I’m a tough marker. I’m tough on myself, on my students and on the world around me. It takes quite a lot to really impress me, though sometimes what I do like can be really simple. I apply this philosophy to rating books!
I do like a star rating. Though my review should reflect what I think about a book, I’m not able to, or want to, fully review every single book I read. A star rating lets me know whether I liked a book or not, even without comments if I’ve forgotten details.
I prefer to use half stars rather than simply 1-5. I often feel like a book doesn’t quite deserve one rating, but the next one lower or higher seems a bit unfair as well.
I don’t believe in giving high star ratings just to fit in with the general consensus, or to be kind to the author. I really don’t believe that everyone really loves every book they read, as I have discussed in this post. I try to separate these influences altogether and judge a book on its worth alone and how I felt about it. Sometimes I do go back and change, especially if I feel I was influenced by the crowd mentality or if I’ve thought about the book more deeply and changed my opinion.
The best way I can think of to describe my star ratings is:
1- This book was shite. I hated it. In fact, I would probably throw this out of a moving train and into a festering swamp so no one else can read it again.
2- Meh, it was alright. I finished it. It was amusing but there’s major problems.
3- Less meh. It was okay but had issues that bothered me. I’d still recommend it though!
4- Yup, this book is really good. I really enjoyed this!
5- HOLY HELL EVERYONE THIS IS A GIFT FROM ZEUS HIMSELF
Then half stars kind of fall in between!
I don’t give out 5 stars very easily. Even if I love an author’s work, I’ll give it a lower score if I feel it deserves it.
I’m not in the habit of only giving “literary” books a high mark… if I really enjoyed a book, I’ll give it 5 stars, whether its a trashy romance, a gnarly crime novel or Anne Bronte. If I didn’t like a book, regardless of its calibre in the general scheme of things, I’ll mark it lower.
For some reason that I’ve forgotten, I’ve got into the habit of giving an extra special ranking of a Leo as Gatsby for books I particularly love. They’re generally 4.5-5 star books, but I think I would still give a lower starred book a Leo award if I thought it deserved it for whatever reason!
I absolutely love this scene from The Great Gatsby, it kills me every time I’ve seen it. I got so many angry hushes when I saw it in the cinema and began hysterically laughing, so I think this is a perfect picture to use when I think something is fantastic! Who doesn’t want a toast from Leonardo DiCaprio?!