Bibliojunk, Fiction, Goodreads, Non-fiction

How I rate books

I’ve read 59 books this year so far and there were hardly any stinkers.  It’s not that I had good luck, it’s that I’ve gotten good at only guessing which books won’t be a waste of time.  I’ve spent so many hours of my life on books that weren’t worth the investment and I’m just too picky now to follow that same model.

When I pulled up my 2017 list on Goodreads and sorted it my star ranking, there were 19 books with five stars.  Nineteen!  I was surprised too and I’m the one who ranked them!  Guess how many four star books there were? Twenty-seven!  I gave nine books a three-star rank and one book got a two-star.  No one-star books.  Wow.  That’s a good year of reading!

In case you’re not familiar with Goodreads rankings:

  • Five stars means “it was amazing”
  • Four stars means “really liked it”
  • Three stars means “liked it”
  • Two stars means, “it was okay”
  • One star means, “did not like it”

According to Jenny, star rankings go something like this:

  • Five stars means “I will definitely read this book again and add it to my pantheon of best books to recommend and urge people to read. It’s a classic.”
  • Four stars means “I really liked this book and there are probably only minor reasons why it didn’t get a five star, like editing or the plot or characters being not quite perfect. It’s a 50/50 chance I’ll read it again and I’ll definitely recommend it to people.”
  • Three star means “It was okay.  Probably good in some aspects, bad in others. Either it had something that kept it from a four star, or enough virtuousness to elevate it from a two star.  If it was a diminished four star book and then I might recommend it to people. Or it might have been an utterly forgettable book that did no harm, in which case it gets a lukewarm ranking.”
  • Two stars means “I did not like this book.  I didn’t enjoy reading it at all.  I may not have even finished it.”
  • One star means “I hated this book with a fiery passion and will probably warn people away from it.”

It seems to me that Goodreads is missing out on the nuances of differences between two-star and one-star.  There’s good stuff there.

Something else I noticed from my list is that 25 books were non-fiction.  That’s a ton for me!  Most of those were self-help books, but a couple were historical fictions and a bunch were business books.  I never thought that sentence would exist on this blog.  But they were really good books, I promise!  I was surprised at how few memoirs or biographies I read, since I love those, but I’m kind of proud of myself for stepping out and trying something new.

Seven of those five star books were ones I had read for the second or third time, which makes sense according to my rankings above.  If books are worth reading again, chances are they’ll show up again on my yearly log. It’ll be interesting to see over the years what books keep popping up again and again.

Next post, I’ll list the books I read and get you all fired up for your reading list in 2018.  There’s some real prizes in there.


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has written 287 articles on Red Hot Eyebrows.

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