Ratings revisited

18 Jul

ratingI’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.

Some reasons:

  • 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!


Posted by on July 18, 2009 in blogging



7 responses to “Ratings revisited

  1. Sue

    July 18, 2009 at 6:25 am

    Your new rating system sounds good. I haven’t been rating my books, but I also only write reviews of books I liked – my blog is intended to recommend good books.

    Like you, I tend to enjoy most of what I read because I choose what I read carefully. There have been a few rare duds in book group, but typically everyone agrees on those!

    I always enjoy your reviews –


  2. kay

    July 18, 2009 at 7:05 am

    I know what you’re talking about, I have had a similar observation this week with my blog, and I have proceeded to a “re-distribution” of ratings. They are still most around 4 stars, but a little less than before. I don’t know how other people perceive 3 stars ratings; to me, it’s kind of the neutral ratings, for books I loved just OK.

  3. Britt, Book Habitue

    July 18, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I give 5 stars a lot. Objectively I know I probably shouldn’t, but I do. I like to– it makes me happy. 😀

  4. Susan @ Reading Upside Down

    July 18, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    I’ve avoided having a rating system partly because I know that books would generally end up with 4 stars, as my books do at GoodReads.

    Have fun revisiting all your past posts to adjust your ratings. 🙂

  5. Belle

    July 19, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I ended up ditching a rating system altogether a while back. It just works better for me – but the funny thing is, I really enjoy it when others use a rating system! Your new one sounds good.

  6. Michelle

    July 24, 2009 at 11:13 am

    You outline several reasons I don’t use ratings. I tend only to read what I want to read and what I know I’ll like so it seems (for me anyway) to be a bit pointless. Again, in my opinion, I also think ratings are somewhat pointless in general. I know many people looking for recommendations rely on them but honestly again what is the point? I think I’ve got some ideas in mind and you’ve now given me a good idea for a new post for my blog!

    Good luck finding a system that works well for you 🙂


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