One thing I rarely talk about on this blog is my rating system. It’s used in almost every post and I thought it might be time to shed a little more light on it. I think it’s important to remember that I’m rating the book on my personal experience with it. This doesn’t mean I’m telling you it has no literary merit or that a “fluff” book should be the new Pulitzer Prize winner. I’m simply quantifying my experience with the book for future reference.
Because of this, my reading experience might have been affected by my mood, or how busy I was at work, etc. I try not to let that shift the rating too much, but really it’s unavoidable. Plus, I’m reviewing the books for myself more than anyone else, so that’s who I’m rating them for too.
Here’s the rundown of my rating scale: ★ = one star ☆ = 1/2 star
★★★★★: A new favorite, a must-read
★★★★: Liked it a lot, but won't reread
★★★: Nothing special, but OK
★★: Not my cup of tea
★: Waste of time
I’ve notice that over the past few years I end up with a ton of 4 star books. I’ve learned my own taste as a reader and I read fewer books that I will probably hate. As I narrow the scope of what I pick up I tend to have higher rated books. I used to read quite a few books I ended up hating because I just wasn’t sure what I like (12 Nicholas Sparks books later I figured out I wasn’t a fan of formulaic romances.)
The reason there aren’t an increasingly growing number of 5 star books is because I rarely ever give a book 5 stars. I have to not only love the book, I have to know for a fact that I want to reread it. When I finished I Capture the Castle I knew I would read it again. The same was true for The Book Thief and The Night Circus. My 5 star rating is reserved for those few books that make me fall in love with them. For example, I really enjoyed This is Where I Leave You, but I probably won’t ever read it again. So it got a 4 star rating, not a 5.
I’ve thought about getting rid of ratings all together since it’s such an arbitrary thing, but it’s the first thing I look at in other people’s reviews. It also is a good reminder to me of my original reaction to the book. That can change with time, but the rating still stands in my head as my initial honest reaction.
How about you guys, do you rate your reads?
Image from here.