Saturday, August 3, 2013

What Do You Think? Rating Books

I recently came upon a discussion by Megan @ Love, Literature, Art & Reason that got me thinking about my star rating system. Basically, Megan uses a star rating system based on the Goodreads rating system and wondered if other readers interpret her ratings the way she means them to be interpreted. I think that is a really good question and one we all need to think about when we rate a book.

Here is my reply to her question....
  • Great discussion. I also use Goodreads as a guidline, but also use half stars. To me, a 1 is a dislike and I shouldn't have wasted my time with it. A 5 means is is among the best books I've ever read and I will be thinking about it for a long time.
  • In between is a 2, which means is was just barely ok, but probably had a lot of flaws that kept me from really liking it. But also not a total waste.
  • A 3 to me is a pretty 'average' book. I liked it fine and don't regret reading it, but it is not a book that impacts me or I will be thinking about, and possible not even remember, a month from now.
  • A 4 means I really liked it, I'm glad I read it and will recommend it to others, but it falls short of being one of my best books ever.
  • I also do half stars, usually for books that fall just short of the next star. For example, I often give 3-1/2 stars to books that I think are a bit above average; I enjoyed them but would not recommend bumping other books of your pile to get to this one. Does that make sense?           
I have noticed that I often change my rating as time passes. For example, I may initially give a book a 3, but after discussing it at bookclub, or writing the actual review, I realize that there was more substance to it, more to think about,  than I initially gave it credit for.  And after time passes and I think back to it, it is a more memorable book than I realized. I may raise it a half star or more.

One thing this discussion has made me realize is that I need to think about my ratings system and really spell it out, both for you, the reader of my blog, and for me. I need to be a bit more consistent when I rate a book so that when I give a rating it always means the same thing. And I need to make that easy to refer to, as in, I need to have it visible on this blog.

So look for it. I want to spend a little time thinking about it and defining my terms, but I hope soon to revisit this, and to have a well defined rating system in place soon!

What do you think? What is your system for rating books?


  1. I use the five stars system too. Do people give more than that? I don't do 1/2, though :-)
    My 1-5 are just like yours but... when I read a book that makes me feel like "I want my money back" I gave it one star because I cannot give negative stars! Oh, but how I wish that was possible.

    1. Oh...I understand completely. I've been tempted to give a 'no star' more than once!