Saturday, 22 November 2014

How I Rate Books

For quite a while now I’ve seen loads of people talking about how they rate the books they read. And so I thought about doing my own post because it is true the way I rate books has changed and so I wanted to discuss it with you guys. The main thing that inspired me to do this post is Helene’s Jeppesen video about it.

I was watching it and thinking that it could be nice to write my own reasons for that change. First of all, I’ve realized over the past few weeks that if I go back to my “read” shelf on Goodreads, I would probably change some of my initial ratings (and I've actually changed some). Not all, of course, just a few. And the thing is that before, once I finished a book I instantly went to Goodreads to rate it. Sometimes I didn’t fully think about my thoughts regarding the book, as a whole. I just thought about how the end made me feel. What I’m trying to say, basically, is that occasionally my ratings didn’t reflect my exact feelings towards some books. What I’ve been doing lately is waiting to both rating and writing a review and giving me time to think about the entire book and what parts I liked and what others I disliked.

And this leads me to one of my points: the rating system. According to Goodreads, 1 star means you didn’t like the book; 2 stars means it was okay; 3 stars means you like it; 4 stars you really like it and 5 stars you absolutely love the book. My rating system is similar but a bit modified.

When I started using Goodreads I had problems using both the one and two stars rating. For me they were way too negative and I used to stay away from them LOL. Now, 1 star is for those I didn't finish or didn't like one bit and 2 stars for those who annoyed the hell out of me but some parts were good. The 3 stars are a bit ambiguous. Technically is the half-way point which means the book is good, you like it. It doesn’t mean the book is horrible but I have to admit I’ve used it a few times with books I didn’t like simply because I found the two stars too harsh. I no longer think like that, I use now 3 stars to rate books I quite like and enjoy but at the same time I had problems with them, regarding whatever (characters, plot holes, writing style…). I don’t think I have to explain both the 4 and 5 stars, right? But it’s true I’ve used the 5 star rating when I meant to rate books 4 stars. There isn’t really a rational explanation about why, I just did. So as right now 4 stars are for books I really enjoyed but had minor issues with; and 5 stars for those that were perfect for me, meaning that I had no problems with them regarding the writing style, the characters, the entire plot, the world-building, the end, etc. 

My other point of this discussion and probably the major problem I have is that a lot of people focus only on the stars given to a book and they don’t take a moment to actually understand the reason behind that rating. For me it’s more important to comprehend why the book was rated that way. For example, one of the last books I’ve read was, for me, really good but I ended up rating it 3.5 stars. Does that rating make it a bad book? Nope! I would recommend that book to a lot of people but I will be honest and say that there were things I had problems with.

So, yeah,  after this long and all over the place post, what I wanted to tell you all is that my way of rating books have slightly changed (and you can see it here) and that behind every rating, there is a reason why. That’s what matters, not the number.

How do you rate? And have your way of rating changed over time? I hope you all have a terrific weekend!

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