I've always enjoyed rating and ranking things. Whether it be CDs or movies or books, I've always felt the need to have distinct favorites, a distinct list of my top 10, and to rate things (which is in stark contrast to the fact that I'm completely indecisive about everything). This might be why I chose to start a blog where I review things. I like not only expressing my feelings about something, but also giving it a score that defines how good I think that thing is.
However, as I've been reviewing more and more books, I've realized that I seem to be a fairly tough rater. Many of my favorite booktubers have average book ratings somewhere above 4 stars (out of 5). I, however, have an average of 3.38. Of the 113 books I've rated on Goodreads, only 14 books have received a 5 star rating. In comparison, I've given out thirty-nine 4 star ratings and forty-one 3 star ratings.
Am I that unimpressed with the books I read that I've rated the majority of my books as just "average" and have only thought that 14 books deemed receiving five stars? I mean, I only gave three of the Harry Potter books a 5 star rating, and that's my favorite series ever!
I've realized that the large number of 4 star ratings is due to me shirking away from giving a book 5 stars unless I think it truly deserves it. I've read a book, thought that it's good enough to deserve 4.75 stars... and yet still clicked the 4 star rating, simply because I didn't think it deserved the full 5 star rating. That book was closer to being a 5 star than to being a 4 star, and yet I still gave it 4.
Along similar lines, when I go to do the ratings for my CDs On My Shelf posts, I have trouble giving CDs the full 10 stars unless they're one of my all-time, perfect, can't-be-beaten, CDs. So far, I've discussed several CDs that I would consider to be among my favorites... and all but 1 of those favorites has received 9.5 stars rather than 10. And when it came to that single CD that received 10 stars, I knew going into the post that it would get the full 10 stars, because it's my second favorite CD of ALL TIME. The 4 CDs I've discussed which received 9.5 ratings would all fall within my top 20 CDs ever, and possibly in the top 10, and yet they only received 9.5. Why?
I feel like I often hold the books I read (and the music I listen to) to unreachable standards. A couple times, I've found myself thinking that a book wasn't as good as Harry Potter, so there was no way it deserved the full 5 stars. That's a ridiculous standard for me to hold any books to, because I know full well that I'll never love a book or series as much as I love Harry Potter. And yet I use it as a comparison. Is it justified, or is it stupid? I can't decide.
Lately, I've been more lenient with my 5 star ratings, just to try it out. I've been using Goodreads' little descriptors attached to the ratings (5 stars= it was amazing, 4= really liked it, 3= liked it, 2= it was ok, 1= didn't like it) to help me decide what to give it. In the last month, I've given 3 books 5 star ratings- Clockwork Princess, City of Glass, and City of Heavenly Fire. I definitely think that Clockwork Princess deserved every single decimal of the 5 star rating... but I'm not sure about the other two. How can I give all 3 books the same rating, when I could easily rank them from best to worst?
Do I give out less 10 star ratings because I want to save them for those very special books/movies/CDs, or because I'm not as easily impressed as the general public? I'd like to believe that it's both. As creative and artsy as I am, I'm also a thinker. I tend to be really analytical and that tends to lead to being somewhat critical. So I can certainly see that I'm probably a more difficult person to please. However, I do feel like I try to save the "full marks" for books/CDs that are genuinely special- books that I can re-read over and over with the same enjoyment; CDs that I can enjoy all the time, regardless of any outside factors. It's not just a quality rating, but an emotional rating as well- the difference between like and love.
I guess I say all of this to say... I'm stingy with my 10 star ratings, and I think I'm OK with that. If you see that I've given full stars to anything in any medium, you know that it's not just something I thought was good and slapped a rating on. Rather, it's something I think is special and really care about, which is what I think that a full star rating is all about in the first place. Could I be a little more lenient? Sure. Should I just go ahead and give the rest of the Harry Potter series the full stars? Probably. Will I?......... Maybe. I like being able to easily denote my favorites in the series.
So what are your thoughts on this whole thing? Do you (whether you're a reviewer or not) tend to be picky with your ratings? Do you hold off on full-star ratings like I do, or do you tend to hand them out fairly freely? Once again, sorry for it being so rambley- it was practically stream of consciousness writing. I used my filter very sparingly.
Hopefully, either Monday or Tuesday will be my Prisoner of Azkaban Discussion post. That will hopefully be followed closely by my May/June book haul (which is
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