On rating books, how, why and the complicated feelings of it all

I started reading books very early on, even before I could actually understand the words on the page. Once I got the hang of it, started reading the words, the books swallowed me whole and I never got out of this world. Whether a book left an impression on me, made me cry in the night or just gave me a “meh, this was okay” feeling overall… Ever since I started reading books, I never really thought about giving books an actual rating.

It’s only when I started book blogging that I started rating books.

Funny story: I started this book blog back in late 2015 by writing book reviews, without actual ratings at the end of the reviews. I just wrote what I thought and that was it. Slowly but surely, I started implementing my own rating system, linked to the name of my blog, Drizzle & Hurricane Books, because I just wanted to be good like that.

Also, I will admit it, I wanted to do like everyone else does and rate books, too.

Ratings are very common on the blogosphere and, in a quick glance, gives an idea of whether we love, hated or thought the book was in the “meh, it was okay” part of the rating spectrum. Whenever I read a review on a blog, whenever I scroll on Goodreads to see whether my friends liked this book before actually deciding whether it’s worth my time, or not, I look at the rating. I don’t only focus on that, but I like how quick it is to see stars, rainbows, little squirrels or whatever your own rating system looks like, to know what you thought.

I followed the flock on that one and I’m happy that I did. I like having a sense of what I thought quickly, I also like ratings and being coherent between Goodreads and my own blog, basically, wherever I talk about books. Let’s face it: ratings also help so many readers picking up their next books.

I can’t be the only one second-guessing everything whenever I see bad ratings from my friends. I can’t be the only one second-guessing my choices when I see so many problematic things highlighted in a story, resulting in 1-star reviews on a book I was searching for on Goodreads, or a friend giving a book 5-stars to a book because it rocked his/her/their world.

Rating books is WAY too hard, at times.

Obviously, the rating system and thoughts is way more complex than just a couple stars and I know that now. Do you ever just spend a couple hours – even, a couple days – thinking about a book before deciding to rate it 3 or 4 stars? Do you ever wish you could rate a book 3,75 stars on Goodreads, just because there were details that were good, yet didn’t quite reach the 4-stars mark. I know I do.

Whenever we think about what we read, whenever we want to deliver a great book review, we have to take so many different elements into account. Sometimes, things round up really well and everything is okay, but sometimes… we just have mixed feelings about EVERYTHING and have not a DAMN idea what we should do.

Want to know what I do? I rate my books on a feeling.

There is some sort of system to rating books and everyone on the blogosphere has their own. Like many bloggers and reviewers, I pay attention to the elements everyone is waiting to hear about: the characters, the plot, the pacing, the writing style, and so on. Yet, my rating won’t be the same as everyone else, because all of these elements have different weights on the balance. I KNOW I care about my characters a whole lot more than plot and, it won’t bother me if a book hasn’t much plot but has amazing characters, for instance.

Yet, despite all the calculations you can make, or think of making, despite the little formulas you can try and make, you will never quite figure out how I rate my books, unless you get into my brains and my mind. I rate books on a feeling. Sometimes, a book was really, really great and, both in my head and review, I can’t see anything wrong. Yet, the book will end up staying in the 4-stars range, only because I did not get that ground-breaking feeling about it. Ultimately, no matter the book I read and no matter how hard I try and analyze every aspect of it, feelings always had and always will win me over everything.

I also know that being a book blogger has made me more exigent.

There are so many great books out there, so many hyped books. Even if I’m far from the 100 books a year mark, I’m still reading a whole lot more than before and that means… reading more of the same kind of stories. Reading more different books and somehow, finding myself a little bit more exigent. Because I know what I love and I know what I want from a book. I also know what I should expect – sometimes, even if it’s wrong, because of the tendancy of OVER HYPING THINGS TOO MUCH sometimes. Despite all of this ; I’m kind of happy to say that, in the past year, I haven’t rated any books too harshly. I rated 1 book 2 stars in 2017. All of the other books I read were above.

I hate that numbers and ratings are ruling our lives, yet, looking at these ratings make me feel like I had a great reading year overall and that makes me happy.

Do you rate your books? Why, or why not?

What elements do you take into account when rating a book? Do characters win you over, as well? AND WHAT ABOUT FEELINGS??

Do you find yourself being a bit more exigent with books, lately? Let me know everything in comments!

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.