Most people are familiar with the standard way to rate books- 5 is the best book ever, 1 is not even worth looking at. I don’t know how or where or when this system was developed, but it’s been driving me a little crazy lately.
When I rate books, my mind doesn’t really categorize them into five groups. For example, in my mind there are low and high 4s, and just because I give a book a 5 doesn’t mean it’s on my list of The Best Books Ever. The way I rate books also varies depending on how long ago I read the book. Right after I read a book my mind is usually whirling and swirling with random thoughts about it. The rating I give it then will most likely be very different from the rating I give it when I’ve had some time to organize my thoughts and really think about what I read.
Now, I’m not saying that the 5-star system isn’t useful, because I believe that in some cases it is. Let’s say you want to quickly know whether people think a book is AWFUL or FANTASTIC- then the 5-star system is probably pretty useful. But what I don’t like about it is that it doesn’t tell you why people feel that way. Did they love it because of the writing? The characters? The pace of the plot? Or was it a more personal reason that wouldn’t necessarily directly relate to you? If you’re someone who takes the reviews and opinions of others into consideration before decided to read a book, then these things can be very important. And the 5-star system simply isn’t complex enough to encompass all of those components.
So what I’m trying to say is this: if I rate a book 3 out of 5 smileys, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t read it. On the other hand, if I give a book a perfect rating, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll love it just as much as I did. To me, the most important part of a book review is the justification for the rating itself. Without the words, all that’s left is a number out of 5- and where’s the fun in that?
What’s your opinion on the 5-star system of rating books? Let me know in the comments section below!
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