I’ve looked over my reviews, and discovered I’m not using a wide variety of ratings. Almost everything is 4 stars!
This doesn’t seem right to me, and so I’ve done some thinking about why this is the case.
- I only read books I think I’m going to like, except for book clubs. (Even there, I only nominate and vote for books I think I’ll like. Sometimes, my choices don’t win, but I’m usually OK with the results).
- If I think I’m going to like a book, I usually do. This doesn’t mean I won’t be critical of it. Many of my 4 star reviews point out what I perceive as shortcomings in a book.
- It seems that 3 star reviews are perceived as negative, so I hesitate to cross that line.
- I think a book has to be nearly perfect and have lasting impact on me to get 5 stars.
- Note that none of these has to do with review copies of books! I don’t think how I get a book affects my ratings.
So, what am I going to do about this?
- I could do nothing, and just accept this is the way things are going to be.
- I could give up rating books all together. That just isn’t me. I like a nice neat number assigned to each book.
- I could adopt an entirely new rating scheme. I’ve seen some on other blogs that I’ve liked. I used to use letter grades for my own records, when I kept them.
- I could adapt the system I have now.
I think I’m going to adapt the system I have now. I want to be able to continue to map my ratings into Goodreads, where I’ve listed almost 350 books that I’ve read– that’s a good start on my library :-).
Still, I need more granularity, so I’m going to add 1/2 stars. I’ll have to drop those for Goodreads, but I can deal with that.
I need to be more generous with my 5 star ratings. I’ve only been using them for A+ books, I need to lower that to at an A. 4.5 will be for A-/B+ books, 4 for solid Bs. I still expect that to be where the majority of my ratings are– books I like quite a bit, but they do have some issues that actually caught my attention while reading them. (Or books that are objectively good, but I didn’t like as much). Some of my current 4 star books will become 3.5 stars, and I doubt I’ll change any of my 3 star ratings– but I’ll look at them too.
I’m going to go through my full list, so that I can calibrate my ratings. I hope to have that up soon as well!