I read a lot of books. I read about 205 last year (approximately 4 books a week) and I liked most of them. My rating average is 3.78, which is pretty high, and I have no one-star books. But rating is really, really hard. I often will look at a book again and change my rating. I have very few 5 star reads- maybe 15 a year. In this post I’m going to discuss why I give so few books five stars, why my ratings can change, and what the best books look like.
So, on goodreads (which is pretty much the way I deal with all the books in my life) I have a read-again-and-again shelf. This is for books that a) I’ve read again and again or b) that I plan to reread in the future. These are all 4- or -5 star books and I think that they are worth rereading (I’m a rereader!) This and my “yes” shelf are the ones I really like. I should actually make a five-star shelf, but I haven’t yet. The thing is, that I give well over 50% (maybe 65%) of books that I read a four star rating. And I can’t help wondering if this is because I have good taste in books, because I’m not afraid of dnf’ing (did not finish) bad books or because I guilt myself into thinking that a book deserves five stars.
Some of my five star books/series (I can’t be bothered with links, sorry)
-Chanda’s Secrets by Allan Stratton
-Old Kingdom by Garth Nix
-Montmaray Journals by Michelle Cooper
-Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
-Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
I’m inclined towards imperfect ratings. Occasionally, my ratings goes down (The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl) but often they go up. I find that I am thinking about this book a lot. I am recommending it to all my friends and librarians. I want the next book desperately. For example, Cinder, one of my favourite books EVER, got a four star rating at first. Some of the books named above I read in the Dark Ages (pre-goodreads), so my rating had maybe changed, but I will mark three star books up to four and five stars down. My ratings change, because though no book is ever perfect, the ones I mark as five stars are as close as it comes. Initially, I see the imperfection of a book as I rate it, and then I write a review (at least most of the time) and it helps me to process. But I have marked upThis Song Will Save Your Life, Legend and Rose Under Fire, because all books have imperfections, but for me these are as good as it gets. Ratings are not written in stone: they change, you change.
This part of the post is highly subjective! Don’t get angry, just discuss in the comments.Also, this is for novels I read for fun. Non-fiction and school are a bit different.
My perfect book is strong in character and setting. The way that the characters engage with their environment and the world around them makes me think about my choices and my world. The characters are real in their thoughts and actions, written complexly, and a little bit flawed. The book will have a plot that is fun to read and it will have a writing style that is clear. There will be less infodumping and more subtle realisation of setting. The book will be funny and serious. There will be friendship and love, and complexity of good and evil which makes you question your own morality. You will never be bored while reading.
Does any book perfectly fit this description? NO. Am I going to keep reading and writing anyway? YES. Is Goodreads amazing? OH YEAH.
Do you find rating hard? Do you change your ratings? How would you describe a perfect book, and have you ever read one? Do you love goodreads like I do? Tell me in the comments!
Oh, and by the way: Shar and I have lots of exams over the next month, so we’ll be posting a bit less. But we’ll still reply to all your comments and post at least once a week. Okay? Okay.