I’ve been pondering the star system for rating books that is popular with sites like Amazon
and Goodreads. I often have an initial response to a book, but over time – I find my rating changes. For example, I read a knock-your-socks-off book and realize that it is better than the five-star rating I gave to the book I read last week. Now what?
Much of my rating is based on my emotional response to the book. How did it make me feel? I wonder if there is a more scientific way to judge books consistently? In my quest to rate books consistently, I’ve looked back (and edited) my ratings of 144 books I’ve read since I began recording on Goodreads.
- One star – 4 books.
- Two star -7 books.
- Three star- 27 books.
- Four star – 62 books.
- Five star – 44 books.
Looking at the big picture, it looks like I rate most books a four-star. Which would make sense, because I tend to only start books I’m interested in or intrigued by. I then began to research how others rate books and jot notes on what was most important to me. The below rubric is what I’ve come up with based on what I feel is important.
|10 points||8 points||6 points||4 points||2 points|
|How Engaging is it?||Reading the next page was more important than food, housework or sleep||Hard to put down. Thought about it when I wasn’t reading it.||I could put it down to do other things||It was pure effort and determination to finish||Didn’t finish or skimmed|
|How did I feel about the book?||I LOVED it!! Going on my favorites shelf. I’m a better person for having read it. Want to tell the world about it.||I liked it! I’d recommend it. Probably wouldn’t reread only because there are so many books and so little time||Not bad. Not good Often a good book, just not the right one for me. Gleaned a few nuggets from it.||Meh. Forgettable. Wouldn’t recommend or reread. Evokes occasional eye rolls, gags and sighs.||Awful. Waste of my time. Wouldn’t recommend or reread|
|Style||Beautiful. Precise words. Good sentence flow. Voice. Unique. Memorable. A fine dining experience||Good. Really good. Often just missing that little something extra. The sit down restaurant||Wasn’t detracted or impressed by style. A chain restaurant||Fluffy, forced, not polished or true to themselves. A drive thru – fast food experience||Needs to find a new editor. Embarrassing. Frozen pizza that leaves you with heartburn|
|Characters, theme, plot and setting||Well edited, well-developed characters, the theme leaves you thinking about the book long after you’ve read it||Overall nicely done with only minor issues in one category||Willing to overlook minor weaknesses in two or more areas due to good content or engaging.||Major flaws in at least one area||Author tells me instead of shows me. Sloppy, predictable. Strained plot.|
|Grammar, spelling and punctuation||Well edited||Fewer to no errors. Only subjective or preference issues.||Could have used another set of eyes on the manuscript||Overuse of passive voice or adverbs||Replete with grammar, spelling or punctuation errors.|