Monday, May 16, 2016
Ramblings from the Stacks - Reviews and Ratings
I don't remember the first review I wrote. It was probably on Amazon in the early days where you could find a book review by Harriet Klausner on basically every single book that existed (it was always 5 stars). After that came Paperbackswap and Goodreads and finally here. Early on all I knew was I wanted a place to say what I thought about a book I had read.
There's something about writing down what I think about a book that helps it stay with me longer. I remember it a little clearer and begin to realize more what will make a good read for me. When I don't I forget a lot of books instantly and in fact have read a book then picked it up again a year or two later and read 3/4 of it before I realized I had already read it. It's one thing to realize 20 or 30 pages in but 300? Even though I liked the book that did lower my opinion of it a bit!
Which brings me to the next thing - Ratings. Before I started reviewing here I didn't think much about what ratings mean. Amazon, Goodreads, and pretty much everywhere else use the star method so when I first started writing reviews in my own space I did too. But I got to thinking. What does 3 stars really mean? What does 4? If I read a book that I enjoy but doesn't stick with me at all should it really get the same rating that a book that I really hated in parts and really loved in others? I tried doing half stars for 3 and 4 stars as that's where most of the books I read land but that didn't quite take. I pondered a few things - letter grades, getting rid of a rating all together, a one sentence review instead of a rating with a longer review at the end. And then as usual I thought of something simple. Simple always seems to be better!
I got rid of the official ranking system and any kind of structure and boiled it down to one thing - what do I say when I finish the book? My new ratings are - Not For Me, It's Okay, It's Good, It's Great, or I Loved It. I don't have reasons or parameters but when I finish a book the first thing I think is "What did I think of it?" and my answer is my rating. What do you think? What thought process do you use to assign a rating?
And my final subject today is about books with low rankings. I think we all agree that honesty is the best policy when it comes to what we thought of a book and that means sometimes a book has to get a low rating. I don't mind posting a negative review here but sometimes I feel a little more uncomfortable posting it on Goodreads or Amazon. I'm not quite sure what the deal is there but I had a cozy mystery not too long ago that was just all right and I'm still stalling on posting the review to Amazon. How do you act when you have a negative review in terms of other social media? Are you the same no matter what or do you have different procedures?
I'm cutting off the ramblings here though I could go on for hours! It's so easy for me to fall down the rabbit hole on this subject!