More than Just a Rating discussion

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questions and discussions > the stars - using GR's rating system

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message 1: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 555 comments Mod
I know a lot of people have very idiosyncratic interpretations of what the star rating system means. I personally like going with goodreads' explanations though because then I feel I'm contributing something useful to the community.

On the third hand, goodreads definitions aren't quite *full* explanations of exactly what I mean. So, here's my version:

1 star. "didn't like it" simple enough, I can live with that

2 stars. "it was ok" for me, this means 'it was just barely ok - really don't have much good to say about it

3 stars "liked it" quite often books I read because others suggest them get this rating - it means 'it really was ok, not v. good, but I don't want to say mostly bad, either'

4 stars "really liked it" most books I choose for myself get this rating - they enriched me, and I have a variety of things that I can praise in a review, and I can find no real fault with them

5 stars "it was amazing" transcends the genre - could be appreciated by people who don't normally read picture books, or science, or poetry, whatever it may be - makes me wish for enough money to buy a copy just to cherish - makes a significant contribution to my thoughts about life & art

So, that's me. How do you actually use the stars?


message 2: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (librovert) I generally follow Goodreads suggestions, though I don't think of it in the same way that Goodreads labels it.

3*s is my neutral ground. I read it, I enjoyed it. There wasn't anything new or overly exciting about it, but I wasn't disappointed by it. I base everything else around that.

1*s and 2*s are books that disappointed me in some way. 4*s and 5*s are books that surprised me in some way.

In a way, I can kind of equate the way I rate books to being graded in a class. If you do the minimum requirements you can slide by with a C and doing more (or less) raises or lowers your grade.


message 3: by Kit★ (new)

Kit★ (xkittyxlzt) For me, 1 Star 'didn't like it' (which I haven't had to use yet) would have to be a really bad book, nigh on unreadable. 2 Stars 'it was just ok', means I was not really impressed, I read the book, and it wasn't awful, but it wasn't good either. Have only used 2 Stars once so far. 3 Stars 'liked it', means it was decent, nice and readable, pleasant in a mild sort of way. Not super remarkable, but still was a good read. I use this one occasionally. 4 Stars 'really liked it', is the one I probably use the most. To me it means it was a pretty darn good book, I really enjoyed reading it, good characters and story, easy to fall into, etc. Not life-changing, but good entertainment. 5 Stars 'it was amazing' is for books that just caught my imagination in the world's best trap, led me on an excellent journey, kept thinking about it when I was not reading it. For characters I'll always love and books I plan on keeping forever and ever. Bonus if it gives me new and/or expanded ideas, thoughts, daydreams, and if I keep thinking about it for weeks and months, and maybe even years afterwards. I only wish GR would give us half-stars! I don't care if it would make rating-average calculations more difficult or whatever, that's what computers are for :)


message 4: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) I follow Goodreads' guidelines and I'm one of the people who likes the skewed to the positive! I do like, really like, or love most of the books I read. 1 is fine for not liking a book. I don't need more than one number for that. I would be a fan of half stars though! But that's what reviews are for, to explain why we rate as we do.


The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) I also like the positive. Frankly I rarely finish books I think are bad, so if I read the entire thing, like it or not, that says something about where it falls on my list 2 or above.

I wouldn't mind places to use the GR rating system in other areas. I read a good tutorial about writing on Ambitious Writers (group) that had everything broken down into nice neat areas of concentration. It wouldn't bother me to be able to rate on a star value for each area and an overall mark. Then free text more about how the book affected me or provoked good/bad feelings and thoughts etc. What I liked is always better to talk about than what I did not like.


Elizabeth (Alaska) 5 stars - made my heart sing in some way
4 stars - good book, which I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with
3 stars - Ok, time wasn't wasted, but nothing special
2 stars - flawed, didn't like it much, probably will ignore the author in the future
1 star - hated it, might not even have finished it


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 58 comments 5 stars-- I loved it.
4 stars-- I really liked it. Keeper.
3 stars-- I was decent/fairly good
2 stars-- I didn't like it/Very flawed book
1 stars-- I hated it.

My average rating is 4.06 stars. Like Cheryl, I like most of the books I read. I rarely hate/dislike a book. I think this is because I do try to screen what I read, and I am looking to be drawn into a story and don't necessarily expect perfection to enjoy one.


message 8: by Karla (new)

Karla 5 stars - "made my heart sing" yes, good description :) Usually it will steer me towards a new interest in a time period or historical events or make me a fan of an author

4 stars - really liked it, but didn't have that extra something that made me go "wow" as I read it

3 stars - It had enough going for it that I kept reading, but still left me feeling "meh" in some spots

2 stars - Technically competent, but formulaic and otherwise no great shakes. These are the books that have me thinking my review might end up being, "This is a book and there were words in it."

1 star - Inferior in impossible-to-ignore ways or, the worst sin IMO, out and out BORING.


message 9: by Lady Jaye (new)

Lady Jaye (lady-jaye) | 12 comments 5 stars - I loved it and it's perfect, and if you disagree, you're just wrong, lol.

4 stars - I really enjoyed it. Few minor things here and there, but it's still tons of fun.

3 stars - it was good. I liked it. A few more problems, but it was ok.

2 stars - I didn't like it. too many problems.

1 star - I hated it and would NEVER recommend it to anyone. Ick!


message 10: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) 5= Super Great Read (I loved it and it has something to offer that makes it stand out over other great reads.) Sometimes this is only personal sentimental value (like the Hobbit).

4= great or good read. This is generally what a good book that had me wanting more is going to get. I really enjoyed it. There may be some sentimental value to this book.

3= fair or good read. Fun to read more than having any profound enlightenment from reading it. A 3 may have some flaws but I can over look them. and little or no sentimental value.

2= I read all of it, but I didn't feel like picking up the sequel, or some parts of it affected me negatively (more than just being sad). I could live without having read this book and may not recommend it to anyone. I might give a 2 to a book that I liked, but I thought it fit a niche that "only military guys" get, or only "aging white guys that look like gully dwarves" would enjoy it.

1= either I couldn't finish the book or it has some things in it that mean I shouldn't recommend it to anyone. Probably just plane bad, but I've seen some well written garbage before. I might give a 1 to a book that angered me for some reason(an injusted to a group or person whom I'm sympathetic too.)


message 11: by Michael (new)

Michael (mikequist1) Here's my approach:

1 star-- This book was so bad I couldn't finish it.

2 stars-- I finished the book, but it wasn't worth the read. Don't make the same mistake. Avoid this book.

3 stars-- I liked this book, but it didn't change my life. Read it if it interests you, but don't feel like you missed something if you decide to skip it.

4 stars-- This was a great book and one I highly recommend. (But not a book that I'd own and read over again.)

5 stars-- Buy this book!!! It's a classic worth re-reading.


message 12: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) by "sentimental value" I'm referring to some sort of personal enlightenment based on my life expernieces, not necessarily I gave it a four cause my mom loaned i tto me. That would be rediculous. I mean anyone in my situation may enjoy the same enlightenment. Perhaps something more than the author intended to say.


message 13: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 555 comments Mod
Oh I'm glad I started this thread. I love *all* of your responses - y'all obviously take care to be thoughtful. Thank you for explaining so well & interestingly!

'made my heart sing' - love it...


message 14: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Walton Grant (tamgrant) | 70 comments I use GR's guidelines in a general way, but I use half stars, rounded up. I also re-read books, so that factors in to how I rate them.

1 star: hated it/didn't finish it, usually accompanied by a ranting review.

2 stars: didn't like it much/big problems with the book. Again, fodder for a snarky review.

3 stars: meh. Usually I struggle with what to say about these ones.

3.5 stars: It was ok, wouldn't re-read it or necessarily recommend it, but it passed the time.

4 stars: Enjoyed it quite a bit, something about it kept me reading. Keeper.

4.5 stars: Loved it, will re-read it, would recommend it, goes on my favourites shelf.

5 stars: Stupendous read, LOVED it, keeper, will re-read it and it goes on my favourites shelf too, something about it is very special. Or like Elizabeth says, "made my heart sing".


Elizabeth (Alaska) Added thought: I don't think in 1/2 stars, but if you're putting those in your review, I find that helpful. What I have chosen to do is say something like "this is near the top of my 4 star reads" or maybe "this is near the dividing line between 3 and 4 stars".


message 16: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Walton Grant (tamgrant) | 70 comments I try to put my actual rating either right at the top or right at the bottom of my review. Then when I pick a star, I round up.

Yours is good idea as well - a good way to find a little more room between the 3, 4 or 5 stars.

I need something more exact (for lack of a better word) than what you've done, simply because if I give myself more choices, I'm gonna waffle about my rating. :D


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 58 comments I do put my rating in bold when I give a half star rating, usually at the bottom of the review.


message 18: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 555 comments Mod
I'm glad we don't have 1/2 stars, even though I often use them in my review. Too much precision would lead me to sit there pondering for too long how to rate the book.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 58 comments I think I am too OCD. I feel like I shouldn't round up or down if I am not close to that lower or higher rating. Must be the scientist in me. :)


message 20: by The Pirate Ghost (new)

The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon) (pirateghost) Heck, a "half star" to me would be a way of indicating if this is at the top of the 3 star pile, the center or the middle. you know.. 2.5 is almost a three, 3.5 is closer to four than a flat 3.0. Give me more room to differentiate and only get more confusing. Generally I just "Say that."

Half stars aren't important enough for me to Lobby for, but I'd use them if they were part of the rating system.


message 21: by Vicky (new)

Vicky (librovert) I don't often use portions of stars, but when I do I don't round them up.

For me, a 2* book can be a 2.1, a 2.5, a 2.75, a 2.999999999, but it still hasn't quite hit the 3* mark yet.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 58 comments I have been known to use fractions, .25, .5, .75. :)


message 23: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Smart, guys! I have mentioned half stars, but now I might get more specific.


message 24: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 555 comments Mod
Oy. Y'all are making my head spin - and I like numbers and math!


message 25: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "Oy. Y'all are making my head spin - and I like numbers and math!"

I do love statistics!


message 26: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 555 comments Mod
Fair enough - we each rate how we feel for ourselves. I'm glad I started this topic so we can get viewpoints like yours.

I do hope you find more treasures though so your average goes up a little! :)


message 27: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Walton Grant (tamgrant) | 70 comments Dan, I find your comment really interesting. Your profile is set to private so we can't see your books, but it really makes me wonder what you read. By that I mean, do you read mostly literary fiction, classic literature, or science fiction, that sort of thing. If your books are all over the map and you rate consistently low then maybe you are, like you say, a critical reader.

Do you enjoy the books you are rating as 2 and 3? Or are you vaguely dissatisfied, feeling "meh"?

If you stick to a couple of genres, maybe trying something completely different might shake up your ratings.

I know if I were to read nothing but science fiction or "literary fiction" my ratings would go down to 2s and 3s as well, simply because I don't really care for them.


message 28: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Walton Grant (tamgrant) | 70 comments That's what I was wondering -- if you were reading books "everyone" says are great as opposed to something you were really interested in. I usually don't like those ones very much, and end up wondering what all the fuss is about (then feel vaguely stupid for not thinking they were a stupendous literary achievement, lol).


message 29: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Walton Grant (tamgrant) | 70 comments Hi Bunwat, thanks for that! Half the time I don't know WHY the classics are fussed about, so like you say I'm usually disappointed in them.

I think I would enjoy them much more if I knew why they were so widely regarded before I started. That way I'd know better how to view it. (I suppose that would be one of the benefits of that post-secondary education that I didn't bother with, and now regret.)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 58 comments I'm a big believer in reading books because you want to, not because you feel you need to. Although I loved English class in school, I'm glad I can choose all the books I read now.


Elizabeth (Alaska) In defense of classics: I read a lot of them, but I often don't know why they're classics, either before nor sometimes afterward. I just enjoy them. I couldn't possibly find myself picking up, let alone finishing, either fantasy nor sci-fi.

But I agree with the sentiments above: read what you like so that you can like what you read.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) (gatadelafuente) | 58 comments I love reading classics, but I don't read the ones that aren't to my tastes.


message 33: by Karla (new)

Karla The best classics editions are the ones with an essay in the front. Usually that puts the book in context and gives the reader something to look for while they're reading it instead of the very unhelpful "This book must be famous for some reason."


message 34: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 555 comments Mod
I inherited a few 'Cliff's Notes' study guides years back, and read them, then tried to read the book they each were annotating. It was helpful. As BunWat says, often context & an understanding of what new ground was broken, etc. is key.


Elizabeth (Alaska) BunWat, we could open a new thread if you like, but this is definitely going off-topic.


message 36: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 555 comments Mod
I'd love to participate in a new thread about reading across a variety of genres - we've seen assorted mentions in several existing topics already so I do believe it would be a good one to start. I'll let one of you start it though, so you can choose the title and set the focus. :)


message 37: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Castillo (mredria) I've got to admit that I don't really have a set method for the star system. I just kind of roll my mouse over the starts and stop when it feels right.
This means I find myself revisiting a lot of my starts saying things like, "2 stars for Beowulf?! Was I high? Four star that fool!"


message 38: by Darlene (new)

Darlene (dar49) | 8 comments My problem is the one I am reading is my favorite. And I agree, if I revisit later I might reconsider.


message 39: by Allisa (new)

Allisa White (allisawhite) That's a really good way to put it Kimberly!


message 40: by Jo Ann (new)

Jo Ann Just curious how do you guys rate a 2 in one book? I am currently reading Inside two novels in one. Since Good Reads only allows one star per book and doesn't recognize that its two books in one. What if you liked the first book but hated the second? I understand in your review you can explain that your giving the first book this many stars and the second this many but you still have to choose a one star rating for both.


message 41: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 32 comments I would do the same with a 2 in 1 book as I do with an anthology. I rate each component and then I average them. When I review them, I would explain that it's an average. For anthologies I usually discuss the anthology's highlights in the review. For a 2 in 1, I would discuss both components, say which I liked better and why.


message 42: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 555 comments Mod
Yes, I have to go with an 'average.' Sometimes it can be very frustrating, and once actually I did just not assign any stars at all and just explained in the review.


message 43: by Edward (last edited Dec 02, 2013 02:59PM) (new)

Edward Lazellari | 1 comments I tend to give very few, if any, 1 stars. I think it's the nuclear bomb of reviews and should be used sparingly. Feel the same of a 5 stars, but have handed out a few more of those. I tend to seek out good books based on friends' opinions and popular consensus, so its not abnormal that I would have more 5-star ratings than 1-star.

5-Fantastic. Well written. Would read it again. Sets itself at the top of its genre.
4-Very good. Would recommend it to others.
3-Okay. Professionally done. Would recommend it to others.
2-Didn't care for it. Would not recommend it.
1-Just bloody awful. No redeaming value. A first-grader with a crayon and toilet paper could do as well.


message 44: by Cheryl, first facilitator (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 555 comments Mod
Heh - I like the way you said that.

I've been thinking more about that 5 star rating since I last posted. I've seen other folks do as you do, which is to give 5 stars to 'top of its genre.' But I'm not sure I can be convinced that the very best sf I've read, or the very bast romance I've read, or whatever, deserves 5 stars *unless* it would also appeal to folks who don't normally read that genre.

So, maybe I'm not rating some books high enough. I do know I have rated an awful lot of books at 4 stars, and some of them are much better than others. It's a dilemma. Thanks for prompting me to think about it again.


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