Saturday, September 26, 2015

Why Do I Rate Books the Way I Do?

From Miss Dashwood's blog via a Google Search for your brain is boring
The other day I was explaining to my mom how I remembered the turn signals/placement of car pedals: The left turn signal is down because you slow DOWN and use the brake which is on the left. The right turn signal is up because you speed UP and use the gas which is on the right. She was like, "That goes on inside your head?" Yup, my brain is a crazy place that you may not want to go! Anywho, the whole point of that was to make a point that my head is weird. Now, to get into today's topic!

Sure Will Ferrell, sure

Why, oh why, do books I don't like get a 3 star rating and books I do like get a three star rating?! Why do I not give 5 star ratings to books I love?! But I give 5 stars to books that I didn't love as much as other 5 star books? I confuse myself sometimes!!! Let me try to logically define my rating system:

How a one-star book would make me feel

1 - I don't think I've given any books one star on Goodreads? I guess if I couldn't finish a book and I would never go back to it, I would give it a one. Also, if it was bad enough to stop and warn others about I'd give it a one. Or I probably wouldn't even rate it! (Because I think my heart of hearts believes that no book deserves a one-star rating)

2 - I've given two books a two-star-rating. Shades of Milk and Honey deserved it because it was a little boring and the writing was rough to get through, but I don't remember why I gave Rabbit Hill, which I read in like fifth grade, a two?? Maybe I should reread it! A two would be if I finished the book, but decided it was boring and ugly-written. You know what I mean by ugly-written right? Basically just go read the first draft of every paper I've ever written. Just incoherent and redundant and so on.

3 - Three stars is a weird rating. Goodreads says it means you like the book, but I rate books that I like and books that I don't like three stars. Out of the eleven three-star books I've read in the last two years, I probably "liked" five or six. The others I didn't, but they were in a series I loved (The First Four Years). Or maybe I felt like I had to be kind to it because it wasn't a bad book, but it didn't connect with me (The Scarlet Letter). It also seems to be for books that I remember liking years ago, but haven't read in a while. Three stars pretty much means "meh" or "that was pretty good". Which is weird and doesn't make sense WHAT SO EVER.

Notable three stars:
The Hound of the Baskervilles - Meh
Anne of Ingleside - I liked it but meh
Jane Eyre - I should probably reread this one...
Jo's Boys and How They Turned Out - not enough story in the story
Peter and the Starcatchers - I just didn't like this one. It was probably well-written, but it wasn't for me
The Scarlet Letter - See Peter and the Starcatchers. Although Nathaniel Hawthorne has moments of genius, a lot of his stuff is thick and hard to get through.
The First Four Years - I was kind because it was a first draft of Laura Ingalls Wilder

4 - Four stars is for a good book. I liked the book and I would probably read it again. Maybe there was just something about it that made me balk at the perfect rating! Last year, four-stars was my most rated rating if that makes sense? Looking back, some of them could have easily been fives! And some of them could have been threes but I was being kind for the sake of a series or something. Four stars is sort of my go-to rating...

Interesting four-stars:
Beyond the Heather Hills - Should have been three stars, but I love Martha so...
The Scarlet Pimpernel - Probably should reread because the back of my head is wondering why I didn't give this five
Some American Girl books - I don't even know. Maybe remembrance of the enjoyment I got out of them?
Wonderland Creek- Again, could have been a five!
To Kill A Mockingbird - Ya know, this deserved a five, but I just had a few issues with the content so yeah...

5 - I've rated approximately 33 out of 50ish books five stars this year. What even? Some of them could have been fours, but I remember all of them. I guess that's what makes a five-star book for me: it's well-written and memorable and I LOVE IT. I remember reading all of them and either immensely enjoying them, being touched by them, or just loving them to pieces for no reason!

A lot of people will argue that five stars should be reserved for only those very few books which are perfect. I used to do that, but I wouldn't  give five star books out because I was too intimidated by "You know what, maybe this book isn't written well enough to deserve five stars!" But I can tell my mindset has changed. Now I give five stars to books I love, no matter the quality! (With some caveats..)

Some of my five-star books:
Violins of Autumn - *flails* This was totally a five star book!
Unbroken - see above
The Twenty-One Balloons - my childhood and therefore awesome
A Tale of Two Cities - *more flailing*
Snow Treasure - My childhood again! (And my dad's which is cool)
Rilla of Ingleside - *even more flailing*

You know everyone asks for half stars on Goodreads. And now I am too. There are so many books that are in between ratings. For example, I loved TKAM but I put it at 4 stars because of some content things. But it was a great book! If we had half stars, I could just rate it 4.5!!! (But don't go to ten stars cuz that's too much work for my brain...)

So what about you? Why do you rate books the way you do? Do you base your ratings more on quality or how much you loved the book? What's your go-to rating? Do you prefer half stars? How 'bout 10 star ratings? Please answer me! I'm dying to know your thoughts!


  1. I refuse to rate books with stars or grades because I go nuts trying to figure that out and it's waaaaaaay too much effort. I don't have the time. This is part of why I just haven't done much with GoodReads.

  2. Oh, wow. YES! You just described my GoodReads rating system. No, seriously! 3s and 4s are the ones I give out the most often, I think. Typically, like you said, a 3 means a "so-so" kind of rating from me, and so on and so forth.

    Thanks for this! It was nice to learn that I'm not the only one who gives out a lot of 3s and 4s and doesn't mind giving out 5s :D

  3. Hamlette: It's soooo hard sometimes! But you totally need to do Goodreads! You can just mark books as read, and you don't have to rate them! (I don't think at least)

    Olivia: Hahaha! Yay! People who love giving books five stars unite!!!


Many comments. Such wow. Much happiness. Very awesomeness. I know that's not entirely correct grammar, but that's how comments make me feel! Feel free to leave one expressing anything from what color shoes you're wearing to how much you disagree with my opinion :D