an audience.) Problem: She wants me to rate Saul Bellow, Seize the Day, Don DeLillo, Libra and Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage with up to 5 "hearts." (Why not pens?) She proposes 2 for "Day," 4 for "Libra" and 2 for "Badge." But my opinions on these things are complex, unstable and always open to debate. And what does a single, over-all heart-rating mean, anyway? Crane would get top rating for visual detail, DeLillo for witty, biting dialogue, Bellow for introspective noodling, and so on. I like Francis Coppola's system for rating screenplays and stories (he uses it on the Zoetrope Virtual Studio): separate ratings for character, dialogue, writing flow, etc.

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