I haven’t done star ratings on my book reviews for years, mainly because I think it’s difficult to compare books against each other when you read as widely as I do. How can I compare a dense textbook on the philosophy of logics with a throwaway beach novel?
I can’t, of course. But there’s a certain rating each book hits within its own genre, and of course many books which span multiple genres. So I’ve decided to re-add star ratings, partly to make it easier to write my monthly review round-ups. Here’s how that’ll work.
There are five ratings, technically, because there are five stars. This is what they mean.
⭑ = This book was readable. I didn’t love it, but I liked it enough to finish it. It probably had some problems, either in terms of writing style, or author viewpoint, or something else. But it wasn’t absolutely irredeemable.
⭑⭑ = This book was pretty good. I probably won’t remember it in a month’s time, but it was interesting enough to keep me engaged while I was reading it, and if you like the specific genre it’s written in, you might enjoy it.
⭑⭑⭑ = This book was good. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to other people, especially if you generally enjoy the genre it’s written in, but maybe even if you don’t.
⭑⭑⭑⭑ = This book was very very good. I liked it a lot. I will probably remember it for quite some time; I definitely wrote down some quotes from it; and I will recommend it to several people.
⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑ = This book was absolutely amazing. It changed my life, or it made me think about things in a new light, or I think it’s important enough that it should be read by as many people as possible. If I know you well enough, I will probably either buy you a copy or evangelise about this one in person at some point. You will find multiple instances of it in my library.
There is also the dreaded Ø symbol, which is reserved for books that were so terrible I couldn’t finish them, or if I did manage to get through to the end, I wished I hadn’t. I hope I’ll be awarding very few of these.
Do you have a ratings system for your book reviews? Let me know in the comments!