Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How I Rate Books!

Edit [4-25-16]: This version of my rating system is outdated. My current rating system can be found HERE.

Hey, y'all! So, today I thought I would discuss how I rate books. Over the past week, I've been re-thinking the way that I rate books, and actually went through my ratings and re-defined what each rating means to me. I used to have a lot of in-between ratings, such as 9.25 or something like that, but I have restricted my ratings to whole numbers and .5 numbers. However, I will continue to use a 10 point scale, because I feel like it gives a more accurate portrayal of my feelings.

Since the majority of people operate on a 5 point scale, I'll give the 5 point scale equivalent beside my 10 point rating, as well as the rating I would give it on Goodreads. This Goodreads equivalent is especially important because there are only 5 options on Goodreads, but 20 options on my 10 point scale. So there will be several ratings on Goodreads that will fall under the same rating, thus making my 10 point specifications all the more important.

For most of the ratings, I have sections titled "key words" and "epitome books." The key words are just how they sound-- the key words that I think define books with this rating. This helps me figure out the subtle differences between books. Epitome books are also fairly self explanatory- these are the books that I feel are the epitome of how I should feel about a book receiving that rating. Both of these two sections are works in progress. As I think of words and books that better define these ratings, I will add them in. For many ratings (especially lower ratings), I don't have epitome books or key words, because I just simply haven't come across any that I feel epitomize that rating. The "epitome books" might not be extremely helpful for y'all to understand my ratings (since you probably have different opinions on these books), but they do really help me to choose a rating. This comparison is not really about the books themselves, but about my emotions and opinions on the books.

10/10 = 5/5

Key Words: whoa. perfect. mind blown. obsessed.

This book is not just really great, but also has that special umph that makes me want to hug it (this emotion is really key. This might be weird to some people, but if I really love a book, I tend to just sit there and hug it when I finish it, because it was just so beautiful). Not only do I fall in love with this book, but it could be considered an obsession and it definitely sticks with me. This book is a total stand-out.

Epitome Books: 
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Although there were many other books that could fit there, these seem like a more accurate representation of a 10 because I was so drawn in that I couldn't put the book down because I was so obsessed.

9.5/10 = 5/5

Key Words: amazing. almost perfect. 

This book was almost perfect, but missing a little extra umph that would push it to a 10. When I give a 9.5, I often wonder why my gut is telling me that it's not a full 10/10, and this is usually because it lacks that indefinable X factor that will push it over the edge (this is typically key). This book is really great and really impressive, but lacks the obsession, and probably doesn't stick with me quite as much.

Epitome Books: 
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

These are the epitome for me because they all missed out on a full 10 star rating solely because of that X factor. There was some little umph that was missing, and that is definitely the key to this rating.

9/10 = 4.5/5
(4 on Goodreads)

Key Words: really great. love.

This book is a really wonderful book, but there were maybe one or two things that weren't perfect. There are some slight flaws, but I still feel like this book deserves an "A." One of the most important things that defines this is that I can still say that I honestly love the book.  Another key difference between a 9 and an 8.5 is that to get higher than an 8.5, something has to really impress me. Maybe a really great plot twist or really outstanding world building, but something has to make me say "OK, that was really great."

Epitome Books: 
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
 Black Water by DJ MacHale

I feel like these epitomize a 9 because they're both in some of my favorite series and they're among my favorite books in their respective series. I love both of them, but there were one or two complaints I had about each one, keeping them from receiving higher ratings.

8.5/5 = 4/5

Key Words: great. 

This book probably won't become an all-time favorite, but I did really enjoy it. This book is pretty solid, but has some issues or aspects that keep me from considering it an "A" quality book. Often, this is missing the umph/x factor that would otherwise draw me in and make me give it a slightly higher rating. I can't quite say that I loved this book.

Epitome Books: 
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

All of these are great, and are in some of my favorite series. They aren't my absolute favorite books in the series, but they are really great. However, they all lack that little umph that would have gotten them higher ratings.

8/10 = 4/5

Key Words: really good.

I feel that this definitely deserves a "B"/ full 4 stars. 8 is typically the cut-off for books that I really enjoy. Anything lower than this leaves the "really good" realm and goes into "good," "like," and "nice."

Epitome Books: 
Carrie by Stephen King
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

All of these books are really good. Each one varies as to why they received this rating, but I feel like they all fit here. They are all worthy of receiving 4 stars, but not quite good enough to get a slightly higher rating.

7.5/10 = 3.5/5
(3 on Goodreads)

Key Words: above average. good.

This book is better than just "nice," but not quite good enough to get to a full four stars. There were enough issues/ drawbacks that I just couldn't call it "really" good.

Epitome Books: 
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

These books are better than just nice or average, but I don't think that they deserve a fill 4 star rating.

7/10 = 3.5/5
(3 on Goodreads)

Key Words: alright. nice. like. basic.

This book was nice and I liked it, but it just wasn't anything special. I feel like 7/10 is the universal "nice-but-not-impressive" rating for anything, whether it be a book, movie, CD, etc.

Epitome Books: 
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Giver by Lois Lowry

These books are all just nice. I like them, but I wasn't impressed. They're like a girl who's basic-- likable but they blend into their surroundings and aren't unique or special.

6.5/10 = 3/5

Key Words: N/A (yet)

With this book, I'm somewhere between thinking that I just wasn't impressed and thinking that it wasn't really my thing.

Epitome Books: 
Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

With this book, I went back and forth trying to figure out if I just wasn't impressed and thinking it wasn't my thing, so it perfectly describes my feelings on books with this rating.

6/10 = 3/5

Key Words: N/A (yet)

OK, but definitely not my thing. I would definitely recommend it to people with a different taste than me. I had some definite issues with it, but I can definitely see why other people like it. (And yes, I recognize that I said definite way too many times)

Epitome Books: 
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Both of these books were disappointments to me, but they weren't bad, and I could definitely see why someone else would like them. The problems I had with them were things that other people might not find problematic.

5.5/10 = 2.5/5
(3 on Goodreads)

Key Words: N/A (yet)

Books with ratings 5.5-4.5 are mostly equivalent, but with 5.5, the positives just slightly out-weigh the negatives.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

5/10 = 2.5/5
(3 on Goodreads)

Key Words: meh. ambivalent.

With this book, it's very likely that I have conflicting emotions. It wasn't terrible, but it certainly wasn't great. I'm not sure who I would recommend this book to, because I don't have strong emotions either way with this.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

4.5/10 = 2.5/5
(3 on Goodreads)

Key Words: N/A (yet)

Like I said before, this book is mostly equivalent to 5 and 5.5, but the negatives just slightly out-weigh the positives. 

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

4/10 = 2/5

Key Words: problematic.

This book has more problems than good aspects. I might recommend it to someone, but definitely not to someone with the same tastes as me. If I were to recommend it to someone, I would tell them to approach it with caution if they really do want to read it, because I think that this book is technically very problematic.

Epitome Books: 
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Big Four by Agatha Christie

These books are here because I had technical problems with them that really bothered me. 

3.5/10 = 1.5/5
(2 on Goodreads)

Key Words: dislike.

I didn't like this book, and cannot recommend it to anyone in good conscience. This book had less problems than would be present in a 3 star book, but only marginally.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

3/10 = 1.5/5
(2 on Goodreads)

Key Words:  really dislike.

I really disliked this book, and I would never recommend this book to anyone. However, there is either on redeemable quality or the quality across the board is better than that of a book receiving 1/5. However, this book definitely still cannot be defined as good. I had several problems that were impossible to overlook.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

2.5/10 = 1/5

Key Words: N/A (yet) 

This book falls under "hate" for me. There may be one quality that wasn't completely terrible, but nothing more than that. Probably conflicted between wanting to give it 3 stars, but not thinking that it deserves 2/5.

Epitome Books: 
Looking For Alaska by John Green

This book is here because it is one of the few books that I can honestly say that I hate.

2/10 = 1/5

Key Words: hate. angry.

While most ratings below this are offensive and upsetting, this is defined more as an angry hatred. I had several fundamental problems and this book makes me angry and I had an extreme dislike for it.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

1.5/10 = .5/5
(1 on Goodreads)

Key Words: upset. 

I would define this book as very, very bad. Maybe some aspects of the book weren't quite so terrible, but I still find it offensive. This makes me extremely upset. I can't imagine that anyone would like this book, and feel the same about all of the ratings below this as well.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

1/10 = .5/5
(1 on Goodreads)

Key Words: terrible. awful. very bad.

This book is almost as bad as a book receiving a .5. However, it has perhaps one redeeming factor, whether that's "not terrible" writing/plot/character/etc. However, nothing about it could be described as "good."

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

.5/10 = .5/5
(1 on Goodreads)

Key Words: vomit. offensive. gross.

This is the worst book I've ever read. The only reason I'm actually giving this a rating is to increase the number of 1 star ratings on it. I wonder how this book even got published. Everything about this book was horrible and wrong, form the plot, to the characters, just absolutely everything. Extremely offended. No redeeming factors.

Epitome Books: N/A (yet)

So there you go, those are my rating guidelines. I'll be doing a video discussing this in the near future, so if you're subscribed to my YouTube Channel, be on the lookout for that soon! If you're not subscribed, the link is below! 

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  1. I agree with the scale from 0-10. I usually use solid numbers, since I feel there's enough leeway, but it's great that you clarify them in this fashion. The only time I give something a zero, though, is if I find it inexcusable or immoral. I have only given four books this rating, though.

    1. I feel like I personally can't give a book a rating of a 0 in good conscience. For me, regardless of how much I hated/ was offended by a book, I think that it deserves some sort of rating, and to rate a book 0 (on Goodreads) is to not rate it at all, which doesn't convey the message as strongly as I would want to. But that's just me!


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