Feb 17, 2013
The Sunday Salon: Review Ratings
That said, I've decided to do away with using the 1-5 star rating method and I'll tell you why. When I begin reading a book, in my mind, I start with 5 stars. As I continue reading, if there are things about the book that I didn't necessarily like, whether it be the writing, the characters or whatever, I would make a mental note and deduct from my original 5 stars. Sometimes this works but more often than not, it doesn't. It's much more complicated than that.
For example: if I read a book and I dislike the main character, does that mean it's not a good book? Not at all. I've read many books where some of the characters were unlikable, but that didn't mean I didn't enjoy the book overall. That's just one over vague example of what I'm trying to explain here.
The bottom line is that I feel that given the amount of time, energy and love the authors put into their books, the 1-5 star rating method just doesn't do them justice. Most people, when they see a rating of 1 or 2 stars, tend to shy away from that particular book and choose another one with a higher rating and in my opinion, that is unfair to the author.
That is why from now on, there will be no stars awarded to the books I review. I will continue to give honest, thoughtful reviews without labeling them with stars that, in my opinion, are too simplistic. Books can be complicated and after reading a book that leaves me without an obvious like or dislike, I feel I owe the author and readers of my blog, a complete explanation without labeling it with stars. After reading my reviews, there should be no doubt about where I stand and placing stars beside the title only over-simplifies my thoughts.
I'd just like to add one other comment. I understand why book websites use the star rating systems and I love using Goodreads, but I have always felt uncomfortable with their 1-5 star method because they don't allow for 1/2 stars. I feel like it's too broad of a choice. You either like the book or you don't and it's just not that simple. Though I don't really use LibraryThing that much anymore, I do appreciate that they allow the 1/2 star rating. It may seem like a small thing, but I don't think it is.
I know many of you have strong opinions about this issue and I would love to hear what you think Do you use the 1-5 star rating method? Or some other method? Or do you think this is a subject not worthy of such discussion?