I take notes while I read, little phrases that jump out at me. Then I use those notes to write reviews. I’ve come to the conclusion that the fewer notes I write, the better the book.
With some books, I’m setting it aside every few minutes to jot down a note about something or other that tripped me up or threw me out of the story. Simple enough since this naturally happens when the story isn’t holding my attention. Then there are times when I get to the end of a book and find I’ve written no notes at all, or perhaps just a very few and all within the first few pages of the story. These are the books that receive five stars.
The Graveyard Book had exactly three notes in its file. These were:
1- Excellent descriptions. Just the right amount of information to keep me engaged without breaking the flow.
2- A little strange to have the narrator address me directly, but only because so few books do that lately. It was done well and not overly distracting.
3- Some odd perspective shifts, and a few patches of confusing language that tripped me up.
That’s it. I read to the end of the book without ever stopping to write another note. This tells me the flow of the story, the pacing, the tension were all top notch. When I set the book down I was eager to pick it up again. When I got to the end I was satisfied but sad, the mix of emotions I’ve come to equate with a good story, and so I say to Mr. Gaiman, “Well done.”