Why I Don’t Give Star Ratings

Ratings; some bloggers do, some bloggers don’t. A few months ago I ‘ummm’-ed and ‘ahhh’-ed about a rating system I could use (Cassie of [Witty Title Here] suggesting grade ratings) but I never found the right moment to implemented. Instead I filed the idea to the back of my mind with my other unpolished plans, that is, until I caught Ashley’s vlog on the subject.

When I started ofBooks I didn’t want a rating system, I was discussing books for my amusement – to develop my writing skills – I certainly wasn’t writing reviews. Over the last, almost two, years that has slowly begun to change and I finally feel comfortable labelling my posts reviews. However, I still don’t feel the need to rate them.

Each book I select is judged by different rules and no book is ever treated with identical standards to the last. With each new book I read, each new bit of information I consume, the factors with which I assess a book evolve. My opinions are almost always subjective, and while I am happy to leave a general star rating over at GoodReads (where I do not post reviews) I am not happy to do so here. I often go back over my GoodReads star ratings and lower them, the happy feeling I once felt on finishing diminishing as time lengthens. I do not experience that feeling with my reviews, which are generally written long enough after finishing a book to allow for a more digested and thought out analysis.

To give you an example of the difference,  my GoodReads rating system work as follows:

  • 5 Stars – EPIC
  • 4 Stars – Very Good
  • 3 Stars – Okay
  • 2 Stars – Meh
  • 1 Star – I want those hours I wasted back
  • 0 Stars - I’ve decided not to rate this (for good or bad reasons).

And this works fine for Goodreads, where I don’t need to expand on the generalisation, but in reality books so rarely fall into this basic rating sequence. A book could be slightly better than okay, but not enough to make it very good, there is no allowance for anomalies.

My thoughts, discussions, reviews and ratings of books are subjective, based what I expect of a good piece of fiction or non-fiction. That is the beauty of book blogging, the difference between us and the professional reviewers, our move to discuss the personal connection with the literature we are consuming.

So, dear readers, this is why I don’t add ratings to my reviews – even when I know a great many of you like them.