Come December 31st 2014, Ajoobacats Blog will be 2 years old. The time has flown past in a haze of book review requests, blog posts and my very first hosting of a blog tour, which I enjoyed very much. At this moment in time I am feeling burnt out and a little mentally exhausted. This could be from reading books or it may just be Seasonal Affective Disorder, I don’t know. The result is my mind just won’t function like I want it to resulting in my being in a rut or having a book hangover and rather than ploughing on with my reading and writing a review, I am writing this blog post about my fatigue and a revised star rating system I intend to employ on Amazon, Goodreads etc.

Unfortunately, it happens every year: I read and review, eventually find it harder to review books and then finally have to admit I need to ditch the to-be-reviewed list and do a bit of meditation, reflection and conventional recreational reading the old fashioned way, where I choose books from Amazon like any normal, voracious reader without formulating a review as I read, which is a surprisingly hard habit to break.

I go to the gym daily, crochet a bit, watch 2 hours of TV a day (incidental, not planned), watch movies online and keep weekly appointments but admit I read rather than socialise. Books are just easier than people, usually.

Recently I have been reading blogs and reviews, which I am finding is increasingly more enjoyable to do and helpful when blogging myself. I happened to be reading reviews on Goodreads when I came across a review for a book that is next on my to-be-reviewed pile. The reviewer, I don’t remember who and it really doesn’t matter, awarded the book one star. As I read the review I learned that this reviewer only awards one star or five stars; basically his ethos is the book is either worth reading or it’s not, it can’t be three-fifths worth reading.

I’m not sure I can be as rigid as this, despite much evidence to the contrary in my life, living with clinically diagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder. I’m not saying this reviewer is wrong, he does have a point, but my current star rating system goes like this:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved it!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Liked it.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ It was OK…
⭐️⭐️ Did not like it, it isn’t for me.

I usually write reviews for books I award ⭐️⭐️⭐️or above and honestly, I never re-read a book, I already know what happens and don’t have the patience to go through it again even if I love it. However, with the number of books I have reviewed, the influence of this reviewers ethos and my changing opinion of the review system I feel more comfortable switching to:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Loved it!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Liked it.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Didn’t like it enough…
⭐️⭐️ Definitely not for me!

I will not be reviewing books on my blog if I don’t award them ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ or above. I’m hoping this new system will stave off burning out after reviewing 100 odds books and allow me to write reviews for more books that I like, as what I like is becoming a narrower spectrum with age I think.

One of the best books I read this year was I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. After reading this complex and riveting thriller the very next book I went to had a lot to live up to fairly or unfairly. Unfortunately it didn’t really hit the mark for me as it lacked the skilful sophistication of I Am Pilgrim. I felt apologetically bad about not liking the next book, awarded it ⭐️⭐️⭐️, then wrote a review stating what I found lacking. I got a response from the author that development of certain aspects that bugged me was in the offing and a thanks for my review. It all sounds very constructive doesn’t it?

Under my new system the next book would not get a review and the author will not get constructive feedback but I would have avoided spending my time writing a review for a book I didn’t like and spend more time reading ones I do. Is that better?