Bookish Chat : An alternative look at my ratings

August 26, 2014 Bookish chat 26

Sometimes rating a book is tricky.  I don’t think there is any way to define what EXACTLY makes a four star book or a five star book.  What is the magic edge that the five star book has?  For me I just know in my heart what the rating should be. star I feel something ‘extra’ when reading a five star book, it has the X factor that pushes it a notch above the four star book.  When I set out my ratings, I said it very simply as this defines my feels about my various star ratings.

One Star : Hated it, probably a DNF
Two Stars : Bit of a drag, lots of negatives
Three Stars : Liked it
Four Stars : Loved it
Five Stars : Adored it, will reread


However I was thinking during the week that how I anxious I am to pick the book back up again, is a good indication of what my final rating will be too.  Of course there are exceptions as a book can go from a must-read to bore or visa versa.  And the chart at the end of all my reviews show just what I take in to account:

Character + Setting + Pace + Feels = My Rating

But in general how much I want to read the book over the course of the book does feed into my ratings.  So for example, this is a typical thought process.


One Star : I’d rather scrub the house from top to bottom before I pick the book up.  And tidy the garage.  And cut the grass.  Yep I pretty much hate this book and doing actual chores is less of a chore than reading the book.  I will DNF most books that make me feel like this.
Two Stars : I’ll read the book after I watch my TV shows and ring a friend and chat with my husband.  Or maybe I’ll just read a few pages of this other book first.  I have no urgency to pick this book up at all but will continue with it.
Three Stars :  This book is good!  I’m looking forward to settling down with it when I get back from  the gym.
Fours Stars :  This book is great.  It’s going to the gym with me and I’ll adapt my routine so I can use the machines that I can read on.

Five Stars : I’m so in love with this book.  The gym? You are having a laugh!  I’m going nowhere until I read every last word of this fantastic book.  And I only take small breaks to go on twitter to tell everyone else to go buy the book.

Bookish Chat:  Do you feel like this?  Does your sense of urgency to pick up the book influence your ratings? 

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26 Responses to “Bookish Chat : An alternative look at my ratings”

  1. Lola

    Ratings are pretty tricky and everyone sues different rating systems. My system looks a bit like yours, but I don’t rate DNF books and for my the 3 star is an okay book.
    I agree with you that the temptation to pick up the book and continue reading is a good indication of how much I enjoy a book. Although sometimes life just get’s in the way even though you want to read. And sometimes I just want tor ead even though the book isn’t that spectaculair. But yeah in general it is a good indication of how much I enjoyed a book.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #88

    • trish

      I always feel 3 stars is the controversial one as we all have different meanings attached to our ratings. That’s why I like to read reviews as they give you much more of an insight than just the rating.
      And sigh, life gets in the way of reading all too often.
      So many factors come into a rating don’t they it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly we consider when setting it.

  2. Brenda @DailyMayo

    I pretty much agree with your system. For me, a 3-star book is a solid book for the genre that wasn’t groundbreaking. One I enjoy reading but don’t have an urgency to finish- just like you!

  3. Rita @ My Home of Books

    Ah, love your chart for How Much I Want to Read A Book. I tried to stop giving books a rating but then I still posted on Goodreads and they have a rating system, and I reconsidered after a couple of weeks.

    I tend to rate pretty “easy” compared to others. I rate between 3-5 stars, as 1 would be DNF & 2 was put aside, and thus I don’t mention them on my blog. “3 is a good book”, “4 is nice! I really liked this”, and “5 has the wow factor, I need to keep reading even though my eyes are closing at night”.

    Good discussion!
    Rita @ My Home of Books recently posted…First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros 8/26/14

    • trish

      I know lots of people don’t review books they didn’t like and I think that’s good too as it keeps the blog positive.
      Your ratings are pretty similar to mine Rita. I think the longer I rate, the less I think about it. I just know instinctively what rating feels right for me.
      It’s funny though that when you look around you’ll see not all 3 stars are equal. For some people it means good, for others only ok-ish, etc. That’s why a rating alone never gives the true picture and why I like to read the review too.

  4. anna (herding cats & burning soup)

    Totally laughing on your cleaning the house/chores one. Yes. So been there. I haven’t really thought about what makes it whatever rating for me. Like you mentioned I just…know. For 5s though part of it is days later STILL thinking about the book and not wanting to move on. Doesn’t happen too often but love it when it does 🙂
    anna (herding cats & burning soup) recently posted…Signed, Sealed, Delivered (The Ladies Who Lunch #2) by Sandy James

    • trish

      Exactly, the longer I rate, the more instinctive the rating is. It’s a gut feel.
      Those 5 star books are what makes reading such a great hobby. The potential is there in every read for it and when you find one, it’s like hitting the jackpot! Love that feeling. Not so much the book hangover but at least it’s always there for a reread 🙂

  5. Dee @ Dee's Reads

    Haha! Ratings are definitely tricky.. I know what you mean though about just knowing the difference between a 4&5. I feel like I’ve become a bit stricter with my 4 star ratings lately, and my 2 star books are normally the “meh” books. Sometimes I even like them a little, just not a lot. Lol

    • trish

      I feel the same about the 2 star books, especially the 2.5 star books. There definitely would have been elements of those that I enjoyed along with a whole lot of meh!

  6. CeCe

    LMAO! I adore this post! I love your new take on reviews. How many other things do I want to do before picking up the book? Great way to judge. I usually rate based on how much I want to shout my love from the rooftops. It’s a five star if I want everyone and their mother to read it and I just want to squeal for hours with other book lovers about our love. Whereas one star books, I get ranty mad about how bad the book is and I want to let the anger out and tell people. 2-4 all fall somewhere in between. But it’s funny because I have given 5 stars to books with serious issues (think Jen Frederick’s Woodland Series). But even with their problems, if I have connected enough to want to go out and tell people and the book or the author so, for me, it deserves the high rating.
    CeCe recently posted…My Thoughts on the If I Stay Movie

    • trish

      Oh I really think 5 stars don’t have to be perfect to make my list. They just have to mean something special to me and I find I never have to think twice about what rating they are; I just KNOW they are 5 star.

      Ditto the 1 star but you have more perseverance than me there. I usually just give up. At least you get a fun rant after enduring the whole book.

      And of course squeeing with someone else who loved the same book is one of my favourite things about blogging and twittering 🙂 🙂

  7. Ana @ Read Me Away

    I totally get what you mean! My level of “omg I want to get back to reading it” definitely helps me decide the final rating for the book. If I read it all in one sitting (or two) because it was so riveting, it gets a high rating. But if reading it feels “meh” and I’d rather play games, then it’s not as exciting as I expected it to be.
    Ana @ Read Me Away recently posted…Talk To Me 35: The Next Best Girl

    • trish

      Exactly Ana. It really does give you a good feel for how you are really feeling about the book doesn’t it?

    • trish

      I have seen that lots of people don’t rate on their blogs. I don’t mind rating as I usually don’t have to think too much about it. But it’s only a review can give you a real feel for the book and whether it might be for you or not.

  8. Charleen

    I don’t use a rubric like you do and instead rate more based on my gut… but there are lots of factors that influence that gut feeling, and how much I feel like picking it up, or how easy it is to set down, definitely play a role.
    Charleen recently posted…July Mini-Reviews

    • trish

      I usually know in my gut what the star will be too and when I fill in the rubic, 99 times out of 100, they will match up. So I suppose I do a mixture of both.
      I find most books slot themselves pretty quick into a level.

  9. kimbacaffeinate

    I love your descriptions. To me a five star might not even be perfect..but it gives me that book high. The one where I lose track of time and essential live and breath the book until the last page. The book I cannot stop thinking about or have to guard my review because I want to blab about it all!
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…How to Fall by Jane Casey

    • trish

      Oh yes, a 5 star doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to make me want to push on to everyone and these are the ones I get totally lost in and have even been known to dream about.

  10. Beth @ Books & Ducks

    I’ve changed my rating within the last few weeks because I felt like I was giving everything 4 or 5 stars even if they were pretty forgettable. I’ve switched it up to:
    5 stars- I will shove this book in your face if I can
    4 stars- I really liked this. I’d highly recommend it
    3 stars- I liked it enough. I’d recommend it to people asking for this genre/type of book
    2 stars- I got through it but pretty forgettable
    1 star- Don’t even ask me about this book (usually a ranty review)

    So, to me, three stars isn’t bad. It may not be a book someone should step out of their normal genre for, but the people that enjoy the genre may like it! Does this make any sense?
    Beth @ Books & Ducks recently posted…Review: Fangirl

    • trish

      Perfect sense! I think we all agree the 5 stars are the ones that we demand everyone read. And I love your 3 star definition, that’s a good way of looking at it.

  11. Mishma @ As the page turns

    Rating is a tricky job.Sometimes,when I have a love-hate relationship with a book,or mixed feelings about it,I struggle to rate the book.
    I also think that timing plays a huge part in your rating.Now when I look back at books I read and gave 5 stars to during my beginner stage of Goodreads,I feel like they don’t deserve it.
    I love your descriptions,by the way.
    Mishma @ As the page turns recently posted…Review:Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

    • trish

      Oh I know exactly what you mean. I do feel a few of my earlier ratings are a bit too high too. Especially some of the 4 star ones, I know they would only be 3 stars today as I have gotten a lot more critical in my thinking. I am tempted to go back and revise them but I know I’ll probably never bother!

  12. Emma @ Words And Peace

    very interesting. my ratings are more directed toward others than myself, maybe simply because there are so many books I want to read, I very rarely take time for a re-read.
    I use Eiffel Towers at different stages of construction for my ratings, with only the feet colored for * and all colored with fireworks around for *****
    here is how it goes:
    * I did not eve finish** it just ignore it
    ** I read it all, but did not like it at all
    *** it was ok
    **** that was good, you should try it
    ***** OMG, you have to read this NOW!
    and here is for instance how it looks for a ***:
    and for a *****:
    Emma @ Words And Peace recently posted…Sunday Post #5 – 8/31/14

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