Discussion: What’s A Good Rating?

Rating a book can be very difficult sometimes. Obviously we all know that a five star review is amazing and a one star is dismal, but where do the ‘just average’ books fall? This topic has been on my mind a lot recently, as I’ve seen some bloggers that I respect and really like have said that they “don’t trust” people who only give positive ratings.

But I’ve always thought the whole concept of a positive rating is just subjective. Or is there actually a star rating that is universally considered “good”? Not great or bad, just good.

Then the other day I was just minding my own business on GoodReads when someone messaged me out of nowhere and accused me of being an uncritical reader because my average rating for books is so high (3.77 on GoodReads, out of 1114 books).

How Dare You Gif

I have written many (many) four and even five star reviews that include criticisms of the book. So come at me like that and I will go full Mindy Kaling on your ass. #youhavebeenwarned

Now obviously this person was just a disgruntled and rude internet person, but these kinds of accusations aren’t exactly uncommon in blogging. People evaluate books differently, but sites like GoodReads attempt to standardize that by calling three stars out of five a ‘good’ rating.

But to that I ask: if you were an author and someone gave your book three stars, would you think that was a good rating? I doubt it.

I’ve heard some people explain their frequent three star reviews by saying that three out of five is actually a very good score, but I can’t agree with that. Three out of five is 60%, people. That means that almost half the book was a failure!

At the end of the day, if I got a 60% on an assignment for school or on a performance review at work I would be upset (understatement). Now obviously reading doesn’t impact on my livelihood but it is my #1 hobby and I’d like it to be awesome more than 60% of the time. That’s why I avoid some books even when they get crazy hype…I can tell from other people’s reviews or even just the synopsis that I wouldn’t love them.

So if I give a book three stars, the book was enjoyable enough to continue but largely a disappointment.

My university undergraduate program required a lot of reading and I need to read for work, so when I read in my spare time it’s really important to me that I don’t waste my time with books that I won’t enjoy.

That’s not to say that I won’t push my boundaries with books that are outside my comfort zone, because I do. But those books are carefully chosen based on recs from trusted friends and people with similar reading habits to mine.

When it comes to blogging and the books that I read in my spare time, I’m only interested in reading stellar books or at least books that I find fun and unique. A “good” book for me is a 3.5 star read, period. A 4 star is really good and 5 stars is don’t even talk to me about that book because I will just squeal unintelligibly before I’m able to say anything articulate.

Bottom line: when it comes to fiction, I only read a book if I think it has the potential to be a five star read.

What do you consider a “good” rating? What do you think constitutes a critical review? And most importantly, is my rating system crazy? I don’t know, please tell me!

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