I have to admit that lately I feel much more like reading than I do reviewing. Part of that is because I would just rather be reading, but I think another aspect to my reluctance is having to decide what number of stars to give to any particular title or on-going series.
I keep going back and forth on what to do about rating books in my reviews. But I don’t know if it would make sense not to give a rating since it isn’t like it does much outside of indicate my feelings in regards to any given book. After all, a rating doesn’t do much else, and it is unlikely that most people will feel the same way about a book.
A good aspect to a rating system is it often shows a reviewer’s range and often their personality. I would find it difficult to trust a reviewer who gave every book under the face of the sun a glowing review. And it is always in a reviewer’s best interest to be honest about what works and doesn’t work for them. I certainly have no plans on being less than honest on this blog.
The hard part of a rating system is feeling bad mometarily before I hit the Publish button. After all, writing is pretty personal and I don’t think any author purposefully aims to write a bad or unenjoyable book. But then again reading is highly personal too, which is why the feeling bad always passes.
My sole intention in reviewing –and in rating– is to give other readers like myself an idea of what to expect from a book based on my likes and dislikes. I always hope that authors will stay away from reviews, but there’s no way to control that. And obviously I wish for both my sake and the book’s that I could give every book I pick up a 5 or a 4, but it just isn’t always possible. Nor is it possible for me to be Switzerland when I finish a book.
For the most part, I don’t think my reviews would be any better or worse without a rating before or after them. I could, of course, find another rating system to use. That might be worth looking into. More of a sliding scale or maybe some other shape instead of stars. Maybe then I would stop feeling like a very stern elementary school teacher tapping on her desk with a ruler when a book fails to live up to my expectations. But, as per usual, I digress.
What won’t ever change is that when I review, I will express my opinion in as honest and polite a way as possible. All a series of stars does is warn the reader of what is to come ahead of time. When I am debating a book, I read reviews and consider them, but even then I don’t always go along with the majority or minority opinion. And I don’t usually go over to GoodReads, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon and count the stars or symbols lined up next to a book cover.*
I definitely plan to continue thinking about ratings, but I’m curious. If you’re a reader of books and a reader of blogs, how do you feel about ratings? Do they add to the review you read or take away from them? What effect –if any– do they have on your reading choices later on?
* I do sometimes judge a book based on a cover or synposis, but that’s a whole post in of itself.