Rating books

Shannon Hale has posted some pretty interesting questions on her blog about book reviews, particularly the star rating system at Amazon.com/Goodreads.com etc. Scroll down to the comments which also provide some insights.

When I first started writing this blog and writing my reviews (or rather pasting my reviews from Goodreads) I decided not to share my star ratings because it is so difficult to decide what the star ratings mean to me. I have rated Pulitzer Prize winning books as 4 stars where I’ve rated chick lit novels as 5. My rating has a lot to do with my general impression of a book and how well I believe the book accomplished what it meant to accomplish.

In her blog post, Shannon Hale argues that: “Even ‘bad’ books, even books I just couldn’t love, or even like, can be fascinating to me. They change the way I see the world too. Just like the old adage–what you dislike most in other people is what you dislike the most in yourself–I believe that what I dislike most in books highlights some of my own fears, insecurities, worries, and prejudices.”

I agree with this statement, but wonder if she’s over-thinking it a bit? I mean, I read star ratings to see if I want to read a book and leave star ratings so that my friends relatives can decide whether they want to read a book or not. For me, it helps me decide for myself whether I would want to read the book again or not. I like to re-read books but two years from now when I don’t remember a book, it’s helpful to re-read my review/star rating to decide which book to bother re-reading.

that being said, it’s more helpful to see the star ratings of friends and relatives than say, random strangers on amazon.com (though goodreads raters seems to have more useful star ratings I find than amazon.com raters).

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