recently watched a booktube vid on YouTube about the positive and/or negative aspects of rating books. The video is Goodreads Ratings: Yay or Nay? by suddenlylorna, who I love and you should check out. I’ve touched on this subject in the past but from a different perspective and I’d like to revisit it today.
I rate books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and here on my blog. I do so for several reasons.
- A rating gives an instant and brief glimpse into my feelings about a book. This is useful to me, personally, because it helps jog my memory about how I initially felt about a book. I think this is helpful to other readers too, to give them a starting place upon which to decide if they want to read a book or not.
- It’s easy. I do my very best to write about my feelings on books that I’ve read but sometimes, especially if the book is older, I don’t always take the time. A rating takes the place of a drawn out review and/or journal entry.
- A rating is less opinionated.
I can see suddenlylorna’s point about no longer wanting to rate books on GR though. She said she feels pressure to rate a book in her mind, as she’s reading it before she even finishes a book. I’m sure other readers feel the same pressure. In my mind or in a notebook, I am taking notes on what I am liking or disliking about the book as I’m reading it. I’m not assigning it a rating though. I also don’t give in to the pressure to agree with the majority. If I rate a book, its rating is coming from my experience with the book, not other people’s. This is controversial, but I’ve seen GR users gang up together to attack authors and/or books. These so-called “influencers” can severely hurt a book’s rating. This reason alone is enough to base your opinions on a book on what you take away from it, not what other people are telling you is good or bad about a book.
Ratings and opinions are subjective. The book I reviewed on Monday was given a wide range of ratings on GR. I gave it a middle rating of 3 but I could see why other people only rated it 1 star. The things that bugged me about the book bugged them even more. That’s their opinion and it isn’t right or wrong just like my opinion isn’t right or wrong. I can think of one specific book that bugged the ever living hell out of me. I can’t, not for one millisecond, see why so many people liked it. Still, it has been made into a movie and is ever so popular. Who cares? I can live with being in the minority.
Why don’t we, as a book reading society, allow ourselves to have opinions? I remember reading someone’s blog or an article or something, where someone said it’s rude to post a negative opinion about a book. Maybe it was in a Facebook group. I think it’s actually against the rules to debate about why they (the member(s)) didn’t like a specific book. Anyway, wow! Not every book published is actually good. Not every book that has received critical acclaim is good. Not every book adapted into a movie is good.
It amazes me how much pressure we put on ourselves. Allow yourself to have an opinion on your books! Of equal importance, allow others to have opinions too even if they don’t agree with yours! The world would be a boring place if we all thought the exact same things.