The Next Best Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Fiona (last edited Jan 30, 2009 05:13PM) (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) So how do you allocate stars to your books?

What does makes a one star book as opposed to a two? A four star book to a five?

I think I dish out five stars a little too easily so I want to review my stars. (I wish we had half stars!)

I mean some books I give five stars but I wouldn't allocate them to my favourite shelf.

The books I give two to I usually label as 'not-worth-the-time' which means I've read them but found them boring.

One stars are in my 'utter-rubbish' shelf are usually ones I couldn't complete or just plain hated even if I did.


message 2: by Kandice (new)

Kandice I also give out 5 stars way too often. I feel if the book kept me entertained and reading, I should reward it in some way. There's not really a way to differentiate between, say, Twilight, and Memoirs of a Geisha. (I gave 5 stars to each)

If I liked it, but found it easy to put down, and wasn't dying to find out how it ended, 4 stars.

I give 3 stars to books that I feel were well written, I just didn't really enjoy. Sometimes when I feel like I was SUPPOSED to like a book, but just didn't-3 stars.

I give 2 stars when I really struggled just to pick it back up. If I somehow muddled through, despite not really wanting to.

I only give 1 star to books I just could not finish.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

5 stars are well writen, utterly amazing & I will most likely read over & over again. couldn't put down, brillant and loved.

4 stars I loved the book written well. Kept me very interested and might read again.

3 stars good book.

2 stars okay would never read again.

1 sucked! shouldn't have been published!


message 4: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 1000 comments 1 star-I absolutely hated the book and wish I never read it.

2 stars-Ehh, I made it through but wouldn't recommend it

3 stars-Ok book, might tell people to read it, but nothing special

4 stars-Liked it a lot but missing just a little something to be considered a great book

5 stars-Absolutely loved it!


message 5: by Vicki (new)

Vicki I am a bit stingy with the 5 stars... they are only for books that "sweep me off my feet."

4- I loved the book, but lacked that something extra the five has. I have given a lot of these out recently.

3- It was good, but maybe not substantial in some way.

2- it was ok, but wouldn't recommend it.

1- didn't finish.. there has only been three so far.


message 6: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) 5 star: Absolutely loved it, will read it again and again.

4 star: Really enjoyed it, will probably read it again, but I wasn't head-over-heels.

3 star: Enjoyed it, might read it again in a pinch. Well-written but missing that spark that calls to me.

2 star: Wasn't thrilled. Boring, poorly written, failed to get to the point (or failed to even have one- I'm looking at you "The Andromeda Strain"), made me fall asleep, whatever. I also use two-stars a lot for books that I didn't finish but feel that I didn't give enough chance to.

1 star: Hated. Loathed. Despised. Couldn't finish because I felt that my brain-cells would all join together into an angry mob and lynch me if I did.


message 7: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Ha ha, Becky... I particulary liked your 1 star comment...


message 8: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Yeah, unfortunately there are some books out there that make me feel like that! But only two so far (so there is still hope!), Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About & The Cider House Rules.




JG (The Introverted Reader) I give too many 4 stars. I'm not too generous with the 5 stars, but for me 4 stars sort of say "I liked it average." 5 stars are loved its, 3 stars are liked its, so 4 stars are somewhere in the middle.


message 10: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4891 comments I don't often give five starts or at least not easily.

1 star is a book I hate, don't want to read it anymore and really thought it was bad.
2 stars are for books i didn't really like, jsut went through them and couldn't wait till it was finsihed but I don't concider them one of the worst books I ever read, like i do for the one star.

3 stars are the jsut normal books. They aren't bad, they aren't really goos. It is just a book. I read them without much emotion and then it si finsiehd and that is it.

4 stars is for the books I enjoyed, thought it was really good and would want to read same kind of stories. These are the most books that I read. The ones i really thought were good.

5 stars..well it are those books i think are special, did something to me and i concider them as treasures. So they just go completely above all the other books and are a section on their own. They touched me in a special way, they absorbed me and made me not function very well after reading it. the ones I could reread over and over again. The ones that are good to read every single second of my life.

So my four star books are the most common ones.



message 11: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Oh Jeane, Well said about the five stars.. I think thats how I feel, and unfortunetely haven't found too many of them.

Becky, I have Cider House Rules on my shelf, I picked it up when it was a group read and never got to it.. I hope it doesn't do attack my brain cells in the same way :)


message 12: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I made it about 120 pages Vicki... Presumably it gets better later on, but the lynch-mob just wasn't having it.




message 13: by Robin (last edited Jan 31, 2009 10:48AM) (new)

Robin (RobinSullivan) | 1002 comments The problem is what the "stars say" doesn't match up with my thoughts on them. 3 stars - to me means a "mediocre book" but when you mouse over it it says "liked it". To me "liked it" - woulud be a 4 star book. So what do I do...there are many books that I like but if I give them all 3's it looks like I didn't. This is a great post - people should put in their "profiles" so you can better interpret their shelves.

Definitley would want 1/2 stars and i know this is on the suggestion list for future releases.



-- Wife of GR author Michael J. Sullivan: The Crown Conspiracy (10/08) | Avempartha (04/09)




message 14: by Robin (last edited Jan 31, 2009 10:46AM) (new)

Robin (RobinSullivan) | 1002 comments Vicki wrote: "I am a bit stingy with the 5 stars... they are only for books that "sweep me off my feet."

4- I loved the book, but lacked that something extra the five has. I have given a lot of these out rec..."


Woot !! You gave Michael's The Crown Conspiracy 5 stars !! - knowing you rank this way makes me all the more pleased!!




message 15: by Laura (new)

Laura | 56 comments Add me to the list of wanting 1/2 stars! It would be a nice way to give a little more exactness to your rankings.


message 16: by Hayes (last edited Feb 02, 2009 06:44AM) (new)

Hayes (hayes13) no one is contemplating the "0 star" option, which I use for books that I abandoned and/or felt were totally useless.

1 star: abandoned books that had some little thing I liked, even if it wasn't enough to keep me hooked to the end.
2 stars: finished but didn't thrill me.
3 stars: liked (trying to keep with the level that goodreads is suggesting), would recommend, but won't rave about.
4 stars: really good, would recommend, rave about.
5 stars: like Jeanne, these have to be incredibly absorbing, touching, moving or meaningful in some way.

I may have to go back and give my books a going over to see if I have mis-starred any...



message 17: by Heather (new)

Heather (hsditto) I stress out over these crazy stars! I'm always contemplating what I will rate a book as I'm reading it. I tend to assign the stars based on the same criteria you all use. What drives me crazy though, is trying to figure out what to rate books that I read awhile back that I don't remember exactly how I felt about them. Like the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell...I read these back to back a couple years ago, and I know there were ones I enjoyed more than others. But for the life of me, I can't remember which ones they were! And as for the ones I read in high school, I have no clue other than a vague impression of whether I liked it or not. It's terribly stressful to try and rate these books that my memory fails me on. I hate to assign the wrong rating!


message 18: by Alisha Marie (new)

Alisha Marie (endlesswonderofreading) | 715 comments I tend to rate my books due to how they were in their particular genre. For example, I would rate a certain chick-lit book five stars if it was better than the other chick-lit books I've read so far. So, it makes sense to me, but if some people stumble against my bookshelf they must think I'm crazy for rating a book like The Spellman Files with the same rating as Fahrenheit 451. But my ratings work for me.


message 19: by Kandice (new)

Kandice Alisha-I do the same thing. Like, I rate the Sookie books 5 stars, because I love them, but I am fully aware, they are not great literature! Seems a little unfair when a huge undertaking (for the author) like The First Man in Rome also gets five stars. It makes sense to me, though:)


message 20: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I do that too. I don't think its fair for people to base their rating only on literary value. There are tons of books that I love that have a whopping 0% literary value.


message 21: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) If you enjoy it, it should get a 5 no matter what literary value.


message 22: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) Fiona wrote: "If you enjoy it, it should get a 5 no matter what literary value."

Right!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments I think this is my scale:

5 stars: loved it unreservedly.
4 stars: not quite in the 5-star class, but a first-rate read.
3 stars: the average read.
2 stars: decidedly below average, probably with some significant problems.
1 star: No. Just no. A book that gave me little or no pleasure to read.

And I have a separate shelf of "hated it" for the few that have really earned my ire, worse than just a simple 1 star rating.


message 24: by April (new)

April (escapegal) | 130 comments I stress over stars. It's the one system that I'm unhappy with here at Goodreads. Once I've read a book, I write my review before I give the stars. Then I contemplate a little and sometimes change my rating a time or two before I make my final decision...like the author is going to hunt me down and say, "WHAT??? You gave 5 stars to Eating Your Way Through the Galaxy but only 1 star to my masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged????? Are you INSANE???"

Yes, apparently, I am.


message 25: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) You're not insane April. I rate based on my enjoyment of the book, not what the distinction of the book seems to expect. So what if its a classic? Did you like it? Can you rate that liking on a scale of 1-5? There you go!

If you're insane, I think we're all insane. ;)

...Well I know I am. I'm ok with that.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments I have no fear about giving "classics" 1 star.

I gave that ranking to Romeo and Juliet.


message 27: by Anita (new)

Anita (tigergirl) | 45 comments Fiona , I agree I wish we could give half stars. I have only given Karen Kingsbury books five stars.



Allison (The Allure of Books) (inconceivably) 1-Could not finish.
2-Finished but didn't particularly enjoy and wouldn't recommend it to anyone
3-It was decent, might recommend it to someone, but probably won't read it again
4-Super good, will most likely reread and recommend
5-Hello. I love you.


message 29: by Robin (last edited Feb 02, 2009 11:47PM) (new)

Robin (RobinSullivan) | 1002 comments I would love to have a checkbox for HIGHLY NOT recommend. There is really no 0 stars just means you didn't rank it. And sometimes 1 star is just not "small enough".

-- Wife of GR author Michael J. Sullivan: The Crown Conspiracy (10/08) | Avempartha (04/09)



message 30: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 26 comments I am a little tough on how I dole out stars. I try to go with what the star notation actually means according to goodreads, therefore the majority of my books are three stars, which means I liked them, but they're wasn't anything particularly special or genius about them. Five stars only go for my absolute favorite and one star is for if I thought the book was atrocious.

I completely agree with the need for half stars though!


message 31: by Angela (new)

Angela | 1934 comments I also agree with the people who rank books based on genre. Maybe a chick-lit could not compete with say Book Thief, but if the chick-lit is very good I will give it a five star, even though it feels strange to give fluff five stars.


message 32: by Robin (new)

Robin (RobinSullivan) | 1002 comments Lisa A wrote: "I am a little tough on how I dole out stars. I try to go with what the star notation actually means according to goodreads, therefore the majority of my books are three stars, which means I liked ..."

Lisa - you have a really cool Avatar -- where is that from?




message 33: by Ed (new)

Ed (ejhahn) | 193 comments Awarding stars is easy. It's a personal reaction and choice. Even the description of each level suggests that the rating should be personal; all having to do with liking it or not liking it. I don't see my ratings as evaluations of the books but rather a message about my personal preferences, which may or may not be shared by others.


message 34: by Robin (new)

Robin (RobinSullivan) | 1002 comments That's a good point Ed. Sometimes a rating is not an opinion on the "worth" of a book but just how you felt about it. People's tastes are varied and sometimes a book could be good but not "just your cup of tea". I felt that way for Stardust - I didn't rate it highly but its not a bad book it just didn't fit for my likes/dislikes.


message 35: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) But isn't "how you felt" about a book its "worth" to you? I think it is. There are books on my shelves that are straight fluff that I love and cherish.

I base my ratings on whether I enjoyed the book and whether I'd read it again. That's all. :)


message 36: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarai0989) I don't stress too much about the stars, and in fact get quite annoyed at people who spend most of their review waffling on about the stars and how many they would LIKE to give the book and how many they would give it if there were HALF stars, blah blah. I think there is enough of a difference between 'liked' and 'really liked' to make my exact feelings known, and if not I explain why in the review. End of story.

Apologies to any half-star campaigners out there, it's just become a bit of a pet peeve for me....


message 37: by Cassie (last edited May 05, 2009 04:24PM) (new)

Cassie (cassielo) | 42 comments I categorize my starring by:

5 stars - will love it forever
4 stars - liked it a lot
3 stars - decent
2 stars - readable
1 star - got a headache/nausea from reading it

I do ardently desire half-stars, so I can differentiate between books that almost made it to the next star level.


message 38: by Allison (last edited May 06, 2009 06:24AM) (new)

Allison i've been meaning to go back and re-do some of my stars.
when i first joined, i tried to stick with what goodreads said the stars meant, but that really doesn't work for me any more.

if i don't finish a book, i don't rate it. somehow, i don't think that's fair to the book. i just don't feel i can rate the book as a whole, if i didn't read the whole thing.

1 star: finished it, but hated it.
2 stars: it was sub-par. i didn't hate it, but i will never ever reread it.
3 stars: the book was okay. not bad, but not really good.
4 stars: i enjoyed the book, but somehow didn't make a personal connection with it. it was a good read, but it didn't stick with me afterwards, or it wasn't a page turner.
5 stars: the most amazing books i've ever read. this could mean 2 things: i couldn't put the book down at all. it sucked me in and all i wanted to was read it. or, i felt that the book was written for me. once i was done, it stuck with me, and i couldn't get it out of my head, because it made that connection.

however, i do have a bookshelf for classroom books. this shelf does double duty. it's my wishlist & record of books i already have. the books that are starred means that i have them, and then starred according to readability/appropriateness for my room, not necessarily what i thought of them. the unrated books are books that i want to add to my classroom library.


message 39: by GracieKat (new)

GracieKat | 864 comments I try not to give one star unless it is a book I absolutely loathed. Two usually means it wasn't anything special but I didn't keep it or won't read it again. Three is an average beach-day read and four and above are generally my favorites.


message 40: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 163 comments I almost never give five stars. Most of mine are threes. I'm easily pleased, but only the books that linger get five stars.


message 41: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) I try not to be overly generous with the stars, because my rating will affect whether I reread a book... And I don't want to reread a book unless it's PRETTY DANG GOOD.

I mostly follow the goodreads definitions:

1 star: Didn't like it/Hated it - I don't have many of these, as I try to find the good in the books I read... But books some just suck.

2 star: Okay. Mediocre. Could have been WAY better. I wanted to like it, but it was blah.

3 star: I liked it. GOOD books. Not great. Average books.

4 stars: I loved it. GREAT books.

5 stars: AMAZING. Had a little extra something that made it stand out among the 4-star book. Usually it's not quantifiable... It's just something in my gut.

The majority of the books I've read are 4-star books. I love to love things... Plus, I read a lot of easy-to-love books: romance novels, chick lit, YA fiction... :)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1736 comments The vast majority of my ratings are 3 stars.


message 43: by Angela (new)

Angela | 1934 comments Sara from TX- I agree with your ranking system with the exception that I give books I do not finish 1 star. There have been a few I have started, which I realize may be really good books to others, but just not my cup of tea, so I just take them off of my 'books' shelves. Most of my books are probably 4 stars, regardless if it is chick lit, YA or suspense. I am pretty stingy with the 5 stars now, but when I first joined GR, I gave a lot of books 5 stars that I had read awhile ago that I probably would not have if I had just finished them.
Also, I find that I go here as soon as I finish something and I rank it, but later I will be thinking about it and I find that I changed my mind. Sometimes it is good to let a book settle in.


message 44: by Sara ♥ (last edited May 06, 2009 01:20PM) (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) Angela wrote: "Sara from TX- I agree with your ranking system with the exception that I give books I do not finish 1 star....

I've only read one book (lately) that I wasn't able to finish, and I gave it 1 star.

I try not to be toooo generous with the 5-star ratings... But I also have a bookshelf called "favorites" that I put my very very tippy-top favorites in. I have a lot of 5-star books that don't meet my VERY STRICT criteria to qualify them for that designation. (Okay, it's mostly an emotional response as opposed to some sort of rubric...)


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