Discussion: Rating books

When talking about books it’s always nice to let others know how strongly you liked a book or how much you disliked a book. But when you have to quantify it, things can get a lot harder than you might want it to be.


How do you put all those feelings you have about a book into a couple of stars? I try to do it, for the sake of Goodreads and I reuse that rating here on my blog as well. This means that I don’t work with half stars, though I have often wanted to use them. Sometimes a book just doesn’t deserve that fifth star, but four just doesn’t feel adequate either. Which rating do you choose in such a case? Of course you can always specify what each of your ratings means in the sidebar. That those four stars mean that you really liked the book and would like to buy it, but you’re just not over the moon enough for it to be five stars.


My biggest problem with book ratings is that my feelings about these ratings change! I might read a book and think it’s about a three star book. It was a fun read, I enjoyed it, but other than that there’s not much special to say about it. But a couple of weeks later it is possible that I have had a discussion about said book or have had some revelation about the plot which just sheds a whole new light on that story arc! These things make me change my mind about the book rating I have given it earlier. Sometimes a sequel will make me like the series as a whole more, so do I change my rating?


Apparently I am not alone in this rating struggle because I have seen a couple of book bloggers use different rating systems, which I actually really like! The systems that they use are less frigid and feel less totalitarian in their judgement, or they just put a nice spin on the whole rating system.


Some examples:


  • Rather Be Reading work with a much simpler system. They just label a book with “buy it” or “borrow it” (or at least these are the rating I’ve seen them use). While these provide less information about the book, they are much broader and very unlikely to change over time (or at least not within the month). And they also provide all the info I really need about a book.
  • The Fairytale Nerd gives the book a report card of sorts. This gives a lot of information about the book, because it rates different parts of the book (such as cover, plot, writing, ending, characters and an overall rating). Through seeing the “grades” she gives the book we get a much more in depth view of how the overall rating for the book came to be.
  • Pure Imagination also works with a simplified rating system. Slapping a “loved it” or “liked it”, and at times even “incredible” (there are probably different ratings as well, but these are the ones that stuck with me).


So how do you deal with rating books? do you do it with pleasure or is it like swallowing a bitter pill? Or perhaps you just sidestep the whole issue completely. Let me know!


It seems that I am not the only one talking about this subject! So if you want to find out more about this discussion, go check out these people:
Priscilla also talks about this subject on her blog, and this was a response to Susie’s video

6 thoughts on “Discussion: Rating books

  1. I try to enjoy every journey, and I look at mine as my thoughts rather than a review. Everyone has different opinions, and I don’t think anyone should be rude or cut apart a book just because it wasn’t their thing :) But this is just my opinion :)

    Thank you for sharing :)

  2. I try to keep my reviews positive even when I’ve just read a book that I didn’t enjoy. I am a strong supporter in constructive criticism and strive to give it when I can. I also think that being negative to an author based on something that they’ve worked really hard on, is disrespectful.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I don’t rate books, but I appreciate it when others do. I like a review that gives both sides. What worked & what didn’t.

    • Sometimes I really don’t want to rate a book because I just don’t know about how I feel about it. Why is it that you don’t rate book? Any specific reason?

  4. Pingback: 2013 in books | Rantings, ravings and ramblings

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