I have used Goodreads for years and obsessively rate and review all the books I read, but I have a few issues with their rating system. 5 stars just isn’t enough for me so I’m going to rate books out of 10 instead. Maybe. It might not be as organized as that. When rating books out of 5, I have very specific criteria:
5 stars – This is reserved for very special books that will stay with me for a long time. I have only given this rating to a handful of books, however there are several that have come very close and would be more worthy of 4.5, had this been an option. Examples include The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.
4 stars – This is the widest category of all, and one I would really like to break down into (at least) three sections. I have more books rated 4 stars than anything else, but I didn’t like them all the same amount, or for the same reasons. I often give books 4 stars because 3 stars seems too harsh. Other times I feel harsh only giving it 4 stars, just because there’s something very small missing for me to raise it to the next level. Examples include Room by Emma Donoghue, Life of Pie by Yann Martel, and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, each of which would be in seperate ratings categories if I had my way.
3 stars – I give every book I have finished at least 3 stars. I’m not the kind of person who can read anything; I give up if I can’t get into it. I know this isn’t good, I am trying to be better at persevering. 3 stars is for books I finished but didn’t enjoy. Often easy reads with boring plots that a miserably hope might get a bit better towards the end. I also often use this for books that have been over hyped. I feel like I should be enjoying because everyone else did. Examples include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, One Day by David Nicholls, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
2 stars – This is for books I give up on. Books that are boring, or annoy me in some way. It doesn’t happen often, because I am quite good at choosing books I know I’m going to enjoy. Occasionally, I am mistaken. Examples include Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire, Enduring Love by Ian McEwan, and Paper Towns by John Green.
I don’t think I’ve ever rated anything 1 stars. I’m not sure why I would, I suppose if someone’s taken the effort to write something and a publisher has given it the go ahead, there must be something worthy in it. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong in the future.
I think I’ll use my first few reviews to decide on a solid rating system. I might do it out of 10, but also have a word system to categorise it. Maybe things like:
10/10 Top Ten Books
9/10 Almost There
7/10 Something Missing
5/10 Begrudgingly Finished
4/10 Regret Finishing
3/10 Gave Up
2/10 Would Happily Burn
I might add a few more later. Or get rid of some. I’ll see how they fit into the books I read.