Recently I was glancing back through my Goodreads ‘Read’ shelf, and I realised something: I rate a lot of books with 4 or more stars. As in, most of the books I read!
This had me thinking, am I just insanely good at picking books I’ll like? Am I just lucky? Or am I a little too generous with my star ratings?
I think that the last option seems the most likely, as I’ve often found myself struggling to rate books, especially ‘average’ books. Whilst I can logically tell when a book has gone from being mediocre to amazing based on my enjoyment and the level of investment I have in the characters, I find it hard to reflect that in my ratings.
For one thing, I don’t think I always know what it is that has taken a book from ‘good’ to ‘great’ for me, which means I can write a really positive review of a book based on logic, even though the book just didn’t have that ‘wow’ factor for me. But if I can’t say why it didn’t have that extra spark, then I always feel like I should mark the book up, rather than down, which is why a lot of these ‘average’ books end up being 4 star books for me.
3 star books tend to be books I had quite a few problems with, although really, when I think about it, surely 3 should be the ‘average’ rating? It’s still more than half the maximum 5 stars, which would probably imply that on the whole, my opinion of the book was positive…
And as for 2 stars or lower…there’s only actually been one book I’ve rated as low as a 2 on my blog or Goodreads, and that was If I Stay by Gayle Forman, a book I really, really didn’t enjoy (sorry if you liked that one…I know it was super popular a while back!). Only having ranked one book lower than 3 seems like a really small number, which surely means I’m a little too generous with the stars…
However, at the same time, I haven’t actually read anything I didn’t like so much I DNFed it since I started blogging. I feel like a lot of people reserve the 1 star (or 0 stars!) for books they disliked so much they didn’t finish, but seen as I don’t do that, perhaps it makes sense that I’ve never rated a book that low.
I also think that as an aspiring author myself, I find it hard to rate books down. I know how hard writing can be, and how your work-in-progress is like your baby…so I don’t like the idea of insulting someone else’s precious word baby!
At the same time though, getting low ratings is just part of being an author, and reviewers are entitled to their opinions, as long as they aren’t too vicious in their criticisms. Reviews are there to help other readers decide whether or not to bother reading a book, so it’s really important to be honest about the things you did or didn’t like.
So at the end of this post, I haven’t really managed to come to any true conclusion! I definitely think I’m way too generous with my star ratings, but I also think I’m now just good at choosing books I’ll like (having not DNFed a book in years would imply that right? Or maybe I’m just too stubborn to give up on a book!). A majority of my reviews tend to end up as 4 stars, with the occasional 5 for really amazing books, and the odd 3 for books I enjoyed, but had issues with. These statistics seem kind of skewed, as it would suggest most of the books I read are better than average, but I’m not sure that’s the case…
So I’d love to know: do you think you’re too generous or too harsh with your book star ratings? What qualifies a book for 4 or more stars in your eyes? What rating is an average book for you?