Let’s Talk: Rating Books…

I would love to hear about your preferences regarding rating the books you read. Do you rate books at all? Do you use the more conventional 5-star system? Please let me know – I am interested!

Lately I have been looking more critically at the way I rate books myself, or more at why I rate the books I read the way I do.

I have been using a 7-star rating system rather than the usual 5. Five simpy did not quite give me enough flexibility. Of course I thought about using a 10-star system, but felt that was overkill, so I stuck with my lucky seven.

This is my description of my rating system on my blog:

★☆☆☆☆☆☆ absolute and utter trash with hardly any redeeming qualities

★★☆☆☆☆☆ yeah, I did not really get it, but there is probably an element of okayness

★★★☆☆☆☆ it was ok(ish)  and it definitely had bits i liked

★★★★☆☆☆ really quite decent, but may have some issues, or something was missing

★★★★★☆☆ a good read with minor flaws that I could get over

★★★★★★☆ a quite awesome book worth reading again

★★★★★★★ I want to treasure and love this book forever

I stand by much of my explanation, but it does not tell the whole story of course.

July 2019 was my month of 5-star books. I read 10 of the suckers. Does that mean they are all at the same level? No, I guess not. Yet, I feel like all 10 of these books are neither 4-star or 6-star books. Why not?

I think a rating consists of a few aspects:

  • enjoyment
  • quality of the writing
  • story
  • plot

Enjoyment is by far the most important for me, but the better those four come together, the higher the rating is likely to be.

So, a five-star book can be have a plot that makes no sense, but that I have a lot of fun with, or an incredible story that I recognise to be amazing, but that does not quite make my heart beat faster. They would be very different five stars, but five stars nonetheless.

To gain six stars, it would need to do a bit more than that and to gain seven stars, it would need to be perfection. It is rare that I give a book seven stars.

What makes a seven-star book, I hear you ask? Well, it would need to be perfect for the particular book it is. For a non-fiction book it would need to be engaging and very well told and its subject interesting enough to enthral me. For a non-fiction book, it would have to give me all the feels with great writing and when I close it, I will need to feel like I have just read a truly great book. It happens…

So, my rating v the Goodreads rating?

My 1* = GR 1*
My 2/3* = GR 2*
My 4* = GR 3*
My 5* = GR 4*
My 6/7* = GR 5*

But for me a GR 5* book is a really good book; in my ratings 6* is a really good book and a 7* is a perfect book. (That reminds me – I should make a Hall of Fame with my 7* books)

How do you rate your books? Do you rate them at all? Do you use Goodreads? How often do you dish out 5* and what is your requirement for doing so?