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What Else Are You Reading? > What makes a 5 star book?

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message 1: by David Sven (new)

David Sven (gorro) | 1582 comments I joined Goodreads and S & L a couple months ago because I was looking for reading ideas and liked the idea of getting recommendations based on books you liked and how they were rated etc. Since joining S & L I haven't had much cause to use the Goodreads recommendation system because I'm already inundated with ideas and suggestions from the group.

That being said I've started rating books and have found that the star rating system on Goodreads doesn't give a lot of room for fine tuned rating. I also have a problem where there are some books I read that are by far better written than other books and are enjoyable to read but I still find sometimes I preferred the "not as well" written book and could read more from that author as opposed to the "better" writer.
For example - The Lord of The Rings I loved when I read it. And its a classic. Has to be 5 stars right? Except when I think about it, I have no desire whatsoever to ever reread the series and can't be bothered reading "The Hobbit" other than the fact that I feel I probably should. While something like Stephen Kings "Dark Tower" Series, while not as ground breaking, not as well edited, not as well written - I could reread over and over and have and before I joined the group was thinking of starting another re read of.

I've settled on reserving 5 stars to books I would definitely re read regardless of "quality" of writing(Dark Tower, Bernard Cornwalls "Warlord" and
"Saxon" series, Song of Ice and Fire)
4 stars - books I really enjoyed but would probably not re read but I would definitely seek out other books by the same author.
3 stars - books I enjoyed but wouldn't read again and not particularly interested in other books by the author.
This leaves Lord of The Rings as a 3 - but I think I enjoyed it more than a 3 really reflects so it bumps to a 4 - which puts it on par with Scott Sigler whose Nocturnal also gets a 4 because I want to read his other stuff for sure even though he's no JRR Tolkien by any means.

So I'm interested in how other people "rate" their books - Is it by enjoyment or on how well written the book is or some other criteria? And does it make the "recommendation" system work in looking for books you would be interested in.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

The first few adult SF books read at age 12-14 -> 5 stars


message 3: by Micah (new)

Micah (onemorebaker) | 1071 comments My guidelines

5- Loved the book. Wether I read it one time or 10 it's based on a love of that particular title. may or may not re-read it.

4- Liked the book a lot. Glad I read it. Probably wouldn't re-read for many years.But I enjoyed it. Would for sure check out something else by this author.

3- Liked the book enough. Not in love with it probably would never re-read it. Would probably recommend it but with some caveats

2- Read it. Finished it. Didn't really enjoy it.

1- Either hated it or lemmed it.


message 4: by Felina (new)

Felina I rate based on how I feel. I don't consider myself well read enough to know whether someone's writing is good or not. I judge how it made me feel. Which is why you should never take a general rating on GR as the end all e all. Everybody rates on a different scale.

For instance, I would consider the DT series to be considerably better written and better edited then the Lord of the Rings. DT gets a 5 an LOTR gets a 2.5 or 3.

There are a few books that I gave 5 stars too after I finished it but that didn't feel 5 star worthy down the road. And vice verse. I've been known to change ratings months and years later.

But as a basic scale...

5 stars - Amazing. Moving. Great writing and great characterization. definite reread. (example: The Lions of Al-Rassan)

4 stars - A good time. Good writing. Good story. Everything is good.

3 stars - Pretty standard. A good time waster but not really engaging. Meh by definition.

2 stars - No good. Decent enough to finish but an author I'll never read again.

1 star - Total trash. Couldn't finish.


message 5: by Kim (new)

Kim | 477 comments I rate purely on how I enjoyed the book. I'm not fussed about the literary merits or the quality of the writing as long as the story is good.

5 stars is a book that I couldn't put down, I enjoyed from start to finish and that I would recommend to everyone.

4 stars is a great book with just some minor issues that stop it being a 5 star. This is my most common rating for books I enjoy.

3 stars is a decent read, nothing spectacular. If it's the first of a series I might continue but I wouldn't feel I had to. It was average.

2 stars is my common rating for books I disliked. Nothing to recommend in it, it was boring or big plot issues but at least I managed to finish it.

1 star is the lowest of the low. A horrible book not worth the time it took to read one page. If I am forced to give up a book due to how bad it is that's an automatic 1 star.

As for the rating not allowing fine tuning enough I agree. But GR management have already said they won't be changing it. So for those times I feel I want to rate it using half stars I'll put that at the top of my reviews. Star ratings are for a quick look at how I felt but the real information is in the reviews.


message 6: by Micah (new)

Micah (onemorebaker) | 1071 comments Felina wrote: "There are a few books that I gave 5 stars too after I finished it but that didn't feel 5 star worthy down the road. And vice verse. I've been known to change ratings months and years later. "

Just curious as to what would initiate a rating change? Re-reading it? or just seeing it again and deciding it wasn't as good as you thought it was?

I ask because I have to fight an instinct in me that wants to change ratings sometimes. I figure I rated it that way for a reason and maybe it was a time frame thing as to why it got 5 or 2 stars. The only time I will let myself change a rating is when I re-read something.


message 7: by Kim (new)

Kim | 477 comments As for books like LOTR I gave it a 5-star rating because I loved it when I was young and it was my entry into high fantasy. Would I rate it differently if I read it now? Most likely. But until I do reread it I will rate it based on my memories of it.


message 8: by Space (new)

Space Council (spacecouncil) | 109 comments same as my netflix ratings

1 - hated it
2 - didn't like it
3 - liked it
4 - really liked it
5 - loved it


message 9: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 919 comments I rate a book depending on how I enjoyed the book or how it stimulated my mind, or both since I'm addicted to mind stimulation. I also rate a book based on how effective it is within a genre, though I personally do not find the book stellar.

For example, I am not a big YA fan, but if I think it would be enjoyable for chldren, I give it a high rating. My daughter helps me with that. The Hunger Games, I personally find subpar and obvious in its trying to hit the teenage angst, but my 10 year old daughter and her friends are crazy for the series, so I gave it 4 stars, minus one for myself, since I rolled my eyes at the obvious devices put in it. The YAs I remember truly enjoying are the Mary Poppins and Harry Potter series. I prefer imaginative, humorous and whimsical in a YA.

Most of all, books that get my mind turning, all bulbs turned on, imagination and wiring burning with connections, gets bronzed and treasured, and become tops in my favorites. House of Leaves is my #2 book of all time, second only to the Complete Work of Michelangelo. The Michelangelo book is a sentimental favorite since I begged for it as a teenager and it set my passion for art. HoL was great not only did it have tons of elements I'm interested in, but because of the emotion it stirred in me through the tragic story and horror. It is an absolutely brilliant work that is one of a kind, courageous in its throwing together of difficult elements, yet in the end pulled together marvelously.

Oh, geesh, I can't stop talking about that book.

Anyhoo, how I rate:

5 stars-Got lost in the story. It stirred my emotions. Or/and, it intellectuallly stimulated my mind and imagination. I learned something compelling. My mind is better for having read it. I admire the book and wish I could write like that. I'm not worthy.

4 stars-I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but probably won't remember it a year from now since I chew through books.

3 stars- A "C" book. Acceptable. I appreciate the effort. I definitely won't look back at it.

2 stars - I appreciate the effort and don't find it objectionable, though mediocre and flawed.

1 stars - I hate the book. Stupid idea. I definitely do not agree with the content. I want to burn the book. I can't believe this book got published and fooled everybody.


message 10: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 919 comments I also added another rating level. I know it doesn't help with the Goodreads rating, but my Favorites shelf is my truly top rated books. There are 5 stars that doesn't go on my favorites shelf. Books I acknowledge were really good, but didn't touch me. Then there is the Favorites shelf, books that I admired in the story telling or stimulated my mind.


message 11: by Skaw (new)

Skaw | 116 comments 5 stars: I loved the book. It was AWESOME. I will gush if the book is mentioned. Its possible I may own more then one edition of this book.

4 stars: It was a really good book. It kept me riveted to the page, and I cared about its characters.

3 stars: It was an enjoyable read.

2 stars: Meh. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't good either. There is a likely chance there was some skimming involved.

1 star: Abominable. Horrible. There are pits reserved in Hell for the author of this book. Burning is too good for this book. Better it be peed on by a cat and allowed to slowly decay.


message 12: by Mark (new)

Mark Catalfano (cattfish) Skaw wrote: 1 star: Abominable. Horrible. There are pits reserved in Hell for the author of this book. Burning is too good for this book. Better it be peed on by a cat and allowed to slowly decay.


HA!

well i guess I'll go with:

5 - If I read it and was like, oh man why is this over?
4 - I liked it, but it didn't make me want to dance. Probably my most common rating
3 - Meh. Usually used when I have no opinon or i'm too lazy to rate
2 - I didn't like it, but I can see why other people might
1 - Skaw wrote: 1 star: Abominable. Horrible. There are pits reserved in Hell for the author of this book. Burning is too good for this book. Better it be peed on by a cat and allowed to slowly decay.


tee hee


message 13: by Felina (new)

Felina Micah wrote: "Felina wrote: "There are a few books that I gave 5 stars too after I finished it but that didn't feel 5 star worthy down the road. And vice verse. I've been known to change ratings months and years..."

For example, The Time Travelers Wife. At the time I read it I rated it 5 stars. My memories of it don't hold up to that rating and I think it is because of the circumstance at the time. I was actively reading and discussing it with a friend of mine and that process made the whole book much more enjoyable. But I don't think the book merited that rating and it certainly doesn't deserve to be on the shelf with the other books that I have rated 5 stars. Plus, I'll definitely never read it again.

On the opposite end take The Passage. I originally rated it 4 stars but I have thought about that book so many times in the 2 years or so since I read it and I find myself checking the release date for the sequel often. There are long stretches of that book that are emblazoned upon my brain like scenes from a movie I've see a hundred times. That definitely deserves a promotion and I very much want to read it again and maybe before the next one comes out.

I think some books are good or bad based on who you were as a person when you read it and what was going on in your life at that time. Unless I hate a book (cough...Twilight...cough) I usually won't completely give up on something. It might suck but it also might not be the right time.

Plus, I think its okay to compare past 5 stars to current 5 stars. If I thought something was amazing 5 years ago but it doesn't compare at all to whatever I'm reading now I reserve the right to change my judgement.

But this rarely happens. I think I've done it 4 times since joining GR.


message 14: by Casey (new)

Casey | 654 comments David Sven wrote: "So I'm interested in how other people "rate" their books - Is it by enjoyment or on how well written the book is or some other criteria? And does it make the "recommendation" system work in looking for books you would be interested in."


What makes a 5 star book?
It must remove me from reality and reshape my perception of time.

So far the recommendations from Goodreads.com have been around 80% true, so I'm pretty happy.


message 15: by Charles (new)

Charles | 248 comments Different people will have different criteria.

And what exactly that is can't be transparently conveyed through simply ratings. It's why I tend to prefer written reviews, because it gives me a better sense of the reviewer and what they liked about the book.

It could be both. Or for some, reservations and qualifications might make them hold back on giving a book five stars, even if they enjoyed it.


message 16: by David Sven (last edited May 29, 2012 08:18PM) (new)

David Sven (gorro) | 1582 comments Skaw wrote: "1 star: Abominable. Horrible. There are pits reserved in Hell for the author of this book. Burning is too good for this book. Better it be peed on by a cat and allowed to slowly decay. "

Ha Ha! Ironically, this is exactly how I felt about one of my favourite books, Game Of Thrones, when they (view spoiler). But thats what made the book great. It was able to evoke some strong emotion from me.

I get that 5 star generally means AWESOME. What I guess I'm asking is WHAT makes it awesome or re readable.
I had to think about this. If I want to re read something then obviously it must have been awesome for me. But then there are some books I think were awesome but have no desire to re read.
I've narrowed it down to books that generally are able to evoke some strong emotion from me - though I appreciate and enjoy clever/smart writing, the emotional connection carries more weight.
I've narrowed it down further again in that there has to be a single prominent character that appeals to my alter ego - You know, the guy you change into when you step into the phone booth and come back out again with cape and mask and undies on the wrong side of your trousers. And said alter ego has to be given opportunity to pose in the imagination with some powerful snap shot moments. For example if it was Dirty Harry then the snap shop moment is when he points the gun and says "Go ahead. Make my day!" or "Do you feel lucky punk. Well do ya!"

So in the Dark Tower its Roland Deschain (and at times the other characters but mostly Roland). So when my alter ego pops out the phone booth the first thing he does is thumb back the hammer of his six shooter and quotes the gunslingers creed which ends "I do not kill with my gun; He who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father. I kill with my heart."
In Bernard Corwell's "Warlord" series its Derfel in the shield wall cursing and spitting and grunting as he tries to gut his opposite number with "waspsting." And there was also some especially satisfying moments where Derfel gets some personal vengeance. So in this case out of the phone booth comes Derfel dress in full war gear, dirty and bloody and he comes out dragging a druid by the hair saying something like "your soul is mine druid."
Again in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon stories it would be Uhtred son of Uhtred of Bebbanburg.
Game of Thrones there was Ned Stark. Then in the next book it was (oddly) enough Tyrion - No, I don't have a Dwarf fettish but his political mastery of the Game of Thrones as "the hand" did appeal to my alter ego. Perhaps he could come out of the phone booth bitch slapping Joffrey or something. More seriously though - Tyrion's snap shot moments would mostly be him sitting down as he totally destroys the man on the other side of the table with words.

Hyperion didn't really have that. I loved the story. I really loved the clever writing and plot development and all the discoveries you make during the series - A great read and I'll be checking out Simmons other books - but there was not any one person who I would farcast out of the phonebooth with so probably not a re read.
Tigana (so far) DOES evoke regularly emotional response. Quite strong at times and the writing is well done and clever as well and very easy to read so this is a five star even though I don't imagine myself as any particular character - I am still intrigued by ALL of them - so this one breaks the rule. I could imagine myself easily re reading this one again.


message 17: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) I personally rate books based upon a number of criteria. Among other points, there is plot, characterization, prose, pacing, success of intent, personal enjoyment. (This is for fiction. Non-fiction is rated to a different set of criteria.)

A 5-star book doesn't have to rate high on all points I mentioned above, but it has to come very close. Like Aloha said, it need to stir me, move me, stimulate me intellectually, make me tremble with excitement, and make me desire to get the entire world to read it. This isn't a rating I give lightly.

An example: Stories of Your Life and Others

4-star: This needs to rate high on more than half the criteria I mentioned above, though allowed to have flaws. Its not perfect, but its still rather high and I'll enthusiastically recommend it to others.

3-star: Still a good book. I don't necessarily have to have enjoyed it (though I usually do). Has some flaws, but was still successful on one or two points.

2-star: I neither liked or dislike this book. Won't manage to rate high in any of my criteria and may have failed in a few. Usually completely forgettable.

1-star: This book has failed in a bad way on so many levels. Even if the book has managed to rate high in one area, it has floundered and sunk in all of the rest.

Surprisingly enough, the books I tend to reread most often are rated as 3 stars (with a smattering of 4). Some of my favorite mac and cheese books fall under that rating. :)


message 18: by David Sven (new)

David Sven (gorro) | 1582 comments Random wrote: "Surprisingly enough, the books I tend to reread most often are rated as 3 stars (with a smattering of 4). Some of my favorite mac and cheese books fall under that rating. :) "

This is the problem I'm finding - there's a disconnect between what I would normally call "good/great" books and books I actually like enough to re read.
Why am I rating books I really enjoyed below books I thought were better written? After all, at the end of the day, the only opinion that counts in regards to book quality (to me) is mine.
So I guess I'm trying to skew the Goodreads recommendations to my taste (with limited results) which is why I was thinking about it.


message 19: by Stuart (last edited May 29, 2012 11:39PM) (new)

Stuart (stuartellis) | 47 comments My criteria is that I only give 5 stars to a book if it doesn't have any technical flaws. Even a really good book only gets 4 stars from me if there is an obvious fault in the writing, so some of my favorite books don't have 5 stars. My feeling is that there are so many good books out there that the top rating should only go to the very best.

I've just been reading the Iron Druid series (Hounded, Hexed and Hammered), and they are excellent. The author wanted to write to entertaining urban fantasy and he definitely succeeded. They are a new favorite of mine - I liked them so much I started rereading the first one after I finished the third.

I only gave them each 4 stars, though, because the author doesn't write female characters very well, and the dialog that he writes for old supernatural characters is way too modern. It didn't feel right to me to give them the full 5 stars.


message 20: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) David Sven wrote: "This is the problem I'm finding - there's a disconnect between what I would normally call "good/great" books and books I actually like enough to re read.
Why am I rating books I really enjoyed below books I thought were better written? After all, at the end of the day, the only opinion that counts in regards to book quality (to me) is mine."



In my situation, I reread those 3-star books because they do one or two things well and they are easy. Easy being the big thing here.

For example: I make a wonderful home made vegetable beef soup from scratch. I make the broth from scratch from beef bones and the whole process can take me two days. I use fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, and the end result is something wonderful. but, as I said, it can take me two days.

On the other hand I also make a vegetable beef soup that is much simpler. A large can of V8, some pre cut up stew meat, toss in some vegetables (frozen works if fresh isn't handy), and a couple of hours later we have soup. Its good in its own right, and can be satisfying on a cold winter's day, but it doesn't hold a candle to what I make from scratch.

If given the option, I'll take the soup I make from scratch any day, but the other is easier to make. The first I may only make once or twice a year. The other I make a couple times a month.

The 3-star books I reread are like that soup. They do well on a couple of points, but overall they are easy to read. They may not be exceptional on any specific point, but in the end when its been raining for 2 months straight and you can't remember the last time your feet were dry, a bowl of soup that didn't come straight from a can with some fresh made bread sticks hits the spot.


message 21: by Nimrod (last edited May 30, 2012 10:21AM) (new)

Nimrod God (nimrodgod) | 273 comments I agree with a lot of what you all have said, but for me, I don't ever think about whether I would recommend it or not as some books may have content that would not be liked by others. (Hard Sci-Fi for instance). The ratings are my own opinion, and are meant to help goodreads give me recommendations, so writing style or themes have nothing to do with it.

That being said, this is my scale.
5 = LOVED IT! Could Not Put It Down. Now make it a movie!
4 = Enjoyed It, but not particularly in love with it.
3 = Read it, thought it was good, but I wasn't blown away.
2 = I read it, but I might as well have lemmed it.
1 = I lemmed it, or I finished it only because I had to read it.


message 22: by Kev (new)

Kev (sporadicreviews) | 639 comments To me, 5 stars is the perfect book. As a result, I will rarely rate something a five - because there's always room for improvement.

I do find myself contradicting myself sporadically though, if I really loved a book and think everyone else should go read it too. (though I'll try to rate those 4 stars, or 4.5 stars, or 4.75 stars DANG YOU GOODREADS for only allowing whole stars!)


message 23: by Kim (new)

Kim | 477 comments I don't really reread books no matter how much I enjoy them. I just don't have enough time. I've already got a to-read list to last years and I'd rather read new books instead of ones I've already read.


message 24: by Skaw (new)

Skaw | 116 comments David Sven:

I don't really consider re-reading when I rate a book. Odds are if I 5 star a book, I will probably re-read it at some point. Some of my favorite books I've read 11 or 12 times (hello The Warrior's Apprentice) and I'll probably read again. But that isn't always so.

Some of my 5 star books, I remember with fond delight, but may or may not read again. They still live, however, in my mind. I care about the characters almost as if they were real people. When reading a 4 or 5 star book, I will re-read good passages several times to wring the last drop of enjoyment out of them. If someone bothers me while reading it, I will be annoyed and depending on particular place in the plot, possibly violent.

That is what elevates a book for me. Whether or not it sucks me in and takes me to a whole another world. If my analytical brain is working at all, then then book has failed to pass a 3 star rating and may fall lower.

Does this answer your question better?


message 25: by David Sven (new)

David Sven (gorro) | 1582 comments Skaw wrote: "Does this answer your question better? "

Perfectly yes. And its probably how I tend to lean myself.


message 26: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 919 comments Some books are so complex that it's not really a re-reading, more like a closer look. I need to go back to House of Leaves because I doubt I got the full content of the book the first time around.


message 27: by Tom (new)

Tom | 24 comments Five star books generally for me are books that leave some sort of lasting impact. It may have nothing to do with the writing or quality of the book. Some may just be timing, the right time to read that book.

I haven't had much time to reread may books, too many that I want to read.


message 28: by Sean (new)

Sean (politicalgamer) | 20 comments Personally, I'd leave out the reread category. There are people, like me, who can't really reread a book no matter how good it is.
With that in mind, a five star would be something that is fantastic. It doesn't necessarily have to be flawless, but it still has to be something that makes you a fan of the work.
Four star is that you consider it a great work, but there's either some noticeable flaws or it isn't a "must read."
Three I consider average; not bad but not really great. It was at least a good effort.
Two is in the bad territory.
One is something you should avoid.
Zero is the worst of the worst.

Trouble is, it's all really one's opinion. No matter how you look at it, a five-star book has to be among the best you've read.


message 29: by Stuart (new)

Stuart (asfus) | 67 comments Sporadic Reviews wrote: "To me, 5 stars is the perfect book. As a result, I will rarely rate something a five - because there's always room for improvement.

I do find myself contradicting myself sporadically though, if I ..."


I think I largely agree with you.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Tom wrote: "Five star books generally for me are books that leave some sort of lasting impact. It may have nothing to do with the writing or quality of the book. Some may just be timing, the right time to read..."

That's how I see it as well.

The books I've five starred aren't all flawless or perfect or anything of the sort. They're simply ones that, for some reason, made an impact on me or changed how I think.

Four stars = really good
Three stars = decent
Two stars = meh
One star = godawful
One star + shelved as WTFery = So full of bad that the snark must flow.


message 31: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2481 comments Nimrod wrote: "I agree with a lot of what you all have said, but for me, I don't ever think about whether I would recommend it or not as some books may have content that would not be liked by others. (Hard Sci-Fi..."

I vote this way too. Whether I think someone else would like a book does not factor into my rating. It's all about how much I enjoyed the book. Even if a book is piece of pulp trash it will get a high rate if I couldn't put it down. Conversely, a piece of literary genius is not going to get a high mark if I found it unengaged and boring.


message 32: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 919 comments Since enjoyment of a book is personal, as I discovered from constantly jumping genres, I usually will read a book recommended to me by people who have similar tastes or who are aware of my reading preference. I discovered that even with jumping genres, I have preferences within each standard. Also, my reading taste can change according to what I'm currently into. When I tried Revelation Space, I thought it was boring and lemmed it. A friend recommended it based on my recent interests in robotics. Now, I will pick it up and probably will finish it to see the technology illustrated in the book.


message 33: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) AndrewP wrote: "I vote this way too. Whether I think someone else would like a book does not factor into my rating. It's all about how much I enjoyed the book. Even if a book is piece of pulp trash it will get a high rate if I couldn't put it down. Conversely, a piece of literary genius is not going to get a high mark if I found it unengaged and boring. "

I can't say for others, but for myself, when I say that I'll recommend it to others doesn't mean that's a criteria for the rating but a result of my enthusiasm. :)


message 34: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 2269 comments Ala wrote: "The books I've five starred aren't all flawless or perfect or anything of the sort. They're simply ones that, for some reason, made an impact on me or changed how I think."

Five star books are the ones that I'm not going to pretend to be objective about -- they speak to me on a level such that I may recognize their flaws but I don't care.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2859 comments 4 stars is an A.

5 stars is a "recommend to everyone (if I think they can handle it), write a fan letter to the author (did this immediately after finishing Palimpsest), buy copies to give away, and reread" book. Mine are rare.


message 36: by Edward (new)

Edward Brock (edbrock) If it meets these 3 criterion, it gets 5-stars.

1) If the world disappears while I'm reading it.
2) If it remains in my thoughts when I've finished.
3) If it calls out to me to return again & again.


message 37: by Kim (new)

Kim | 477 comments Edward wrote: "1) If the world disappears while I'm reading it.
2) If it remains in my thoughts when I've finished.
3) If it calls out to me to return again & again. "


Your book may be possessed. You may need to see an exorcist or Harry Potter.


message 38: by Paul (new)

Paul Harmon (thesaint08d) | 639 comments I reserve 1's for absolute garbage with no redeeming value. Things That when I read I wanted to beat up the author and burn every copy of the book...that kind of hate. Things Like Twilight or Tim Tebow's "biography" yeah right.
5's Are Books that I adored and have or will re-read only it wont get a 5 if it's not re-readable Things Like to Kill a Mockingbird, The Keep, Christine, Ready Player One
2's are books I finished but are very forgettable
3's I enjoyed but wouldn't recommend to friends as a first choice.
4's Are books I love but fall just short of NEEDING a re-read


message 39: by Robert (new)

Robert (robwriter) | 11 comments 5 = I Loved this book would read again if I had nothing else to read.
4 = I really enjoyed this book.
3 = I liked this book.
2 = Didn't care for this one too much but trudged through it, constantly checking to see how much more I had to read.
1 = Disliked this one so much I just stopped reading.


message 40: by Been (new)

Been | 125 comments It seems my own ratings go along fairly similar lines to everyone else.

5 stars: I absolutely friggin loved it! If I finish a book and I just want more, it goes here. If it's the sort of story that completely wows me with story telling or makes me ponder it for days after finishing it, then it goes here. I try to be somewhat conservative when I can and only put the books that I REALLY enjoy in here. Dune ended up here, as did Ready Player One.

4 stars: I really liked the story, storytelling, etc. Generally this is where all my good reads go.

3 stars: This was either a book I only sorta liked, or liked quite a bit but had issues. I put Snow Crash into here despite enjoying the main story because the storytelling just felt so damn wonky. Otherwise it would have been a clear 4 or 5.

2 stars: Didn't enjoy it too much, but nothing to write home about. If I finish a book and I forget about it instantly then it's usually a 2 star. This is where I dump most of the books I didn't really enjoy.

1 star : Absolutely hated it. I'm generally so forgiving with books that there's very few books that I drop into this category for me. The only one that sticks in my mind is Dexter in the Dark which utterly ruined the series for me.


message 41: by Malin (new)

Malin (maline) | 17 comments It seems a lot of people feel similarly to me about this.

5 stars: I loved the book. I want to tell everyone I know about the book. Possibly, while reading the book, I got shivers down my spine because of how much I was enjoying it, and I may or may not have wanted to crawl inside the book and live in it. This doesn't mean that the book can't have flaws, it's just that my intense love for it, makes such flaws irrelevant. The book may have made me feel strongly emotional, either happy or sad. Books I've given this rating: Kushiel's Dart, Alphabet of Thorn, The Lions of al-Rassan, Code Name Verity, Unraveled, The Fault in Our Stars

4 stars: I really liked the story, storytelling, I will happily seek out more books by this author. I enjoyed the book a lot, but I may not try to make everyone I know read the book with a near missionary-like zeal. Unless I had specific niggles with a book I've read, and liked, it gets this rating. A Song for Arbonne, City of Golden Shadow, The Drawing of the Three, Guards! Guards!

3 stars: I book I liked, but might not be bothered about re-reading, any time soon or ever. It didn't have anything particular in it that really wowed me, and took it up to 4 stars, or it may have had flaws that meant I didn't feel right about rating it so highly. The Magicians, Fair Coin, Shades of Milk and Honey, The Nine Tailors

2 stars: Didn't really like it all that much, or it mostly bored me, but finished reading it. The book will have had some redemptive features that meant I didn't completely hate it or lem it (It takes A LOT for me to lem a book). Won't ever re-read it, and if it was a book I owned, probably gave it away to charity rather than let it take up precious space on my bookshelves. Queen of Kings, Midnight Never Come, Eat, Pray, Love, Never Let Me Go

1 star : I really couldn't stand it, and quite possibly lemmed the book. May only have read it to the end because it was a set text for a university course, or to desperately try to find something good in it. Will actively warn people away from the book. Her Fearful Symmetry, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Lolita, Villette, The Aeneid


message 42: by Chad (new)

Chad | 7 comments when i give something 5 stars its because I couldn't stop thinking about it hours after i have taken a break for the book.


message 43: by John (new)

John Wiswell | 86 comments I'm not big on ratings. Numerical ratings are so inarticulate and don't even objectively attach to one's excitement level with much nuance. I like that Goodreads assigns a statement to each rating. 5 is "it was amazing," so if it the novel amazes me, that's what I click.

Things in that category have to captivate. If I routinely catch myself staying up past midnight to read on, even if I dislike the book, that's something I have to grapple with in the review. The most recent book that got 5 from me was Mieville's Embassytown, which had enough meaty theory, interesting language and alien mechanisms to keep me bound up all along. I didn't like everything that happened in it or all that came out from it, but I recognized all the levels it worked on inside me and both rated and reviewed it accordingly.


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

a 5-star for me is a book that I don't want to put aside while reading, and when I do, I can't wait to pick it up again. It doesn't matter if it's a book I'd read again or not.


message 45: by Rambler (new)

Rambler (theawkwardrambler) | 13 comments I suppose it boils down to personal preference, but I suppose what makes a book five star worthy is when it sucks you completely into the book's world and makes you never want to stop reading it, or at least makes you want to reread it again immediately.

If I finish reading a book thinking "That was amazing." then it's a pretty safe bet what I'm going to rate the book, hehe.


message 46: by Kamil (new)

Kamil | 372 comments a 5 star book is one that had a perfect mix of characters, world creation, plot, descriptions and dialogues


message 47: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2481 comments Anything I give 5 starts to I will recommend to anyone who I think might be interested.

A 1 star book I will bash at every opportunity and probably the author too.


message 48: by Walrus (new)

Walrus | 80 comments 5 Star Books, that's tough. I gave 5 stars to the New International Version of the Bible but only 4 stars to the New Living Translation, but I don't know how to explain why.


message 49: by Ty (new)

Ty (Dubhsidhe) | 14 comments 5 stars: One I WANT to reread, and draws me to more work by the author. These are books I usually reread once a year. (example Daniel K Moran - Emerald eyes)

4 stars: Definite reread but not looking for the author's other work. OR might not re read but will look for more books by author.(example Laurel K Hamilton - Lick of Frost)

3 star: Enjoyed the book but am unlikely to reread. (example David Eddings - The Ruby Knight)

2 star: Finished it but am unlikely to EVER pick up another work by the author. (example Kathrin Ramsland - Piercing the Darkness)

1 star: I lemmed it. I think I have only ever Lemmed 2 books that I can recall. (Stieg Larsson - The girl who played with fire)


message 50: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 34 comments I am a fairly easygoing reader, and I manage to find something good in nearly everything I read. I also have a tendency to reread a lot of books - mostly because I sometimes find I have nothing new, and I go back to something I enjoyed before.

A 5 is hard for me to pin down. It's a book that sucked me in, made me care about the characters, and threw me an unexpected curve ball or two. The characters have to be fleshed out and complex - and, even more importantly, I have to be able to, on some level, understand why the villain is doing what they're doing. And opposing the villain has to be something that forces the character to sit down and really think about why they're doing what they're doing - or at least if it's worth the cost. 5s can usually bring me to tears. I remember crying in Changes when (view spoiler)

A 4 is a book I thought was good, but failed to really evoke a strong emotional response. I think the Jill Kismet series by Lilith Saintcrow are all really solid 4s. The characters are believable, as are the villains, and the plot of each book is exciting and well-paced. They tend slightly towards the predictable, and I have a few small quibbles with the ending, but overall - great stories, and I would recommend them to anyone who likes urban fantasy.

A bad ending can really kill a book for me, too. I absolutely adored The Dark Tower and The Coldfire Trilogy, but I thought the endings of both were kind of weird and stupid and bumped the books down from 5s to 4s.

A 3 is a book which entertained me, but had some problems. The Dragonlance series is a good example of 3s. The writing is good, but not great; the characters are interesting but all fall neatly into categories; the story is good, though straightforward and without much nuance.

A 2 is a book which I didn't really like. Interestingly enough, the 2s are the books I'm mostly like to lem. Glen Cook comes to mind - I like his characters, and his setting is pretty interesting. But enough. With the sentence fragments. 2s are just boring.

1s are books I hated. I'm more likely to finish a 1 than a 2, because I want to see if it's really that bad, or I'm hoping that the ending will redeem the author. Russell Kirkpatrick's Right Hand of God trilogy comes to mind, so does Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair. Usually, it's not bad writing or bad plot that gets me - 1s are usually books which are seething pits of sexism, racism or pro-military jingoism.


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