What Do the Star Ratings Actually Mean? Re-defining How I Rate My Books!

by - 09:00


Goodreads is one of my favourite ways to keep track of all the books I've read, how fast I read them, when I read them, and how I rated them when I was finished. When I was looking back over the books I have read this year, I realised I have only one book I have rated 5 stars, and even that was a re-read. And when I scrolled through all the books which I rated 4 stars (there are a lot of these) some of them I thought I would have rated them higher, and some a lot lower. Which got me thinking as to why I give books the rating I give and is it really better to wait a few weeks to see how to book sticks with you before deciding on which star to give it. 

Three-star and down, I think are pretty solid and all the books I give those rates, normally stay the same. But I am wondering if I am too picky when I first finish a book on whether to give it 4 or 5 stars. A few of my 4-star ratings like Strange the Dreamer and Children of Blood and Bone I would say are now some of my favourite books, but they aren't five stars. They are definitely more highly rated than some of my other 4 star books like Empire of Storms or The Wrath and the Dawn, but those two are definitely 4-star books. 

And there are a few I also think need to be lowered. Leah on the Offbeat for example, especially after reviewing it, and Turtles All the Way Down, are books I thought were ok, but I didn't enjoy as much as I hoped. So really they should be 3 stars, not 4? I think these were definitely influenced by what I wanted to rate them, as many other people love them, not by what I actually thought. 

I think I need a better definition of what I think each category means and what a book should do/have to be in them. 


5 STARS: This has an amazing book that as soon as I finish, I want to read it again or move straight onto the sequel. I loved the characters (especially) and the plot with very few faults in the entire book. I very very very rarely give a book 5 stars as I feel this is reserved for my absolute favourite books of all time. I have thought about them a lot even a while after finished them.  

4 STARS: This is a book I really loved, really loved, but I didn't have the same level of excitement needed when reading to give it a 5th star. The characters are amazing but there are a few more faults. These books are what I think most people would rate 5 stars unless they're as harsh as me!

3 STARS: These are good books. I enjoyed reading about them but will probably not pick them up again and I'm not too bothered to continue on with the series. Most of the time I probably will because I don't like not reading the ending but it wouldn't be a priority. 

2 STARS: Yeah, I do not like these books. I most likely found them dull, had real issues with the characters or plot and would not recommend. I probably did finish it as I could still get through it but I wish I had picked up another book instead. 

1 STAR: I have never given a one star on all the books I have on good reads but that probably because if it was this bad, I would not have kept on reading. I can't think of a book that I have read that I think warrants only one star but if there was not, I would warn everyone to never, ever, ever go near this book as it is that bad. 


Hopefully, by expanding what is needed to get a 5 star rating and having clearer categories for me to follow,, when I give a book a star rating, it should have these qualities and reflect more accurately what I thought both whilst reading, as well as after. 


How do you group your ratings? Is there anything you think is essential to a particular star that I've missed? If so, let me know and I'll update my definitions to suit! 


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