Why Not Five Stars?

all the stars.gif
To infinity and beyond!

(Or rather- why not 5 bananas?)

I’ve been doing this a while and one question I’ve had a few times when I post a 4 banana review is: why didn’t you give this 5 bananas?

Now of course I could do some soul-searching, tear my hair out because AM-I-BEING-MAJORLY-UNCLEAR and wonder WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH MY REVIEWS… but in all honesty, this is a very fair question and I can be totally calm about answering it (*freakout was for theatrical affect only… mostly*). Because sometimes it may not be totally obvious why a book- that on the surface level seems near perfect- didn’t get five stars from me. And, honestly there’s good reasons for that (I hope- otherwise it’s back to the drawing board and the aforementioned angsty soul-searching 😉 )

scooby doo mysteryThere was something missing– and sometimes it’s hard to articulate just what that *something* was… because, well, it was missing. So I don’t know what it was, do I? It’s a mystery to me…

 

 

confused_lion_kingSometimes I might have been thrown by a handful of comments that niggled away at me– like woodworm or termites or maybe something less serious (the bug imagery’s a bit extreme for a 4* tbh) and even though I tried to brush it aside it’s ended up riddling the book with doubt about how much I liked it. Now it’s pretty rare that I won’t say if this was the case, but there are times when I’d have to go into a whole lot of political theory and I seriously can’t be bothered because aghh it was one comment (okay, yes I do have these freakishly strong reactions to random lines in books, but I can occasionally curb my inner nitpick- not often, just sometimes)

whateverMaybe it just wasn’t unique enough. I’m sure as readers we all have tons of stories lodged into the back of our minds- the more we read, the harder it becomes for a book to clinch that coveted OMG spot, just by virtue of the fact that we can compare it to so many other stories.

 

can't get comfortableOr maybe my experience reading it wasn’t tucked up in the perfect spot with pleasant-yet-not-overbearing instrumental music lulling me into a state of calm… Okay I don’t actually need that to enjoy a book- still sometimes I can be tired and distracted and a book needs to do *a lot* of work in order to WOW me. (FYI this is the one I’d ask author’s, on my site or others, to assume is the reason every time 😉 )

banana gifSo, okay, it wasn’t perfect– but hey, there’s nothing wrong with that! I said this in my post about negative reviews and it’s worth repeating: it’s a scale. Just cos something didn’t scream THIS-IS-PERFECTION to me doesn’t mean it wasn’t great- especially since according to my very well thought out rating system, four stars is still awesome sauce with a side of bananas. Speaking of screaming…

 

chill slothIt didn’t make me squeal gleefully. Yes, this is an actual requirement for 5 bananas. I’m a squealer. Not just over books, I think I must have squealed a gazillion times in cutesy tv shows like Once Upon A Time which I’m back watching again… but I digress. Basically the book might be objectively brilliant, but if it didn’t push me into the stratosphere it’s not going to get top marks from me. I’m probably looking something like this sloth though…

tasteGenre bias? And yes the question mark is deliberate, cos I’m not sure about this one. I mean it’s not consciously done anyway. Looking at my book ratings though, I can see there is a clear bias in what books are more likely to get the best ratings. Fantasy and classics are just more likely to produce the aforementioned squeals… whereas contemporary and non-fiction draws the short straw. I have given a couple of books in my less-favoured genres 5 bananas before, but it’s super rare. Yet I feel like this is fair, because at ultimately the whole point of ratings is to showcase taste. So if my personal preference for certain genres is what pushes up my ratings for certain books, then I’m okay with that.

So what do you think? Do you sometimes have trouble articulating why a book didn’t deserve all the bananas/stars? If not- can you teach me some tricks so I don’t get asked this again? 😉 And do you have your own reasons why a book might not be classed as *perfection*? Let me know in the comments!

101 thoughts on “Why Not Five Stars?

  1. I totally hear you! It can be the most minuscule thing that makes it 4 instead of 5 stars. I am a strong believer in the fact that there doesn’t even HAVE to be a reason for your rating in the first place, but when I give my stars, they are all down to gut feeling. And it’s very possible that I didn’t find an obvious fault in the book but still couldn’t give it the maximum points. Great post!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yeah I know right!! It’s sometimes such a small thing that I don’t always mention it in my review, cos it seems pointless. And like you said, a lot of the time it’s just a gut feeling, so I just know when I’m reading if it’s gonna be either. To be honest, if I have to think about it at all, then I’ll usually deduct at least half a banana 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always think a book needs to be something really special to deserve all the stars. You can’t go awarding them all willy-nilly or it just loses it’s meaning.

    For me that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s perfect but it has to give me all the feels. Like you it has to make me squeal or at least jump up and down.

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    1. I completely agree! One of my basic rules is if I have to think about it, it probably deserves half a star less. Five star books for me mean I was completely transported by the book.

      And yes, that’s very true- there are lots of flawed books which I’ve given 5 stars, it’s more that it was perfect in the way it took me on an emotional journey, if that makes sense 😉 hehehe yes!!

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  3. I totally agree with not being sure why something that was fun and interesting and maybe even made you cry wouldn’t get a full 5 stars. I have a lot of 4-star ratings and very few 5 myself. Probably it’s because there are very few books that, even if I enjoyed them, I’d care to read again (or maybe once more, but not a dozen times). And there are those that I solidly give 4.5 — and in my view, those are the books I’d re-read at least a couple times, and upon doing so, not find flaws, or if I happen to find minor ones, it won’t impact my enjoyment of the work at all.

    We are finnicky bookdragons! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes exactly!! There are definitely books that have made me bawl that were still 4 stars. I’m the same- although most of my ratings (I think) are 3. And yes, I definitely think that there are a more I’d put in the 4.5 category than 5. And I completely get that. It’s a scale. When something’s five star I probably want to reread it till it falls apart. hahaha yes!

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  4. This is such a good post. It’s hard sometimes to pinpoint exactly what bothered about a book that it got 4 stars instead of 5, but it’s like you said – like a bug or so. I love that you recognize there might be bias, which is something we can’t help nor ignore. 🙂

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  5. Well, my blog has featured more movie reviews than book reviews for the moment, but it’s rare to give something a perfect score. It has to completely blow me away, or just have nothing negative in it that I can think of, in order for me to give something a perfect score. And honestly, not many things are perfect. There usually is always at least something in a movie or a book, that just bothers me. Some things to a lesser degree, and that’s when things get harder to rate. If it’s something really small, that doesn’t really negate the rest of the goodness, I really have to debate with myself if I grant it that perfect 10…or in your case 5 perfect bananas.
    If I were to rate this post though I would give it that perfect 10 for sure. Awesome read! 😀

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    1. I totally get that. I’m the same- it really does have to be perfect/or be so powerful that it just completely blew me away to get 5*. Exactly!! A lot of the time they’ll be something that holds me back, even if I really enjoyed it. And yes I get that- sometimes something is great- and it’s really hard to decide exactly where it landed. hehehe aww thank you!! 😀 So glad you liked it!!

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  6. I completely get what you mean. A lot of the time I’ll rate a book four stars and when I write my review I make it seem like a perfect read, and sometimes I’ll write a five star review and pick out something that I felt could have been done better in my review. A lot of the time it’s just whether that book has that something “special”, like you said, and it’s really hard to put that feeling into words when I’m writing reviews.
    I think as well as I’m a mood reader sometimes it can just be as simple as me not being in the mood to read a book. I have tried doing a ratings system but more often than not my ratings are just how I feel and it’s so hard to put that into words when it’s more a feeling about the book than anything it necessarily did wrong you know?
    Great post, I loved reading your thoughts on this topic as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad you get it! Yes!! I’m the exact same- sometimes I will have very little negative to say about a 4* book, so it might sound like a 5*- the only thing missing is the level of enthusiasm. But yes, I’ll try to pick out something that maybe niggled at me. And yes, I totally get that.
      And yes I completely get that. I’m also a massive mood reader and that does factor in- if I feel like I have to read something (maybe it’s due back at the library or something) then it might take me longer to get into, which will effect my enjoyment.
      And I get what you mean about a rating system- cos even though I have one, sometimes it’s hard for people to discern the difference between something that’s awesome and practically perfect just from my review.
      Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right. 🙂 It’s impossible to put everything we feel when reading in our reviews, especially when something it’s just a feeling more than anything wrong.
        Oh being a mood reader is why I could never read my English class books during high school, I was just never interested in them. 🙂
        That’s all right! 😀

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  7. finally! there is a decent post describing why it can’t be a 5 stars! all those reasons are very relatable and i’m glad i’m not the only one who sometimes doesn’t rate the book 5 stars for reasons you can’t properly explain! great post.

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    1. Thank you so much!! 😀 I’m so glad you liked it!! I know right- sometimes it’s just the fact that it didn’t blow me away as much as books I’ve rated five stars, ya know? Nothing wrong with it per se, it just didn’t feel like a 5* book. Thank you!

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  8. There are plenty of times I’m asking myself this question when I decided to rate a book when finished. My review may not have a single thing that sounds bad in it and I still loved the book but some of them just don’t seem quite a 5 either but it’s tough to put a finger on it. Definitely some good points in your list that even the one rating may not be able to put a voice to which applies.

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      1. I’m one that put in my own half ratings too and sometimes I can’t even bring myself to say something is a 4.5 when I really can’t name one particular thing wrong so I definitely know where you are coming from. 🙂

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  9. I hear you on 5 star ratings. I sometimes see others who rate almost every book they read 5 stars and I just don’t understand it. Overated quite a few books 5 stars but it every one. It mostly comes down to entertainment value and how much sleep I lost reading it. Sometimes however, even with those two points, I sometimes rate a book less cause I simmer in my thoughts and questions happen and I believe it wasn’t as worthy as I thought. As Kat Impossible said, it ultimately comes down to gut feeling I think. There’s no ultimate one answer, that’s for sure haha.

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    1. Yes I totally know what you mean- I will admit that if someone rates everything 4 stars I’ll just think, “oh they know what they like” but if everything’s 5 stars?! I just can’t compute that. hehehe oh my goodness yes, it definitely deserves extra points for lost sleep!! Yeah I get that completely- I think for me if I have to think about it too much it’ll lose half a banana- not too much, but like you said it’s a gut feeling thing and if I’m doubting it I can’t give it 5. haha so true!!

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  10. For me, I kind of ‘know’ if a book is a 5* – it’s a sort of gut instinct thing. If I have to think too much about it then it isn’t truly a 5*. Not very rational or capable of definition, I know. But subconsciously I’m probably weighing up many of the things you mention without realizing it. I’m pretty stingy with 5* ratings…lots of 4* and 4.5* instead which for me are still really good books, they just lack that certain something.

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    1. Yes I totally get what you mean!! I’m the same- I usually just know and if I doubt it then I’ll want to deduct half a star. hehe I totally totally get that- I give a lot of 4-4.5* too! Completely get where you’re coming from- I’m definitely the same.

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  11. I totally hear you. I used to be an over-rater but have calmed myself!

    Sometimes, for me, there is just something missing and I can’t always out my finger on it or express it but I need a book to make my eyes bug out where I love it so much for a 5 now!

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  12. I’m going with the assumption that anyone who has the temerity to even ask WHY is genuinely interested and not just being a poophead. You even list a Banana Rating in your About section. What more do people want?

    My inclination is that anyone who asks IS a poophead. This is why I’ll never be a good big group kind of guy.

    To me, people asking why it isn’t a 5star read have the following issues:

    1) Didn’t read the review thoroughly
    2) Didn’t read my Rating Page [a good reviewer has one for just such occasions!]
    3) Hasn’t taken the time to read other reviews by me or other non-review posts. Hence, they haven’t gotten to know me.
    4) aren’t commenting to actually ask. They’ve already made up their mind and now are trying to justify their own weak willed pathetic, scumbag existence by trolling me.

    As you can see, my reasoning escalates rather quickly. Most of the time I’ve run across the opposite of this. I’ll rant and rave about all the problems and then rate it 3-4stars. Those questions I don’t mind answering at all. Because the people asking almost always really want to know and they don’t fit into the above points.

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    1. Hehehe I assume they’re not a poophead 😉 (teeheehee) Although, yeah, I am tempted to just link to my about page if I’m asked this.

      Hehe I definitely think some people are poopheads (gosh I just want the excuse to keep using that insult, don’t I?), but I can definitely give the benefit of the doubt for this one- plus cos of the way I’ve been asked, I honestly don’t mind it (possibly because they genuinely want to know, whereas I’ve had people ask a question before and then not accept the answer, just so that they can keep trolling with questions… now that’s annoying! 😉 )

      Hehe I think I’m gonna use your 4 reasons they might be using in the future though (oh my goodness I’ve already mentioned it, but 4 is unfortunately completely a thing) And I feel like if people get to know me, they’ll know that it’s not a five star just by the lack of !!!! 😉

      Haha yes I completely understand. Mostly people just have a genuine question and that’s cool 😀 And most trolls are easily identified by lazy ad hominems- I think the trolling-by-questions is pretty rare 😉

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  13. I tend to be a little too generous with my five star reviews and honestly, I think it’s great that more people lean toward four stars. It’s just saying “listen, this was a really good book! But it’s not going to probably be made into a major blockbuster film and then spun off into a Broadway play AND THAT’S OKAY.”

    Although I really love how much thought and time you’ve given to this reasoning. It’s very thorough and logically sound. Definitely the type of thing to pin to an informational page for future inquisitive readers.

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  14. Great post! And I totally agree! Usually I reserve 5 stars for knock-outs. So 4 star means that while there may not be a specific reason I can articulate, it just wasn’t a knock-put for me. Sometimes there is something I can put my finger on, and in that case I always include it, but when there isn’t…it just happens that way sometimes. Personal preferences is really all I can put it down to at that point.

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  15. I actually mention the genres I like in my review guidelines because I know I’ll rate them higher than say a horror novel. Mainly because I hate most horror novels! I don’t like to be scared! I don’t think its bias, its actually common sense. Don’t feel bad, stick to what you know you love!

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  16. I always struggled tbh in rating 5 stars and people would fckn know why it didnt have a 5 stars in my review HAHA there’s always something missing or it didnt “break” me enough.. okay sounds maso huh LOL you know what I mean 😉 All these reasons are perfectly reasonable !

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  17. Yeah, I don’t give out 5 stars freely! Usually there has to be an emotional aspect involved. Either it blew my mind in some way, made me see something in a whole different light, or made me laugh/cry, etc. That’s usually what sets a 5 star book apart from a perfectly enjoyable 4 star 😀

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  18. Sloth GIF !!! Wait, what were you saying….oh yeah, sorry totally distracted by the amazing sloth gif 😂😂😂😂

    But in seriousness, totally get where you are coming from. Uber drivers really hate New Zealanders because we hardly ever rate anything 5/5, to us 4/5 is awesome. 5/5 is absolutely next level.

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  19. Many have said they would give five if it was a book they would read again, but I disagree with that. I call the five star books as rare as a unicorn. I think some books you read, you love, but you still feel a bit meh about, there’s something not quite there with it. It’s a gut feeling for sure! Love the gifs you’ve chosen.

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    1. Ah I get that!! I could definitely reread a lot of 4 star books, whereas there’s plenty of 5 star books that I never want to read again! (like Jude the Obscure for me personally) So I wouldn’t use that rule for myself, but I think everyone has different rules. I completely agree about it being a gut feeling! Thank you so much!!

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  20. Great post! I absolutely understand what you mean about books missing something you can’t explain. I rate books based on a number of things but ultimately the 5 stars go to the ones that made me feel something. The ones that made me truly engulf me and take me to a different place. Essentially, they go to te ones with a little something more and it’s very hard to explain why I didn’t give 5 starts to a book I highly praised or give 5 stars to a book that I completely tore apart in the review. Its all about feeling I think.

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    1. Thank you so much!! Totally agree!! Yes, that’s a brilliant way to put it- it’s all about being completely absorbed in it and transported to a different place. And yes, sometimes it’s really hard to explain exactly why a book that was really good didn’t get 5*, because I might not have any criticisms for it.

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  21. I am going to reference this post everything I ‘can’t put my finger on it’- very helpful! XD

    4 stars is a good rating, but I also think 3 stars is a pretty good rating. I often see authors not being very happy with 3 stars but in my mind, it’s a totally acceptable positive rating… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aww thank you so much!!

      I totally agree- and yes I think that 3 stars is also a good rating- I think that the difference there is that usually I’ll spend some time complaining over it (so much so, people might be confused that the rating is higher than 2 and I’ll have to spend time justifying the fact that, no, I did in fact like it 😉 ) I get that authors are not happy with it, but to be blunt, if I give something 2* I’m still saying that other people might like it, even if I didn’t- so I know it’s not great, but even Robin Hobb has a mini rant on goodreads about how even 2* is good.
      https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/25307.Robin_Hobb
      (hehe sorry for the tangent 😉 ) But yeah, I really think that it’s not just 5* which is a respectable rating.

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  22. Great post! There are some books that I thought were practically perfect but didn’t give 5 stars because they just weren’t special? Didn’t blow me away? Like A Darker Shade of Magic. There was honestly nothing wrong with it. I loved the characters, I loved the world and the premise and the magic, the story was good and interesting, I loved the lack of romance, but I still gave it 4 stars just because I didn’t think it was extra amazing? IDK it just didn’t feel like a 5-star read for me, even though I loved it and it was perfect

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    1. Thank you! Yes- I totally get that!! I’ve definitely had books like that before (and actually on the subject of Schwab Savage Song was a bit like that for me) It really just comes down to how you feel- and even if I’ve loved absolutely everything about a book, it doesn’t mean it had me jumping up and down in excitement.

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  23. This is such a great post – also, so relatable. I sometimes can’t really say what made me want to rate a book 4 or 5 stars; Really, it’s a mix of feelings while reading the book, right times and moments when you read the book and something. It just, makes it all the more better and makes it deserve this 5th star. I guess if I read some books at some other times, my ratings would be different.
    LOVE your gifs btw, that sloth gif hahhaa. ❤

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    1. Thank you so much!! Yes I completely get that and agree! And yes, it can be a lot of things just coming together which make something 5*. I get what you mean there as well- because sometimes a book has just come to me at the perfect time in life and others… it just missed the boat in some way, you know?
      hehehe awww thank you!! hehehe I love that sloth gif too lol!! 😀 ❤

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  24. For me to give a book 5 stars it needs to resonate with me on some level. I might adore the story or the writing or the characters, but for a book to get 5 stars it just needs that something special. And that can be many things, depending on each individual book. Sometimes it’s really hard to describe why exactly I rated a book the way I did. 🙂 Amazing post!! ❤

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    1. Completely get that and agree!! And yes, I might have loved everything about it, really, I just didn’t feel a certain spark. Sometimes it’s really hard to put my finger on why that is (and it’s basically impossible to express it- especially if I don’t want it to come across as unnecessarily negative). I know right!! Aww thank you!! ❤

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  25. Ah, I know this issue well! I just finished a book, The Magician’s Workshop, that I loved in every single way – but the end was disappointing structurally. So even though I loved it – 4 stars. And since you grade in bananas – It did involve someone being turned into a banana to distract a giant, flaming, projected ape – which might be up your alley! 🙂 🙂

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  26. I refuse to hand five stars to every book crossing my path. To me, offering those stars suggests reaching a near-orgasmic feat with the book. Honestly, I tend to give five stars to no more than ten books a year, and I’m good with that amount.

    Give me something to make five stars worthy, not tiresome and void of meaning.

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  27. Very well-thought about! I too have crossed paths with this issue and wondered what I can’t seem to give it that extra star that someone else would’ve easily given it. All your reasons are pretty good though. I also find myself having two kinds of 5 stars too… One that just says that it was an excellent book, and one that says that it’s DEFINITELY a favourite of mine. I guess that just helps me give 5 stars a bit easier for me LOL

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    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad I’m not the only one with this. Sometimes I’ve really struggled over whether it deserves a higher rating, because it really was good… but then whenever I catch myself doubting it, I always think I should probably just keep the rating down, because if it was 5* I wouldn’t be worrying about it. Hehe I do get that too- I think I’m more likely to just give a great book 4*, even if I think it deserves 5, which confuses people 😉

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  28. I only wish that my personal rating system was fair. But I’m well aware that the weather, my temper, or whether there’s caffeine in the house, can make the difference of a whole star, or more. No system is perfect, though. I figure it averages out.

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    1. Ah you know what, I can *really* relate to what you’re saying here though- cos I’m the exact same- sometimes the fact that it’s not getting a higher rating is just dependent on my mood (but then my rating system is utterly subjective, so…) And yes, sometimes a book was just perfect for me and came at the right time, which means it’ll get an inflated rating system- so you’re right about it averaging out- good point! 😊

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  29. I really liked that idea at the end–that ultimately, the point of the rating is to showcase taste.
    Maybe this isn’t an earth-shattering idea for other people, but it sort of is for me. (Metaphorically, of course.)
    But we DO judge people based on how they judge books. I know someone who is unimpressed by Harry Potter. Thinks it really isn’t that good. And, I’m pretty sure they’re stupid–still my friend, but stupid. I know this because of how they rate a book.
    But more on topic with your post, I think that it’s fine to give a 4 to something that just didn’t quite blow you away. If it isn’t a 5, it isn’t a 5!
    One approach I’ve seen is that people will adjust their score according to where they’re posting, or do percentages. Like, on your blog it might be a 4.2 bananas (do you do percentages? I’m new here.) On GoodReads it’s just a 4. On Amazon, they may round up to a 5. Something like that, to try and reflect the way other raters use a particular site.
    Anyways, I’ve talked too long. Great post though! You seem to be a master with .GIFs.

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    1. hehe thank you so much!! I’m so glad you agree.
      Haha I can relate to that 😉 I think for me it’s just important that how much someone likes a book doesn’t really effect how much I did, you know?
      Yes exactly!
      I don’t do percentages, but I do halves- so basically in my head, if I’m not sure about a rating I’ll do it out of ten and then divide by two. But I have noticed people do more of a percentages thing. Goodreads is *so* tricky- because I’ll definitely have the difference between a low 4.5 and a high 4.5… which means I’ll sometimes round up and sometimes round down- which is frustrating because I can never get it exactly right. 😉
      hehe no worries- I very much enjoyed your comment! And thank you 😉 😀

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  30. This discussion is so on point. There are tone of times when a book is amazing, but not worth 5 stars. And what’s even more surprising is that there is no definite reason for holding back that 5 stars. One thing I’ve noticed is that ever since I’ve decreased giving 5 stars to books, I’ve become less appreciative of people who give 5 stars to every book out there. As in, people who’ll give 8 out of the 10 books they read in a month, a solid 5 star. Of course there’s nothing wrong with doing that, and I have nothing against them, but it makes me trust their reviews and ratings a tad bit less.

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    1. Thank you so much!! Yes I completely agree!! I know right- sometimes I just don’t know what it is that’s stopped me giving it 5*. And yes I completely agree with you- I think that I just can’t really relate when everything’s five stars. I’m the same to be honest.

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  31. 4 bananas is good. If books or anything in life got 5 for being “good” there would be little reason to continually push and try harder. That is my simple automatic thought coming from a very overtired brain 😁

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  32. I don’t pay attention to stars, actually, because I really believe they’re random or at least too personal to be useful. After all, how do you decide on stars? What if you loved a book but also recognize that it’s structurally a mess, has terrible characterization, and zero internal logic? Do you give it five stars for your love or two stars for objective assessment? Or three stars to try to average it out?

    As for me, I tend to reserve five stars for books that really moved or surprised me. I tend to be stingy with them. But, again, I think star ratings are somewhat arbitrary so I guess I could just be in a good one day and give out more five stars than usual?

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    1. I can totally understand that. I do have a peek, because I’m always curious to get a clear overview of what the individual thought, rather than anything else. hehehe well if it has all of those errors then I don’t know why on earth I’d want to give it five stars 😉 But I hear you 😉 there are books that are objectively not as good as others, but I’ve given them 5* because of how much I enjoyed them. And just because a book’s a classic and beautifully written does not mean it gets an automatic 5* (probably looking more at not going below 2 for that- because that’s my standard, “I didn’t like it, but get why others might”)

      And yes, I’m totally the same about that. It’s more about the emotional impact of the book than anything else. I personally won’t say I found them that arbitrary though- usually people have systems etc so they can be pretty helpful, just as long as they’re internally consistent with whatever the reviewer decides. But then again, they are something that people either love or hate using, so it’s really upto the individual. Sorry for the rambling, it’s pretty late 😉

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      1. Yeah, I’ve read classics I didn’t like, but I gave them some credit for being soundly constructed, well-received by critics, etc. Hence why stars are such a tricky business! In the end, I typically just read the reviews and maybe glance at the stars for context like “Did they enjoy it or not?” But I don’t ascribe much meaning to a two-star review other than, “So they didn’t like it that much.” I don’t ponder why they didn’t give it one or three!

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  33. Great reasons!! I really identify with these. I think the “something missing” and “just wasn’t unique enough” are the most common ones for me, though I totally understand getting caught up in nit-picky details or sentences, or just finding a book not quite an enjoyable enough read to warrant 5 stars. And I think I definitely have a bit of genre bias going on 🙂 (though as you said, stars are about personal taste, so that’s okay!)

    Btw this sentence rang very true: “the more we read, the harder it becomes for a book to clinch that coveted OMG spot, just by virtue of the fact that we can compare it to so many other stories.” As you read more, it really does get harder to find that something ‘new’ and ‘special’. I feel like there are some books that would have wowed me when I was younger and less well-read, but that feel a tiny bit tired and done-before to me now. I guess ultimately it’s a good thing though as it makes me seek out more different and unique books!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much!! 😊 Yes I absolutely agree there! And yes, sometimes, I’ll admit, I may just get caught up in the nitpicking to justify the other reasons of “it was missing something” or genre bias 😉 hehe yeah, I don’t think anyone can help that!

      Thank you so much!!! And yes, I definitely find that a lot more. There have been a number of books I’ve read, especially this year, that I felt like I didn’t connect to as much just because they feel more tired now. Which is kinda unfair on them, because I probably thought the first one I read of that type was totally unique 😉 but it can’t really be helped! Absolutely!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah yes it does seem a bit unfair on those similar books which get read later and thus feel less unique. Actually there have been a few super popular books (particularly YA ones) that I just didn’t understand the appeal of because they didn’t feel very special to me… but I had to remind myself that maybe for some readers it is the first time they are encountering that type of story, and if I was reading it having not read much like it before, I might have enjoyed it more… I guess it’s impossible to really tell what you would have thought in the past though 🙂

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  34. Pingback: BOOKS AND CO.
  35. Omg I feel this so much! I’m quite harsh with my high ratings, I only give a book 5 stars if I squealed about it, or loved it so much I can forgive any minor niggles. I always find it so hard when something feels missing, because you feel like you have to justify why it didn’t make it, even though you have absolutely no idea what the issue is!! I really like this post, I’m glad I’m not the only one!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. This is one of the posts that’s tempted me to look at putting a short back-matter jot into each novel. Questions about the story for the reader just so I can get a ‘feel’ for the impact on the reader. I don’t know what the questions are going to be yet (any suggestions?) but might start out with: Which character did you like most? Is it because …? Was the setting [this, dark, light-on, just-right]; did the [specific item] touch you? etc.
    Right now, I’m looking for suggestions that a review/reader might like to put their mark on when they immediately finish a book. And a link to my email, so even if they don’t want to do a review they can still give me feedback.
    What are the most important things to you when you read a story? Is it character, specifics, setting, flow, arc, theme? Something else?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are great questions and it sounds like a good idea.
      Pretty hard for me to answer individually. I would say for the most part characters carry a book (how realistic they were, whether they moved me emotionally)- there are a few high concept books and extremely well written works that are of course the exception 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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