I've been wondering for awhile if I should start implementing a ratings system here at Angieville. The intent would be to give readers a slightly clearer idea of how well I liked (or disliked) the books I review. So I wanted to get your opinion on the matter. What do you think? Would a ratings system help? Stars? Scale of 1 to 10? What are your favorite book review rating systems and would you like to see one here?
I can't quit Jennifer Echols . Not that I really try that hard, but I read her new ones and often feel as though I'm still searching for that one in possession of that certain something that will make me feel the way Going Too Far did. Like I couldn't put it it down. And definitely like I didn't hate either of the main characters after the fact. Well, I found it with Such a Rush . I read this 300+ pager in a single night, which clears up the question of whether or not I couldn't put it down. And I finished it definitely not hating either of the main characters. I didn't finish it loving them both unreservedly, though. I loved Leah with my whole heart from page one and that never changed. My feelings regarding one of the Hall brothers remain complicated. More to come on this in a bit. On a side note, I'm delighted that Such a Rush is Ms. Echols' hardcover debut. It's a meticulously designed book, a pleasure to hold in my hands as I stayed up way
I like rating systems especially on sites that review a wide variety of genres. I think that it makes it clearer what the rating means.ReplyDelete
i like stars. although 1-10 gives more options...overall i think a rating system would be awesome. my only beef with goodreads' star system is i can't give half stars. i would love to give some books 3.5 stars.ReplyDelete
I hate rating systems. I like a much more qualitative review of stories. I judge a lot of writing contests, and it's always hard to say, well, I give a 10 for dialogue but a three for plot. If the problems of the plot outweigh the brilliance of the dialogue, the final book is going to be much closer to three than to 10.ReplyDelete
Additionally, I feel that a forced rating system sometimes is going to assign an unconscious ranking system to things. For instance, I could love something that is heartbreaking but wonderful to read, like HOW I LIVE NOW, and never want to read it again, and might rank it higher than a book that maybe was something light and fluffy, but that I liked so much I'll probably read it over and over for years to come. Or vice versa. And it's really apples and oranges.
I also sometimes wonder when I see ratings on reviews why one review that is raved about gets a lower rating than another review where the actual words of the review seem "meh". One person grades on a curve?
And yeah, as a writer, I wonder that too. Why does one review get criticism and many stars and another review is all praise and no stars? rankings and scores are so meaningless in that case.
Most seem to do 1-5 stars, but I like the idea of 1-10 better. (That's how the IMDB rates all their movies and I think it's more accurate.)ReplyDelete
L. Diane Wolfe
I think it comes across pretty clearly how much you've liked a book (or not) based on your review already, so I don't really mind whether you implement one or not.ReplyDelete
I admit to skimming a lot of reviews for books that don't really interest me at first glance, and skipping straight to the grade before deciding whether to read further or not. That's usually for lengthy blog posts though, and yours are pretty concise.
The most useful rating scale I've seen (and therefore obviously not one I use!) is along the lines of "Buy the hardback", "Wait for the paperback", "Borrow not buy" etc. To me, that's something that can be applied pretty consistently because it's based on what you would do, as opposed to thinking "Hmmm... would this be a A- or a B+ read for me?" and judging it on how you feel at that point in time. It possibly addresses Diana's "apples and oranges" point as well.
I would use this myself, but then I would have to apply this retrospectively and I'm too lazy at the moment...
Some rating systems are cute but to be honest I will always be more interested in what you have to say than what you score.ReplyDelete
I second what Diana said.ReplyDelete
..., yeah and I want it to be clear.ReplyDelete
alisha, I have the same issue with GoodReads. I love it but occasionally it is hard to assign a whole number. :)
Diana, thank you for the well-thought out response! You've articulated better than I could several of my issues and concerns about implementing a rating system. The heavy and heartbreaking book of your life (HOW I LIVE NOW=perfect example) vs. light and fluffy standby re-read is a great example. Thank you.
L. Diane Wolfe, I agree. 1-4 is too limiting.
Li, that's good to hear. :) And there doesn't seem to be much point in writing the whole review if all people do is skip to the end. And I'm guilty of doing it plenty! And the buy/borrow category is a good one to keep in mind.
Hagelrat, well put.
Charlotte, thank you. I think I'm going to keep things the way they are. I'm really grateful for the feedback.
I hadn't been using a rating system in the past but since I joined Goodreads, at the end of my reviews I show what I gave the book on Goodreads just to be consistent. But I agree with alishka babushka that I don't like not being about to give a half star rating also. Because sometime for example, I would like to give a 3.5 instead of a 4. So, I might discontinue adding the Goodreads rating to my reviews.ReplyDelete
On the whole rating system idea, I much prefer to read what someone has to say. Because I've notice some people will give a raving review and give the book a B or a 7, so it's a bit confusing when I see this.
Personally, rating system don't mean very much to me. I like to actually read the reader's review and find out all about what they liked or disliked. I think, if you're a good reviewer, how great the book is will show through your enthusiasm to review. I liked Li's suggestion of "Buy the book", "borrow the book" etc..ReplyDelete
Yeah, what Diana Peterfreund said.ReplyDelete
Also, what would you do if you enjoy a book you don't think is well-written? *cough* Perfect Chemistry *cough* A simple 1-5 or 1-10 rating system cannot capture all the nuances, which is why I personally don't grade/rate. Maybe if you adapt VOYA's P[opularity]s and Q[uality]s, but otherwise... This goes back to what was said above about how a rating system based on quality may take enjoyment of a book out of the equation, and I think this would be a pity.
I agree with Diana and Li. I've been reading Entertainment Weekly for over ten years and it takes me months to actually read their reviews because I check the grade at the end of the review the day I receive the magazine and move on to other things.ReplyDelete
So I prefer reviews without the system because I'm more likely to read the entire review. The only time a review without a rating system is problematic for me is when I'm trying to avoid spoilers, but I never have to worry about spoilers with your reviews.
Good luck with your decision.
I use a 1 to 10 (with two decimals, nach) in my reviews--never occurred to me to review without a rating, heh (yeah, color me naïve).ReplyDelete
What I have found is that I tend to read the full review for new books, regardless of whether there's rating at the end or not, but only from those reviewers I've grown to trust. For 'new to me' reviewers, I first read what they have to say about books I've read myself. That way I get a feeling as to whether their style and taste relate to mine in any level, and if so, how.
So I guess what I'm trying to say, in a very roundabout way, is that you should do whatever works for you, as reviewer, and not necessarily bow to a perceived 'standard'
After all, just as writers are not a homogeneous block of people, neither are reviewers, yes?
Donna, that seems to be the consensus. It can indeed be annoying and confusing to find that sort of discrepancy between what the reviewer had to say and what rating they gave it.ReplyDelete
alwaysdream, that's so true. And it should show through. I like the idea of the rating being unnecessary if the review is well written.
Trisha, lol. Perfect example. I am so going to be rereading that book. :)
Karen, thanks. It does seem counterproductive when put in that light. And if it's spoiler-free it should be read and not skimmed.
azteclady, good point about building up trust with a reviewer. I do the same thing, going through reading their opinions on books I've already read. I'm certainly not going to add ratings because everyone else does, and I'm glad I asked for opinions as you've all helped me zero in on what I want to accomplish with my reviews and how to make them most helpful to readers. Thank you!
How interesting to visit your blog today and find this post since I was contemplating today (I'm not kidding) about doing away with rating books on my blog OR converting all the letter grades on my reviews to a 1-10 scale like Ana & Thea of the BookSmugglers use.ReplyDelete
Personally, I do look for letter grades on other people's book reviews to get a basic idea of how much they liked or disliked a book, but at the same time, I don't gauge a book on just one review. I always keep in mind that a review is one person's opinion.
Since I generally enjoy almost every book I read, I struggle with rating the books I review. I assign most of my reads A's and B's, so in the end, I'm not sure how helpful my grades really are to other readers. I think my comments in my review about what was great or not so great about a specific book are most valuable, so why bother with a grade then?
I'm still undecided about what I'm going to do ... and I'm sure I've been completely unhelpful to you, too. :/
Christine, no, it helps to hear someone else go through their reasons for and against including a rating. That's so funny you were contemplating it just now as well! I really do agree that the comments should stand on their own and so I think I will focus on good reviews and scrap worrying about a rating.ReplyDelete
I do a 1-5 hearts, but I am more lazy lolReplyDelete
Hey Im having a contest for a copy of Meridian by Amber Kizer, it would be great if you would check it out...
I think a rating system would be great! On my blog, I use a scale of one to five stars: One being the worst and five being the best. A star rating would definately give a very clear view of just how good you thought a book was.ReplyDelete
Taschima, hearts show us how much you love the book. Cute. I'll be sure to drop in to check out MERIDIAN, thanks!ReplyDelete
Allegra, and I'm all about it being clear. Nothing worse than finishing a review uncertain as to how the reviewer felt about it.
I do one to five of roses with half marks and I try very hard to explain why I'm giving that rating. It's the last thing I do and is more of a conclusion of what I've said throughout the review. :)ReplyDelete
Laina, putting the rating on there as a sort of coda to a well thought out, explanatory review seems like a good way to go.ReplyDelete