Tuesday’s Title: Book Ratings

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I’ve already shared how much I’m loving Goodreads these days!  It’s helping me stay on track with my reading goals so far this year simply because I want to update my progress and watch the slider move.  (This really shouldn’t be much of a surprise.  You already know how much I like to make lists, and especially, how much I like to check things off my lists. 😉 )  Each time I finish a book, I’m prompted to rate it and give a review.  That’s a lot of pressure!  I love to read, and I love to discuss the books I’ve read, but somehow putting a rating on it just seems so complicated.  It is really difficult for me to say I do not like a book.  Sure, there are books that I like more than others, but I think of books more as people who are coming in and out of my life:  they each have their place in time.  Some I may remember more strongly or more fondly, but just about every one has shaped me in some way. 

So, I figured if I’m going to start sharing books here, I should probably get more comfortable with rating them.  Part of the reason I started this blog in the first place was to get out of my comfort zone a bit.  Gotta keep pushing myself here.  When I mark a book as “finished” on Goodreads, the site prompts me to rate it and review it.  Goodreads uses a 5-star rating system:

   Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 12.32.52 PMDid not like it

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 12.33.03 PMIt was ok

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 12.33.15 PMLiked it

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 12.33.40 PMReally liked it

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 12.33.53 PMIt was amazing

Seems simple enough, but the tricky part with this generic rating system is that it doesn’t account for differences in literary style or subject.  It’s merely a factor of liking.  I guess that’s where the review comes into play, but I think there are a couple other classifications I would add to this rating system.  And, going forward on this blog, I will include them in my reviews. 

1) Would I read it again?  There are plenty of books that I liked or thought were just ok that I would love to read again.  Many classics fall into this category, mainly because I think the reason these books are considered classics is that they speak in so many different ways.  There are many books that I read in my high school English classes that I didn’t really connect with, but I would love to give these books another chance to see what message they have for me now.  Likewise, there are many amazing books that I’m not sure I would read again.  For me, they may hold a special place in my heart that I don’t want to taint.  Kind of like the concept of overselling or going back to a place that holds a special memory.  You will never experience it in the same way, and so, it will always fall short of your expectations going forward.  Better to just let the memory live on unspoiled.

2) Would I recommend it to others?  Because reading is such a personal experience to me, there are books that I think are amazing simply because of where I was (in time or place) when I read them.  Maybe I learned something about myself while reading a book, but the book itself didn’t necessarily offer profound wisdom.  In this case, it’s not the book that I remember, but what my brain registered as a result of reading the book that I take away.  In this case, I would not expect the book to have the same effect on another reader, and so, I may or may not recommend it as a must-read.  I really do think that everyone can take away some piece of wisdom or experience from just about any book.  It has more to do with the reader’s relationship WITH the book, than the book’s causal effect on the reader.  In a way, reading a book is more of a conversation, albeit a silent one, between the reader and the characters because the reader is always coloring the characters as a result of his or her own personal experiences.  For me, reading is the greatest teacher of empathy and one of the reasons reading to young children is so important.

I can’t wait to share my first review of my 2016 reading list next week!  Until then, happy reading!


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