Discussion: On book ratings…

…and why I don’t use them anymore on my blog.

A while ago I’ve noticed how much I enjoyed reading book reviews which do not contain a rating system. As soon as I see a rating lower than 4 I skim the post as I know the reader did not liked the book. However, in my reviews, though I do not like a book, I know some people might and I give my honest feedback without shaming the book or the author. This is quite rude considering the amount of effort writers put into their books, fan fiction included. So I decided to stay away from rating on my blog when reviewing a book and concentrate on the facts. On goodreads I will still rate them as part of my own shelving system and because this is the way the website works.

Sometimes I enjoy a book a lot and yet I do not entirely agree with some elements of it. This I know is not a problem for others who would otherwise love the book. So I think rating it would be unfair as I did enjoyed it but I did not like some actions or ideas in it. Would this be a 4 or a 5? I would only read books with a 3.8 score or more on goodreads, preferably 4.5+. However I have found books I’ve loved with a bit of a 3.0 rating on goodreads and this got me thinking, are ratings even valid though there are subjective? I have found out, review content has more validity for us to evaluate if we will like a book than a simple number. Books after all, just like us, are very complex creatures.

When I used to score a book a 5 I did it on levels of enjoyment. Did I live through the characters' emotions? Did I cheer for them? Did I even feel for the villains? Did I want to kick my boyfriend away just so I could finish one more chapter? These books deserved 5 stars for me. But lately I’ve been encountering books on which, though I experience all of this, I am more conscious of the writing elements in it and it kind of ruins my idea of “perfection”. A 3/5 book would be basically a book of which idea I loved but the characters failed to deliver. Sort of. And well a 2/5 would be a book in which I found myself skimming, yawning and going WTF every time the characters opened their mouths.

So these are my thoughts on rating systems and book reviews. If you read book reviews on newspapers or magazines, they also limit themselves to the facts while not ruining the reader’s experience with negative feedback or a rating system. This is my aim now with this blog. To recommend and talk about my reading experience and make the readers curious enough as to read the book themselves.

What has been your experiences with book ratings? Do you chose a book because it has a higher rating? Do you give low rated books a chance? If you do, have you been surprised about it? Do you think rating systems are fair considering there are highly subjective? Let me know!

she writes