How I Rate Books on Goodreads

Thursday, March 09, 2017

This is a post that has been hanging out in my drafts folder for too damn long. It's seems appropriate to preface it with a little: 


I doubt you would have bothered even glancing at this post if you weren't already a book nerd anyway, but either way consider yourself warned.

I don't hate the star system, but without 1/2 stars as an option it doesn't always accurately portray my true feelings about a book. I've mostly been avoiding the star system on the blog by categorizing books as, "Worthy of My Shelves," "Borrow It," and "Skip It," but I'm starting to thinking that while that is telling, it also doesn't provide a completely accurate picture. 

A few years ago I decided to make my approach to rating books more mathematical in nature. I sat down and thought about what I look for and want from different types of books. 


For most fiction books I look for the following:

Quality of Writing
Pace
Plot Development
Characters
Setting
Enjoyability
Ease of Reading (Listening)

If it's clear that the fictional piece is attempting to make a statement of some sort or is attempting to persuade my way of thinking about something then I'll also consider that as another category of sorts.


For Non-Fiction I typically look for:

Quality of Writing
Enjoyability
Ease of Reading (Listening)
Insightfulness
This is NEW information to me!

I assign each category a rating of 1-5, based on the meanings the Goodreads scale provides and then calculate the average. The average then becomes my star rating. Since there isn't a half star, if I end up with a rating that would require a half star I round up if I really liked the book or down if I didn't. 

I like to give every book about 50 pages to suck me in, but sometimes that just doesn't happen. At that point I move the book to one of two exclusive shelves that I've created. There is the "DNF" shelf for books that I never want to accidentally pick up again and the "Taking a Break" shelf for books that I think I may like at a different time/phase of my life. 

For my next reading recap post I'll include both my star rating as well as my 3 categories so that you can see how they work together. I obviously take reading way too seriously.

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