Why I’m Quitting Ratings

Posted June 8, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 0 Comments

fiction-genre-cloud-600x312Rating books is too hard, how can I give five stars to a book like Frankenstein, which is my all-time favourite novel and give five star ratings to other books like The Sense of an Ending, Super Sad True Love Story and The Marriage Plot. Sure I love those books and will reread them when I get a chance but really they are not on the same level as Frankenstein. Five Star ratings are the easiest ratings too, imagine comparing books with a 3, 3 and a half or 4 star rating. There are books there that really are not worthy to be sharing the same rating as others. Ratings are personal, often changing and are never really a true reflection of what I think about the book.

When I starting book blogging I thought a star rating is a good TL:DR way for people to see what I thought of a book but I’ve come to the realisation that maybe they do too much harm than good. So after weeks of wondering what to do about ratings I’ve decided to quit them for my blog. I probably will still rate books on Goodreads, but that is because that community is based more around ratings than reviews. It’s not an accurate representation and who knows I might quit rating there as well but I think it’s time to say goodbye to ratings on this blog.

In all honesty I would love to quit genres as well but as a literary explorer I think they need to stay, just so I knew which genres need to be focused on. My problem with genres is most books don’t fit neatly into a single genre and sometimes categorising books become too damaging. For now the genres have a place, unfortunately, but I don’t think ratings anymore. I’ve looked around the book blogger community and see a lot of blogs that don’t rate books and I think they have the right idea; trying to pick a rating for a book is hard and often it changes from day to day. I feel like I’m passionate about books and like to try and pick at books and write what I like and don’t like about a book then you see the stars and think the review doesn’t match that rating.

So let’s see how the blog goes without rating the books, if you want to know what I think of the book read my reviews or if you are lazy, check my Goodreads page. I feel like this is the right decision and I even think it is a liberating step as well. I don’t want to be constricted to telling people what star value a book is worth, read the book and find out for yourself. I rather talk about what I liked or didn’t like about each and every book.

0 responses to “Why I’m Quitting Ratings

  1. Arenel

    I think that it’s a right decision, it’ll give you more freedom in the review format and will not put any additional constrains on you 🙂 I personally keep ratings for Goodreads page, where I tend to be rather generous with 4-5 stars and never add them to reviews, as this is totally personal and sometimes not very connected with the content and the quality of the book…

    BTW, commenting here is a hell of a process, I needed to register somewhere, it took me nearly 5 minutes… Maybe there is some way to make it easier for lazy readers? 🙂

  2. Brenda Telford

    Rating is definitely a personal decision, after all, it’s your own personal opinion about a book. I like to look at the star rating first as it often determines whether I’ll bother to read a book or not. Also you find with some books in particular, there is a love/hate relationship with reviewers (one that comes to mind is Gone Girl)
    When I’m reading a blog review, I will often go straight to the bottom to see what rating has been given before I read the review.
    To each his own…enjoy Michael 🙂

  3. Amy

    It’s definitely an interesting way to look at it, and I certainly know where you’re coming from – I started using the starring system less and less on my Goodreads because it felt so subjective and the more I read the more I felt like I’d starred incorrectly on a lot of books in the years previous. I far prefer to tell individual people whether I think they should try reading a certain book or not…

  4. Violet

    It’s a tricky thing. I use ratings on GR because that’s part of the GR deal, but I don’t rate books on my blog. I sometimes change my GR ratings because my feelings about books change. I have mostly 4&5 star ratings on GR because I abandon books if I don’t like them. Although, it is quite satisfying to give 1 star to a book I loathed. 🙂

  5. frellathon

    Its totally your blog you can change as you see fit and I totally understand on the rating. I don’t rate myself only on sites like goodreads and amazon. I prefer to explain what I liked or disliked and why.

  6. Kim

    I recently debated over this very thing. I almost always forget to rate a book when I’m writing a review for it on my blog anyway — and you’re right, it’s just so hard to do. Some 5s aren’t the same as others, like you pointed out.

  7. I’ve had a number of reviews that didn’t match the rating that I gave them (they happen to be books that I rated 3 and below). I understand your point in feelings for books changing over time; even our thoughts on them can change on second and further readings. I don’t think it would damage anything if you stop rating books.

    I just follow the descriptive ratings at Goodreads (I didn’t like it, it was amazing, et al) and although they are not accurate reflections of my feelings, at least I get to somehow organize the books that I really love. I used to wish that there were half and quarter star ratings, but I guess that’s not really the point. For me, rating books is more about gauging whether I’d reread a book or not than ranking the books in my library.

  8. Marg Bates

    I’ve gone back and forwards on the question of ratings over the years. At the moment I am rating, but who knows when that will change again!

  9. Marie

    I think it’s a good decision. Like you, I rate on Goodreads because I kind of feel like what’s the point otherwise, but on my blog I don’t bother. I regularly spot old reviews on my Goodreads account and think ‘what was I thinking giving X a five star rating?!’ and downgrade, or the opposite when a particular book has grown on me over time. It’s impossible to condense everything you feel about a book into a single number.

  10. Mish

    As a reader of your blog, or any other blog for that matter,
    Yep I think you’ve made the right move. I’m actually finding myself reading the
    whole post now where as before the star rating would give me an indication as
    to how you feel about the book so sometimes I would skim through posts. Does
    that make sense?

  11. Akilah

    I don’t rate on my blog but rate on Goodreads. On the flip side of this discussion, I hate when people rate on Goodreads but don’t even give a hint about why they rated that way. My Goodreads reviews are super short, yes, but they still tell WHY I gave a book the star ratings I did.

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