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What's the chewiest book in your library? AKA Fun with Lexiles.

The Green Dragon

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Edited: Apr 5, 2011, 12:43pm Top

Oh, we have lexiles now! You can see your's here: http://www.librarything.com/memberlexile/MEMBERNAME and learn more about WTF they are, here: http://www.librarything.com/blogs/librarything/2011/04/lexile-measures-in-librar... I've gone so far as to add a column so I can play some more with the feature.

I know, it's really meaningless in the big picture, but it's fun. It is also weird to see some books ranked so much higher than others. My highest is The Bhagavad Gita with a 1770. (And yet The Upanishads only manage a measly 1170. Go figure.)

Anyway, which book do the numbers claim is your 'most difficult?'

(Edited because the links were smooshed together, in a very unattractive and inappropriate manner.)

Apr 5, 2011, 12:50pm Top

Don Quixote and Willa Cather In Person, both at 1480. However, there are probably some that would be higher, but I have only about a fifth of my books cataloged at this point. Hopefully, I'll have the internet at home soon, and can get going on the rest of them.

Edited: Apr 5, 2011, 12:51pm Top

LT says it is Buckminster Fuller's Universe: His Life and Work at 1720L. Appropriate given my username, I suppose.

Of course, only 104 of 940 of my books have Lexile Measures as yet.

Edited: Apr 5, 2011, 1:31pm Top

Less than a third of mine have them. It's really just a guideline of sorts. Fun to play with, but you don't have to take it too seriously. (Unless you're a teacher or a librarian, of course!)

Apr 5, 2011, 1:33pm Top

It seems as though the majority of mine don't have them, but I don't think I'm too concerned with the little beggars, since I'd never heard of them until this morning. *giggles* I just want to get all my books entered, to see how many I really have.

Apr 5, 2011, 1:35pm Top

Here's mine, having to do with Victorian England: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?lexile=1520L&view=jillmwo&shelf=.... But it's only in the 1520L range...

Apr 5, 2011, 1:45pm Top

LT says mine is Homes in Alberta : building, trends, and design, 1870-1967 at 1610L.

However, as far as I can tell, only a small proportion of my collection has lexiles assigned, so it's possible there are meatier things there.

Edited: Apr 5, 2011, 1:48pm Top

Beyond meaningless and into utterly ridiculous. It rates Victory of Eagles as easier than The Midwife's Apprentice (supposedly the most difficult book in my library; not likely!).

Apr 5, 2011, 1:48pm Top

Ah, well it turns out the numbers are assigned by one company, and you have to pay a fee to get each work assessed, so I wouldn't take them very seriously.

Here's a link to a discussion thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/113549

Apr 5, 2011, 1:53pm Top

I'm with clam - my highest is the Bhagavad Gita at 1770. I'm afraid to say that's completely meaningless to me :x

Edited: Apr 5, 2011, 2:00pm Top

My top-rated book (at 1840L) is Rene Descartes - Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciences. I enjoyed it very much, especially the way he could write a single sentence that went on for 4 (eBook) pages. I've given up in my attempt to diagram that particular sentence. There are several others that go on for 2 or 3 full pages.

There are 2 other books rated higher than the next one that I read - Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love, (1530L), by Dava Sobel.

Apr 5, 2011, 1:58pm Top

Of my currently listed (142) books that have those ratings (24), the Don Quixote seems to rate the highest at 1480L, then the Silmarillion and the Vicomte de Bragelonne at 1150L.

Some of the Dune series books rate lowest at 780L, closely followed by a 790L Neuromancer, while the MetaMetrics websites quotes Harry Potter 1 as an example that would rate 880L.

Curious to know where/what those scores are pulled from.
Vocabulary, with total disregard for anything else ?
Guess that may put HP somewhat higher with the faux-fancified magic system & associated arcane vocabulary, but I've seen 11-12 year old enjoy HP, while it usually takes them being a bit older to dig adult SF & Cyberpunk.

Apr 5, 2011, 2:05pm Top

#12 - Apparently they're pulled right from the *chose an orifice*-es of the good folks that invented lexiles to begin with. That company even charges publishers a fee for books to be given a number. Wish I could go back in time and invest in MetaMetrics!!!

Edited: Apr 5, 2011, 2:06pm Top

I was amused to see Green Eggs and Ham down at the bottom of my list at 30L. That right there is a good book.

Edited: Apr 5, 2011, 2:24pm Top

None of my chewy books even have a lexile rating, so... ;-)
The only one reminiscent of chewy is Il Principe (1510L). Which is not so much chewy as fun ;-)

ETA - less than 10% of my books have a lexile rating.

Apr 5, 2011, 2:16pm Top

Not quite 20% of my books have lexiles attached to them (including blank and "NP"), but so far the highest I have is Carol F. Karlsen's The Devil in the Shape of a Woman at 1570. I haven't gotten to my next-highest yet (Rob Roy at 1560), but I read the third-highest (Galileo's Daughter at 1530) ten years ago.

Apr 5, 2011, 2:47pm Top

Few of my books (didn't pay attention, but I'd guess 10% or less) have lexiles. Like Clam and others, my chewiest is Bhagavad Gita at 1770, followed by Il Decamerone at 1550.

Apr 5, 2011, 3:35pm Top

Very strange, I can't parse what this is supposed to be based on. Most of the higher ones in my LT library are translated works, eg. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Not really very "chewy" if you ask me.

Apr 5, 2011, 3:38pm Top

my highest is The Lantern Bearers. How weird is that?

Edited: Apr 5, 2011, 3:54pm Top

My highs and lows match others. Bhagavad Gita at 1770, followed by Galileo's Daughter, and at the bottom good old Green Eggs and Ham, which I read out loud to my first grade class when I was a wee lad.

Trying to fix the touchstones

Apr 5, 2011, 4:14pm Top

Only about 1/3 of my books have Lexiles. They range from They Cage the Animals at Night with 450 to The Art of War at 1550. I don't understand why more don't have the measures. They are not rare books or anything. Strange.

Apr 5, 2011, 4:18pm Top

Re-checked mine -- only 3% (114 of 3450 about) have lexiles. The lowest in my collection is a Calvin & Hobbes, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat at 580, followed by two Discworlds (The Fifth Elephant and Maskerade) at 680.

Apr 5, 2011, 4:56pm Top

My lowest are all Calvin and Hobbes - 6 books, ranging from 360 to 420. Just above that is a picture book for kids about dinosaurs, at 490, and then two more Calvin and Hobbes at 500.

My lowest non-picturebook not-for-kids book is Ysabel, at 590. The 600's is all Discworld, plus The Illustrated Man.

Apr 5, 2011, 6:40pm Top

I have 165 out of 2855 books with lexiles. The lowest is Sphere by Michael Crichton at 610 and the highest is The origin of Species by Charles Darwin. I don't quite understand how this works obviously.

Apr 5, 2011, 8:26pm Top

My highest is a textbook: Modern Chinese: History and Sociolinguistics by Ping Chen at 1590L. The lowest is Skellig at 490.

Edited: Apr 5, 2011, 9:09pm Top

Seriously. The last book in the Series of Unfortunate Events, The End by Lemony Snicket or his other real name. I can't find the right book. I'm pretty sure I've read some way harder to read books than that in my life. I can name 20 right off the bat.

ETA: It's at NC1370L. I don't know what NC means.

ETA2: my lowest are two Wayside School books by Louis Sachar at 440.

Apr 5, 2011, 9:34pm Top

Apparently the meatiest work in my library, according to their rating, is Smoky the Cowhorse. I'm all for cowboy wisdom and philosophy, so, maybe that's what they mean? :)

Apr 5, 2011, 11:18pm Top

Ok, these lexile ratings are a bit hard to believe.

Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband is a light read, granted, but surely not on the same reading level as Flat Stanley or Mercer Meyer's preschool book Just for You!

The Bhagavad Gita was also my highest, but I found it easier to read and understand than Descartes or other works of philosophy in my library, which are lower ranked. Of course, I read it in translation, and not in the original Sanskrit...

Apr 6, 2011, 1:11am Top

My meatiest read was Rob Roy at around 1650 or so, I forgot now. I haven't read that one, so I can't really make a judgment on that yet.

Apr 6, 2011, 1:13am Top

My highest rated is Fanny Hill at 1610. Lots don't have ratings, though. I'm thinking a book on helicopter aerodynamics or some of my geology books are a bit meatier than that! And what does NP mean? That category has books ranging from Now We Are Six to MacBeth. Surely those aren't the same reading level!

Apr 6, 2011, 3:35am Top

Yeah, I too have MacBeth in the NP (naturally), and I think it means something like "not yet assigned a number, but in the queue for one"?

Edited: Apr 6, 2011, 7:05am Top

Yeah, for everything but the elementary school level books it certainly appears to be a crap shoot. I noticed The Good Earth was a 1530, but another book by the same author called Imperial Woman picked up a measly 1140.

Edited for touchstone. *grrr*

Apr 6, 2011, 8:13am Top

Can't help wondering if the Fog Index wouldn't have been a better bet, with all due respect to Tim. At least you can calculate that yourself, and it might just mean something.

Apr 6, 2011, 8:26am Top

Mine is The romance of the forest by Ann Radcliffe, at 1790. Only 175 of my 4500 or so books have ratings - strange, as the majority of my books are kid lit.

Edited: Apr 6, 2011, 8:43am Top

#33 - I think Tim knew the average LT used wouldn't be using the lexiles, except for a bit of fun, like we're doing. A lot of libraries use the LT data now, so when it comes to finding a readable book for a certain child the numbers can come in handy.

To quote the blog, "Our ease of use and advanced features have led a number of small schools to use us as their primary catalog, along with numerous classroom libraries and other collections. Many have, however, asked us to add something provided by other school-library systems, like Follett and Alexandria, namely Lexile® measures."

So, we're just along for the ride on this one. I'll probably play with the extra data for a few days and then forget about it, but I can see how it could be very useful to a school librarian.

Apr 6, 2011, 11:18am Top

Its even less useful than it was as Tim's imposed a strict ISBN requirement. I'm down to only having a dozen or so 'graded' books. No Loss. I've got 50 Other Authors to convert instead.

Apr 6, 2011, 4:51pm Top

Yeah, I'll be removing that column I added sooner than I expected.

Apr 6, 2011, 5:21pm Top

Ok, I'm not entirely sure what the whole lexile thing is about, but I assume it's some kind of "grade" for the reading level of a book? In which case I really should start adding some weighty non-fiction books to my library as my current highest is 950L and it's for Neverending Story... a kid's book. Haha.

Apr 6, 2011, 5:29pm Top

My Chewiest book:

Apr 6, 2011, 6:52pm Top

Lulz, down to only one book left with a rating after the "identical ISBN" kicked in.

It is... *drumrolls* The lies of Locke Lamora at 940L

Apr 6, 2011, 7:06pm Top

I still have a bunch, but my new high is a measly 1380 with A House Divided by Pearl S. Buck.

Apr 6, 2011, 7:18pm Top

1440 for Bloomsbury at Home. Weird.

Edited: Apr 8, 2011, 11:03am Top

Curious: I have the Bhagavad Gita, but it doesn't have a rating (ETA: probably because it's a 1963 edition with no ISBN?). My two highest are David Vincent's The Culture of Secrecy at 1750L and J. N. L. Myres's The English Settlements at 1710L. The bottom one is Hop on Pop, which rates as BR (i.e. 0L or below).

Apr 8, 2011, 11:04am Top

#43 - Yes, LT has since removed the lexiles from titles and added them only to specific editions of those titles. So, only one published version of that work has that rating now. Not as much fun to play with anymore, is it? :o/

Apr 8, 2011, 11:24am Top

>Mrs. Lee, After reading yours, I decided to check...
3rd highest? You guessed it, Smokey the Cow horse. 2nd highest is another horse story, The Pinto Horse written in 1927 by a railroad tycoon and horse breeder based on stories he told to his children. It's a beautiful book with wonderful illustrations. However, I sure can't see why it receives such a high score.

Apr 8, 2011, 11:44am Top

More complicated vocabulary and sentence structure?

Apr 8, 2011, 1:18pm Top

MerryMary, I picked some passages to read at random, and while I would agree that the vocabulary is perhaps at a level above the sixth grade in places, it is not that difficult. There are long, run-on sentences, but no, in general I think any interested younger reader would find it interesting and accessible.

Apr 8, 2011, 2:15pm Top

Maybe there's a function in the rating system for enjoyment. I should hope so.

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