This is one Chami and I have been talking a lot about recently. At the moment, we rate out of five stars but we've been talking about how this doesn't really mean that much (I'm going to go into a little more detail about that further down.)
I don't usually put a lot of thought into rating books, I'll admit to that. Usually in the last hundred pages or so, I can kind of work out what I'm going to rate the book and most of the time, the ending doesn't change that. Though, there have been a few.
But how do you decide what makes one book a five compared to another? I don't really compare my books when it comes to rating them. Unless they are books all from the same series in which case I can usually work out which book I should rate higher, or lower or whether they should be the same. For example, I recently read Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick which is the third book in the Hush, Hush series. I liked it much better than the second book, so I rated it four stars while Crescendo (#2) only got three. I hope that makes sense to you all!
Now I love Goodreads, I really do. In fact, I spend a majority of my day looking through Goodreads at new books, at groups and reviews etc. However, I think people can be incredibly harsh on Goodreads.
This is another thing Chami and I have discussed at various times. Everyone has the right to their own opinion and I'm a very firm believer in that, but I'm also completely terrified of confrontation. I'm naturally a very, very, very shy person so I really don't like people arguing about things, even on the internet. Chami will tell you, if we have an argument about something I'd rather just avoid you for days than confront you about it. (I realise this really isn't healthy, but this post isn't about anxiety so let's just ignore that)
Everyone has the right to say that they didn't like a book, that they hated it, it was stupid, etc. etc. but I think sometimes people can take it a little too far. I don't mean just rating a book one or two stars or marking it as 'dnf', that's fine. It's when people use reviews to personally attack the author, or even fans of the book. In school, we read this terrible book called Sold by Patricia McCormick. I cannot even begin to describe to you how much I hated that book, but I don't hate Patricia McCormick because of it and I won't hate you if you tell me you loved the book. Just like I expect that you don't hate me when I say that, yeah, I really love the Fury trilogy by Elizabeth Miles (which has a reasonably low average rating on GR).
This gets to me because I don't think you should attack authors for writing a book. It doesn't matter how bad that book might be, authors have feelings too. I especially think this is important for authors that are on Goodreads and especially, especially, the less well-known or indie writers. Authors can stumble upon these reviews and that can be their whole day ruined.
I'm not saying you shouldn't have your own opinions, but just...be mindful.
That leads nicely into the last bit I want to talk about is my personal ratings. Maybe it comes with the whole non-confrontational thing, but I find that I don't usually rate books under four or five stars. It's not that I love every book ever written, but I find if I'm really not enjoying a book, I'll usually put it down to pick up at a later time. That way, I usually love all the books that I end up finishing because they managed to hold my attention until the very end.
In case you were wondering, Goodreads tells me that I've rated 153 books 5 stars, 191 4 stars, 44 3 stars, 2 2 stars and 2 1 star. Cruel Beauty and Of Mice and Men are the two star books, and Sold and Twilight (which is probably unfair) are the one star. I'm sure if I looked through my read books more carefully there'd be ones that probably deserved two's rather than three's.
As I said, I don't really think about my ratings critically. If I thought the book was perfect, it gets five stars but if I thought it was just missing something, it gets four. That's pretty much how it works for me. I think like most bloggers/reviewers, I use my reviews to explain why each book gets that certain rating and sometimes writing out my thoughts means my rating changes...it all depends.
So that kind of turned more into a rant than a discussion! Please let me know your thoughts on the ratings. How does your rating system work? How do you feel about negative ratings? And do you rate ridiculously high for everything like me? Let me know!
If you made it the whole way through this post, then you're amazing and I love you very much!