Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rating Books

I've kept track of the books I've read for the last 8 (almost 9) years. When I first started out I also included an ultra-brief review, but as time went on I lost the patience and inspiration. They were too short to be meaningful, but I didn't have time to write longer reviews.

Since I've started cataloging and organizing my books on LibraryThing.com I've tried to keep up with rating all the books I read, and reviewing them as much as possible. I have to admit that it is nice to be able to look back on these opinions, because it doesn't take long for a memory to become less vivid. LibraryThing.com has a 5-star rating system. They do have half-stars too, though, so in reality it is a bit more flexible than simply 5 choices.

I'm always interested in how different people distribute ratings. How often do they hand out those 5-star ratings? Does it tie into the person's overall optimism/pessimism? I'm really interested in how people view a 3-star rating on a scale of 1 to 5.

I find that I am pretty stingy with my 1-star and 5-star labels. Most of the books I read fall somewhere in the 3-4 range. This is my thought process:

3-stars: average. Plain old average. Nothing special nor terrible...many books are simply average to me.

2-stars/4-stars: something in the storyline or writing really set it apart as particularly irritating or lovely. These books provide me with enough interest to be able to talk about them at length.

1-star/5-stars: either so shockingly horrible or so amazingly wonderful that they will be thrown in the ocean/fire/recycle/trash or be purchased multiple times and end up being buried with me when I die just in case "you can't take it with you" ends up being not-so-true after all. These books have typically evoked such strong feelings that I have a difficult time discussing them because I don't know where to begin (or if I will ever stop once I do begin).

What about you? Is everything you enjoy worth 5 stars? Does everything you rate start at 1 star and move up from there? Am I the only crazy one who even thinks about this stuff?

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