Brooke Shaffer

Author, Ski Patroller, and Pasta-Eater Extraordinaire

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Safebooks rating?

So, a long time ago, a few friends and I worked on this website called Safebooks.  The idea was to have a reference site for every book ever, giving a rating on the book's language, violence, and sexual content.  Unfortunately, with only four of us, it was hard to get through every book ever.  Plus it was unpaid and life happened and, as you may have guessed, the site kind of died.

However, I still appreciate the idea.  Personally, I generally don't have a problem with language, graphic violence in a novel can't scare me, and I find narrated sexual content to be more amusing than anything.  But I know some people flip out at the smallest thing.  In order to help people avoid books they might find objectionable, I figured to save them the time and surprise and just tell them that no, your church book group probably won't be reading this any time soon.  It's how it goes.

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How is a Safebooks rating calculated?

It's subjective, but I try to be fair about it.  Christian curse words (gosh, darn, shoot, etc.) do not register at all except frequency, and even then, it takes a lot to make even a blip.  This is your green section.  What I consider to be "moderate" cursing (damn, sh*t, *ss, etc.) can still fall in the safe zone if they occur once or twice.  Whatever.  Regular usage will push it to yellow.  "High" cursing (f*ck) is almost always an automatic yellow, with frequency pushing it higher.  "Much higher" cursing (GD, JC) is an automatic red, and I can tell you that I don't use them.  If those are your only concerns, rest easy.

Violence can vary.  Is a kid pulling a girl's pigtails violence?  Maybe.  Not much of it.  Someone being ripped in half and explaining the whole thing in gory detail?  That's a different story.  Green zone violence is typically going to be "blackout" violence, referred violence, those sorts of things.  Yellow zone might be fact-only action with no expounding (though that could be green, too), or any violence with no excessive detail.  Red zone violence is going to be prolonged violence, graphic detail, that sort of thing.

Sexual content is fairly straightforward, but there is a little variance.  One person saying another person is cute or hot or what-have-you is not even going to register.  Get over it.  Green zone sexual content is your PDA stuff, holding hands, kissing, not-too-weird touching.  And some of these things might not even make it on the radar.  Yellow zone might include brief fantasies or daydreams, weird touching, detailed but not explicit conversations, and implied sexual activity with no detail.  Nudity may or may not be yellow depending on context (a gag versus an advance).  Red zone sexual content is going to be any sexual activity with any detail, even daydreams.  Even if the acts are not written out play by play, foreplay and assorted activities are red.  Other red zone contenders are going to be anything outside traditional encounters, which includes homosexuality, bestiality, necrophilia, inter-species, and so on. (And as a side note, nothing is written out play by play.  Don't go looking for it because you won't find it.)

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You think your book playlists might be a little oversaturated with Demon Hunter?

Oh, absolutely not. There is a Demon Hunter song for every occasion and every mood. Angry? Got songs for that. Happy? Got one for that, too. Funeral? Plenty to choose from. Wedding? Sure, got you covered. I always make sure every playlist has at least one DH song. I try to keep it to a maximum of four, though, just to give a chance for different artists to have a chance.

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