discussion · reading

Discussion: on changing how I rate books

Hello there, and welcome back to the blog!

I’ve always been a reader. Ever since I was little, I was always in love with books and fictional characters. I’m also very easy to please as a reader, and I know myself enough to pick up books that I know I’ll like, so I used to rate every single book I read either 4 or 5 stars. And there was nothing wrong with that, but as time passed by and I became a more discerning consumer I started to reevaluate how I rated books.

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In the last couple of years, I’ve become more and more critical of the books I read and that’s affected my rating system. While I used to give out 5 stars reviews to pretty much everything I could get my hands on, now I barely ever rate a book 5 stars. Ok, maybe that’s exaggerating it a bit, but now I honestly only give 5 stars ratings to books that have absolutely blown my mind and have become new favorites. But that’s got me thinking, should I re-rate every book I’ve ever read so it can all be “equally” rated?

I don’t think so, and not only because that would be a lot of work. Looking back at my Goodreads and seeing how everything was rated 5 stars actually makes me understand myself better as a reader and how my taste has evolved. Sometimes I’ll reread a book and it’s amazing seeing how my rating has changed so much in just a few years. Not to say that I don’t enjoy as many books anymore, but rather that I know better what I love, what I like, and what wasn’t really for me. 

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This change had the added bonus of making me more excited to write reviews – or maybe it was because I was writing more reviews that I started to rethink how I rated books? Whatever the case may be, I now have a better understanding of what I loved, liked or disliked about every book I read. It’s easier to know what my favorites are and why, and to use that information to better pick the books that I’ll be adding to my TBR pile. 

Before I finish, I’d like to explain what my rating scale looks like right now and what each star means to me:

5 stars: It was fantastic, a new favorite for sure.

4 stars: I really really liked it.

3 stars: I liked it (this is a good rating for me, it just means that while it wasn’t amazing it also wasn’t bad)

2 stars: It was okay, I didn’t hate but also didn’t like it. A meh kinda book. 

1 star: I didn’t like it at all.

That’s it for this post. I plan on writing more reviews so I thought it would be better to explain my rating system first as to not cause any confusion. 

Has the way you rate books changed with time? How so?

Until next time, 

juli

14 thoughts on “Discussion: on changing how I rate books

  1. I think I’m a bit of a harsh reviewer, too. Over time, as I figure out what I like in books and what I don’t like, I begin to be a little more critical of how I rate books, so whenever I have a five-star read, I’m always very excited. My most common ratings tend to be three stars (it was okay), four stars (very good, but some flaws), or somewhere in between. I wonder if you use whole numbers or decimal numbers for your ratings?

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  2. I agree with you. I used to give five stars away like a freebie to every book that I enjoyed before. But now I am more critical and specific as to why I gave that certain rating. I feel like my ratings before were just really based on how it stirred my feelings? I don’t know. But you were right when you said it would be a hassle if you change your ratings from before, also it speaks volumes on how we grew as a reader. So, I guess, no regrets. Those books we enjoyed before were given that rate because it was at a certain stage in our reading life.

    This is an amazing discussion. It inspired me to write about how my reading taste changed over the years, I might write about it in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! It’s nice to look back and see what I used to enjoy and how that’s changed.
      Thank you so much! It means a lot that you feel inspired by this post 😊 If you do decide on writing about this in the future, I’ll definitely be checking out your post. I find this such an interesting topic of conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes I still feel bad for not rating books higher because they weren’t bad but just weren’t for me. I’m slowly getting over it though 😂 I feel like this system works better for me now.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s super valid! I feel like the more you read, the better you recognize what you like and the better you can choose your TBR so that it’ll mostly include books you’ll enjoy 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Juli!
    After answering your question on my Q&A I was really glad to read your thoughts on your rating system! I found that ever since I started writing book reviews, I’m also better able to identify what I liked (or didn’t like) about a book.
    I’m also wondering, what are your thoughts about half-stars?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Sophie!
      Thank you so much for answering my question 😊 I used to use half-stars all the time, but then realized that deep down a book is always closer to the next higher full star or the lower one. As in, every time I rated a book 3.5 stars, I knew it was either closer to 4 stars or to 3. So I abolished half-stars and decided that, for me, just using full stars was enough. Does that even make sense? I hope so 🙈

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      1. That does make sense! Yeah that is kind of my rationale for not using half-stars too. Most of the time when I want to give a half-star rating, a book is usually closer to one end or the other instead of being truly in the middle 🙂

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