Ratings. This topic has been on my mind a lot recently, and I really need to get my thoughts down in text. I joined Goodreads on the recommendation of a close friend of mine about a year and a half ago, and it was the first time I began “officially rating” books I suppose you could say. Sure, I had my favourites and those automatically got five stars, and everything else sort of blurred together as the stars decreased. I quickly realised that this was just not going to work in the long term, so I became more conscious of how I rated the books I read.
I’ve always considered myself a character driven reader, and I don’t think that’s changed much. The first thing I usually remember about a book is the characters and whether I connected with them or not. Lately I’ve noticed I’m paying a lot more attention to the world-building side of the books I read. I’d still class myself as a character driven reader, but I’ve become more aware that the books I love have a balance of both these aspects.
Since starting blogging, I’m looking back over books I read a few years ago and I’m questioning myself on my rating system yet again! I'm considering doing some changes to my rating system since my blog is still in the baby stages. It hasn’t left my mind since I posted one of my Top Ten Tuesday’s a couple of weeks ago. The majority of the books I included in that list I’ve given 5 stars to on Goodreads. But for some of those I included, if I read them for the first time today I know I wouldn’t have rated them as highly. Twilight is a good example of this. I think I’d still like it, but it probably would have gotten closer to a 3, maybe 4 stars rating at most.
Twilight isn’t the only book I have this problem with. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire was the first New Adult book I read. I remember gushing about it and saying it’s one of my new all-time favourites. The very next book I chose to read was Easy by Tammara Webber. I thought it was a billion times better, and made Beautiful Disaster look silly! This was the first time a blatant inconsistency in my own rating system was shoved in my face. How can I say just ignore what I wrote a few days ago, I hadn’t a clue what I was talking about?!
And this is what I find so hard about establishing a consistent rating system: each and every book I read changes my expectations for the next one.
I love finding new favourites and trying to get as many people to read them as I can so we can all gush over the awesomeness. The down side, each time my expectations go up, and I realise my ratings are even more inconsistent.
Every year I always reread Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I love it, and I love re-visiting the characters, as well as Longbourn and Pemberley. I never re-rate it. I don’t need to as it’s always a 5 star read. I haven’t reread many other books in the past few years, as new books are catching my eye all the time and the shiny and new will take precedence.
Since I’m considering this topic, it makes me wonder what I would do. What if I ended up hating a book I loved in the past? Does my new view of the book discredit what I thought of it the first time I read it? Or does it show I’ve grown as a reader and my expectations and priorities have changed and nothing more? I have no idea! And this is where I need some help.
Do you or have you ever changed how you evaluate and rate the books you read? And do you think it's OK to change how you rate your books going forward without changing the ratings on books read in the past?