adjusting my rating system.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my current rating system for books and I’ve realized that it’s time for a bit of a change. I’ve always used the five stars (or rather, five smileys, because who doesn’t love smileys?) because it is what I feel most familiar with, and that basic set-up isn’t going to change. What I will be updating is what each of the smileys means to me personally.

Recently I’ve noticed that I rate a lot of books 5 out of 5. There’s nothing wrong with this, but the problem is that many of these books are not my ultimate favorites. most of them are books I have simply really enjoyed, but they haven’t left any sort of lasting impression on me. I would like a rating system that allows me to distinguish between excellent books and ones that make the list of My Favorite Books Ever (I don’t actually have this list written down, but how cool would that be?) In other words, I am trying to make my rating system more accurately reflect how I feel about the books I read.

My solution to this problem is to adjust what each smiley means to me, as follows:

  • 5 smileys: Amazing. Breathtaking. Memorable. Beautiful. Fascinating. Thought-provoking. Possibly life-changing. Loved it!!
  • 4 smileys: I really, really, really enjoyed this book, but it didn’t wow me or make a lasting impression. Definitely better than the “average” book.
  • 3 smileys: My new “normal” or “average” rating. I enjoyed reading it, but there were also quite a few things I didn’t like about it. It was simply a good book.
  • 2 smileys: This rating can be summed up in a single word: meh. I didn’t absolutely hate it, but I probably wouldn’t read it again or recommend it. It was an okay book.
  • 1 smiley: Disliked it, maybe even hated it. Nope nope nope.
  • 0 smileys: Did not finish (will abbreviate to DNF).

The result of this rating system will most likely be that my ratings overall will be much lower, however I think they’ll correspond more closely with how I actually feel about the books I read. As always, I want to emphasize that my rating is only my personal opinion and that to me the most valuable part of a book review is the commentary or discussion aspect. There is always a “why” behind the numerical rating, and that’s what is most important.

I will be updating the ratings page of this blog with the contents of this post, so feel free to refer back to it if you ever want to.

How do you rate books or content in general? Let me know in the comments section below!



11 responses to “adjusting my rating system.”

  1. I rate closely to your new rating system but I find that stars are such a useless way to convey how good a book is (I love Kirkus’ normal reviews, buy it, borrow it, skip it, and then their starred reviews for the Notable Books).


    1. The Kirkus’ review system does sound really cool! I agree, stars are so vague and I think they’re pretty irrelevant without some sort of commentary or discussion to back up the rating. That’s why I like to review all the books I read- that way people have a better idea of what I thought of it. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your welcome! Hey, at least everyone uses stars. It is the go to for giving a very short review of something…and it’s been working all this time. 🙂


  2. Brilliantly Novel Avatar
    Brilliantly Novel

    I wouldn’t worry about your average rating going down some, most of my ratings are 4 or 3 stars too. I like to save my 5 stars for those books that totally blow me away and that I’m completely in love with. In fact, I’m pretty stingy with them. That way, if I rate something 5 stars you know I mean business! 🙂

    p.s. I love the new look! 🙂


    1. That’s what I’m planning on doing starting now- rating only the books I absolutely LOVE a 5 out of 5. I don’t know why I didn’t switch over to this way sooner, because it makes so much more sense haha. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to change my rating system too, but I have the opposite problem. I have NEVER given a book 5 stars on my blog. I need to do something like you’re doing, I think. Good idea!


    1. Thanks! 🙂 Once I changed it, I felt so much better and excited about rating books this way. Best of luck to you if you decide to change yours as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been mulling over my rating system as well, simply because I feel my ratings have lost their value over the past few years. I’ve considered dropping stars all together from my review, but I haven’t made a final decision. We will have to see! Great post, and I adore the new look of your site! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve thought of dropping my rating system too, but I guess I’ve just become too comfortable using stars as a quick guide to what I felt about a book. I think that would be really cool, though- not many people seem to have made that jump, so it would be really neat to read a blog with only discussion about books and no ratings.

      Thanks so much!! 🙂


  5. […] data I gathered about the ratings I gave books in 2014 is part of the reason why I recently changed my rating system. I rated a huge amount of books 5/5 smileys, when in reality only a handful of those actually made a […]


  6. […] say this book was a three when it was actually a one, so that needs to change. After reading Holly from Nut Free Nerds post about her rating system I realised mine is going to be more or less like hers, except without the […]


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