Rating books – I’ve resisted for years, but I’m caving in and implementing a rating system here at Whimpulsive. I know lots of readers like them and I’m no longer against including them.

It’s actually been a gradual process for me. After years of refusing to assign a rating to the books I read, I blame the beginnings of this on the Book-A-Week Yahoo group. I joined that group in January 2008. One of the requirements of the group is posting a review of our books and including a rating using whatever system we choose. Since I didn’t have a rating system I borrowed one.

I’d been a member of Goodreads for about six months at the time and although I hadn’t been using their 5 star ratings, I decided to go ahead and use their system. It ranges from a “didn’t like it” single star to an “it was amazing” 5 stars. I began with going back and rating the books I’d catalogued on Goodreads (beginning with 2006) and started rating my books but only posting those ratings on the Book-A-Week group and on Goodreads. Over time I’ve become more comfortable with assigning ratings and have even struggled with sometimes wanting to add or subtract a half star (Goodreads does not currently support half stars, but they’re high on the request list).

So now with 2 ½ years of book ratings under my belt I’ve decided to figure out a better definition of what the various star ratings mean to me. I went to my Goodreads bookshelf and sorted by rating. I liked being able to go back and look at all my 1 star books together, all the 2 stars, etc. I think looking at them this way helped me to come up with better descriptions of what my personal star ratings mean.

No stars – I couldn’t even finish it

1 star – I didn’t like it but I managed to finish it. I probably finished it out of some sort of misplaced sense of obligation due to having the book on a challenge list.

2 stars – It was OK. Not good, but seriously just OK. I probably kept reading hoping I would like it better or there was some plot point I had to know the answer to even though getting to that answer was maybe more work than pleasure.
3 stars – I liked it. I didn’t think it was great, but I thought it was good entertainment. Many of the series books I read are in this range – they’re enjoyable, but not great literature. These are books I might recommend, but only if I really know that your reading taste meshes with mine or if you already have an interest in the subject.
4 stars – I really liked it. I really think you might like it too. These are books I’d recommend but maybe with a caveat that ‘it’s not for everyone’. Many of these I pass along to The Hubster. I’m more comfortable recommending these books to a wide audience.
5 stars – It was amazing. I’d recommend this to just about anyone. These are the books that really made an impression and I’ll remember them for a long time. I’ve probably handed my copy to someone or said “you really should read this”.

So – there you have it. I need to put together something on the sidebar so I can keep this on the main page here, but I will start posting a rating at the bottom of my reviews. I’m not going to go back and edit already published posts. My bookshelf is accessible on Goodreads (via the link on the sidebar) if you want to check on how I’ve rated a particular book before today.