7 March 2017

How I Rate Books

I like rating books. I know some people prefer not to (and that's fine for them) but I really enjoy giving a star rating because it helps me mentally categorise the books I read. One of the (admittedly very few) rules for my bookshelves at home is: no two star or below books (because let's face it, I'm never gonna read them again). I do have an exception for books in a series; if I didn't really enjoy a particular book but did like the rest of the series it's in, I can keep it). So here's just a little overview of what my ratings really mean:


 = I hated this book (eg. A Clockwork Orange, Mistress of Greyladies, Of Mice and Men)

½ = this book was bad, I did not like it, but I don't detest it (eg. The Invisible Library, Angelmaker, A Study in Charlotte)

 = it was just ok, I thought it was a bit meh, a waste of time reading (eg. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, A Natural History of Dragons, The Book Thief) 

½ = it was still pretty meh, but, like, the good side of meh (eg. The Tiger in the Well, One Day, Scarlet)

 = I liked it / I thought it was quite good (eg. Code Name Verity, Shatter Me, Cress)

½ = this book was pretty good! (eg. The Time Traveller's Wife, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

★ = I really liked this book (eg. Macbeth, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Good Night Mr Tom)

½ = This book was incredible but not quite a 5 star read (eg. A Court of Mist and Fury, Never Let Me Go, Gone Girl)

 = this book was utterly amazing and I love it with my entire soul (eg. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Mortal Engines, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)


So basically, anything with three stars or above is a positive rating for me, which I think can confuse some people, who think of three stars as being a very neutral/meh rating. But I'm pretty good at picking and reading books I enjoy, so my rating system needed more nuance between good / very good / amazing, instead of on the negative side of things.

I usually rate books on how much I enjoyed them, instead of how good they were; for instance, Of Mice And Men is a classic and is generally agreed to be a "good" book, but because I didn't like it, it only got 1 star. Of course there are instances where I dislike a book and I think it's objectively terrible (such as The Selection) but on the other hand I know that there are plenty of people who really love that book and whose opinions and ratings are also totally valid! So even though I have this very specific system for rating books, I try not to get too caught up in it. 

(Also: I was about to end this blog post here, but then I began wondering exactly what percentage of books I tend to give each rating, so I trawled through my Goodreads backlog to come up with these statistics for anyone who's really interested:
★ = 4.8 %
★ = 21.6 %
★ = 41.1 %
★ = 21.2 %
★ = 11.4 %
with an average rating of 3.11 stars)


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