Friday, September 26, 2014

Why I'm Changing the Way I Rate Books

I never paid too much attention to book ratings. I joined Goodreads a couple of years ago now, which was way before I began reviewing books. I didn't even notice their rating scale (like, dislike, etc.) back then, although it is obvious. Two stars clearly means you disliked a book.

The thing is, I barely gave two-star ratings. I didn't want to be mean. I write myself, and so I thought it was harsh and surely for even writing a book an author deserved a little credit. Writing is hard!

When I didn't like a book I would give it three stars and if I did write about it, my review would be sugar-coated. I would say it was good but . . . And it was difficult for me to express my dislike, because I worried too much about the author, or those readers who liked a book, and hurting their feelings.

Maybe I'm just done sugar-coating things. As a person, not just a reviewer, I've realized a bit of a change in myself lately when it comes to making things I don't like sound pretty and nice to avoid hurting feelings. I'm not saying I plan to be hurtful or cruel in my reviews or elsewhere, but I do plan to be more honest.

I want to clear up that I don't recall ever lying in a review. However, I do think we've all been to the place where we boost a rating because it's a lesser-known book and we think the author might see. Or because it's a popular book and we should have liked it.

Anyway, my main goal for this post is to explain my rating system now, as compared to before. Because three stars used to mean, I don't like this book. It also used to sometimes mean, this book is okay. I would like to be more clear than that from now on.

1 star - I can't stand the book. Most likely, some part was very offending or awfully written.
2 stars - I didn't like the book, but didn't hate it. It just wasn't for me.
3 stars - The book is okay, but I find it to be forgettable and pretty average.
4 stars - I really liked the book, but it had its flaws.
5 stars - This book was fantastic. It really touched me or has possibly become a new favorite. It's a book I know will stick with me for awhile.


  1. I had this problem for a long time too - pretty much with exactly everything you said! Recently, I've tried shaking it, but I know in my heart that some of my ratings still aren't as true to what I think - usually this is because a book is popular and I don't want to be the only one who didn't like it, or have friends who loved it be upset (which is kind of stupid). Like you, I have never lied in a review, so I'm at least happy with that!

    1. I actually think I'm more likely to give a low rating if the others are high - I guess it's because I feel bad when the ratings are already low or if there aren't a lot of them.

      Yay for not lying, at least! LOL

  2. I had a really hard time with rating books when I started blogging as well. Before I started my blog, I would just rate it whatever I felt like, but now I analyze it more. I struggle a lot with rating books that I really enjoyed reading, but had a lot of flaws. Sometimes I just enjoy books that don't have the best writing, character development, or has a lot of plot holes, but I don't want to rate it high just because it was a fun read in fear that other readers will not like it as much.

    1. I'm the same way, Sometimes a book isn't great, but it's a fun read. If that's what I was looking for in the moment I always tend to remember it as better than it was, even though I can see all the problems too.

  3. I nominated you for the Liebster award!

    1. Hey! Thanks so much for nominating me. I have actually been nominated before and already did my post, but thank you so much anyway. It still means a ton to be nominated :D