Awards

Sunshine Blogger Award | 6

Hello, hello! It’s time for yet another award (this seems to be a recurring Wednesday theme recently…). Thanks so much to Emma @ Emma Reads for nominating me!! Emma is one of the sweetest bookworms ever so definitely check out her blog!

1. Kiss, marry, kill: The main characters of the last three fiction books you read.

I’m writing this post well in advance of when it’s going to be posted, so at the moment my options are Klaus Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, Thor from Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, and Jean Valjean from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. This is SO difficult, but I think I would kiss Klaus, marry Jean Valjean, and kill Thor? I don’t want anything bad to happen to any of them, though!

2. Would you rather be an elegant princess/prince type character in a fairytale, or a witchy badass villain?

I know this is stereotypical, but I would rather be an elegant princess rather than a witchy villain. The dress! The romance! The singing! (I’m thinking of Tangled here, people!)

3. You fall into a pit of acid or get bit by an exotic spider or into a verbal altercation with a wizard, and you’re given the power to pull things out of books. Which book are you reaching into first???

WHOA these questions are escalating quickly! The image of a “verbal altercation with a wizard” is hilarious, so let’s go with that scenario. I would probably try to pull out a pie and then throw it in their face because that’s funny and delicious yet simultaneously passive aggressive.

4. You’re being sent to a desert island and you can only bring one book, and it has to be one you haven’t read yet. What book are you bringing?

THIS QUESTION. It’s so difficult to choose from books you haven’t read yet because you have no idea whether or not you will actually enjoy it… but I guess I would choose A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin because then it would force me to finally read start this series.

5. Link your favorite blog post of yours!

No specific favorite post comes to mind; however, I do really enjoy writing the Classic Couple series in which I pair classic literature with contemporary counterparts. More posts in this series coming your way!

6. Which Hogwarts house would you most want to be in, and which do you want to be in least?

I would want to be in Gryffindor the most because I really admire bravery and loyalty, and I would want to be in Slytherin the least because its traits are the least important to me. (For reference, I generally consider myself a Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff).

7. Would you rather have a pet unicorn or grow a mermaid’s tail when you touch water?

MERMAID’S TAIL. FOREVER AND ALWAYS.

8. The last book you gave 5 stars and the last book you gave 1 star?

I actually stopped rating books on my blog and Goodreads a while ago. Click here to read my post explaining my reasoning. 

9. Who’s a popular author you’re just…not that into?

My go-to answer to this is usually Jenny Han. After not being very impressed with the trilogy starting with The Summer I Turned Pretty I’m just never in the mood to try any of her other books.

10. Show you’re currently watching, or last one you watched?

This past term I started watching the first few episodes of Jane the Virgin and it is WILD. I definitely want to continue watching it when I have the time!

11. Picture this: You’re at the altar, about to say “I do” to Cornelius (or Cornelia) Wainwright III, a disgraced businessperson who is only marrying you for your chocolate factory fortune. You dramatically say “I can’t do this” – which fictional character or celebrity do you confess your love to instead?

WOW, what a question! To be honest, I would probably confess my love to Aragorn from Lord of the Rings.

I’m going to pass along Emma’s questions because they were so much fun to answer.

Thanks again to Emma for nominating me and providing the most hilarious, thought-provoking, creative questions for me to answer! ❤

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,
HOLLY

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Bookish, Discussion

Why I’m No Longer Rating Books | Discussion

A book blogger who doesn’t rate books? *gasp!* What is this madness? Allow me to explain.

Lately rating books has felt more and more difficult. I’ve always used the usual 5-star (or smiley, in my case) system, with 1 being horrible and 5 being fantastic. In the past, this has generally been a reflection of my emotional response to a book. Did I like the characters? Did I agree with the characters’ decisions? Was I happy with the ending? Interestingly enough, these questions don’t feel as important to me as they used to. Of course, it’s always nice to have a story end in the way you would like it to end in an ideal world; however, I now feel as though there are more important things to consider when reading. Maybe this is a reflection of my growth as a reader or the fact that studying English literature in college has made me accustomed to thinking about literature more critically. Whatever the case may be, I no longer prioritize my emotional reaction to a book when I form an opinion about it. The emotional response is certainly still a component of that opinion, but it doesn’t solely make up the entire opinion.

At this point, rating books seems rather arbitrary to me. Trying to assign a number that accurately conveys my thoughts on a book has begun to feel like trying to paint a landscape with a single color. So much more influences my opinion of a book besides whether or not I simply enjoyed it. What does enjoying a book really even mean? There are plenty of books that I’ve “enjoyed” that are terribly sad or unsettling or creepy– that doesn’t mean I like feeling those emotions, but I appreciate the fact that the writing was able to evoke those emotions in me. So should we use the word appreciate instead of enjoy? 

(Sorry. I went on a bit of a tangent there.)

In short, I would much rather my book reviews be a sort of discussion of a book rather than a mere justification of why I settled on a certain number rating. I’ll probably still rate some books on Goodreads, but not necessarily if it doesn’t feel like I can easily do so.

I made this post not as a sort of announcement or declaration of this change, but rather as a way to spark discussion about this topic. So please, comment away!! How do you feel about rating books? Is there a certain rating system that you’ve found works best for you? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

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!

Yours,

HOLLY

Rambles

on rating books.

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!

Yours,

HOLLY