Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What My Star Ratings Really Mean

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about giving books star ratings and how this works on Goodreads. I know a lot of reviewers really dislike the star system and so choose to just not rate books at all. While I do think that rating books can be a little problematic, I personally like doing it because it gives people a really quick overview of what I thought of the book. For instance, I categorize my book reviews by star rating so that people can quickly see what I like and what I’m not such a fan of.

But ratings can mean different things to different people. On Goodreads, giving something three stars means that you liked it. For me, three stars normally means it was so-so, while books that I like get four stars. So, just so that you people know, I’m going to clarify what each of my ratings means.

1 Star- Disliked; Stay Far Away!
These are books I extremely disliked. Normally I only rate a book one star when I disliked it so much that I actually stopped reading (this has only happened to one book so far.) Normally this means both that the book is boring me and that it has a lot of content that I’m not comfortable with.

2 Stars: Not Worth the Time
These are books that I just really didn’t care for. For instance, Twilight would go in this category. They’re poorly writen, somewhat boring, and just really didn’t resonate with me at all. I will definitely not be buying these books, re-reading them, reading the sequels, or recommending these to anyone.

3 Stars: Not Bad, Give it a Try
These are books that I’m on the fence about. They had some good elements but also a lot of flaws. I probably wouldn’t read any sequels, or more from the same author, but I might recommend them to a friend who likes the genre. Still, I definitely wouldn’t buy these or re-read them.

4 Stars: Pretty Good, I Enjoyed It
A lot of books tend to fall into this category. These are mainly books that I was excited about reading and had heard a lot of good things about, but then just fell a bit short for me. Maybe some of the characters felt flat, or the writing was just okay, or it dragged, or there was a lot of questionable content. Whatever the reason was, these books were good but not absolutely phenomenal. I’ll read the sequels, try to win the books or get them as presents, and recommend them to book-loving friends, but I won’t re-read them over and over.

5 Stars: Highly Recommended
I loved these books! These books are nearly perfect; they might have some minor flaws, but overall everything is great. I’ll definitely be re-reading these books, talking about them to all my friends, and any sequel will automatically be shoved to the top of my TBR pile.

I hope that clarifies any questions you might have about my ratings. Now, over to you. If you run a book blog, or rate stories on Goodreads and Amazon, what criteria do you use for each star? 

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