Some people are set up from childhood for total orderings: "Gina is my first best friend and Tina is my second best friend, so you're only my third best friend." I am not that person. I never was that person. I have the kind of life where I don't have to be that person. This is not accidental.
However, sometimes total orderings are demanded, and Hugo Award voting is one of those situations. So I'm thinking about which books are better than which other books. So far I've read three of the five novel nominees. I'm working on the fourth, and I read the first book in the series for which the fifth is second this weekend (got that, or do I need to add more numbers?). So far, the ranking is clear.
However. The book in my current third position was...drab. Mediocre, bland, blah. And I suspect that at least one of the two remaining books will have both higher and lower spots than the current #3.
So what would you do? Would you rather have a book that never ticks you off royally, never makes you want to scream, never seems to just be stupid -- but also never really excites you in a good way, either? Or rather: in what ways are lower-lows so off-putting as to balance out higher-highs for you? If the characters are gorgeously drawn but the plot, when poked, makes no sense? If one of the characters, with apparent authorial approval, spouts some bigoted or otherwise ill-informed notions (and at what length)? If the ending is tacked on and awkward and unsatisfying? Where does mediocrity pass up failed attempts at something better?
(Also, did you know it's my birthday a week from today? Birthday birthday birthday!)
(I do not play the game where I test my friends and family to see if they remember. If I wanted to play Memory, I'd get some cards and have Miss Siri play with me, since she's about the right age. What I want to do is celebrate my birthday. It's much more fun this way.)