Reflecting On My Reading And Revising My Use Of The ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Rating System

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?

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12 thoughts on “Reflecting On My Reading And Revising My Use Of The ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Rating System

  1. Nice post. I read and review and sometimes all ‘read out’ and find reviewing hard. So then I try and read something enjoyable ‘for me alone’.

    I am always confused when authors or publisher contact because they really don’t like a review. As I say: Who are authors writing for if not an audience? and if the audience have constructive criticisms about a book and the author dislikes that, then it is not the audience’s fault!

    You might be interested in an ongoing review I have written on Goodreads which has caused quite a debate on this very subject. (Book: The Oblates Confession – my name Great Book Escapes)

    🙂

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    • I’ve felt ‘read out,’ before but thought it may have been down to other things going on in my life, but my life is much more stable now and I am still feeling review fatigue, so not sure what its down to. If not an audience, then those who can profit off an audience? I think there are a lot of people, even in the realm of self-publishing who do well by having associations with ‘successful’ authors, even if they aren’t personally keen on their books. But totally agree, its not my fault if i dont like a book, I start every book hoping to be bowled over and it is a let down when that doesn’t happen. I wonder if all authors think anyone with any criticism of their book is a troll?

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      • I like to read self publishers (many very new), and often email them to review their books. I am always positively constructive to them personally but will not review publicly if I did not like the book.

        I think that authors who find it difficult to accept criticism feel that it is a personal affront to them. Of course it’s not because a book review is just that.

        When I read the blurb from publishers I often wonder who the professional are whose reviews seem to gush over a book.

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      • I used to email authors back with my thoughts if I couldnt give the book more than 2 stars but after a few bad experiences over a year ago, I stopped. Now I am tempted to just put the book aside if it doesn’t call to me and move on to the next one like many book bloggers do, providing any feedback, no matter how sensitively done is abhorrant to too many.

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      • I understand what you are saying. I always try and find at least 3 positive things about the book I read, so that they have something that I liked about it! At the end of the day it is about whether you enjoyed the book or not, and if you didn’t you have to say why 🙂

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      • My attitude has been if i don’t have nice things to say about a book I won’t review it. I don’t subcribe to book bashing and I dislike reading someone tearing a book apart, afterall just because i don’t like it, it doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, however, if something bugs me in an otherwise likeable read I have always thought it remiss to not mention it in my review, but honestly, I am now thinking why bother? If I don’t gush about every book I read I will be a troll as far as some authors are concerned, so maybe I should only publish ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ reviews, that way everyone is happy.

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  2. I think you’re onto something here. I’m like you, in that I need to take off time to do my own personal reading when I get exhausted from reviewing. About a year ago, I changed my outlook to this: I only read and review books that I personally like. I don’t even accept a review request if it’s something that doesn’t intrigue me. I don’t write a review if it’s not a book I would truly recommend.

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  3. I read your book review guidelines page before seeing this post and I was really confused, but now it makes sense. And it does make sense – only expend energy on books you actually liked. Fair enough.
    Except sometimes I find writing reviews for books I didn’t like even more fun. I know that’s not good – I should be more positively-minded! But don’t you find sometimes you just need to hash-out why you DIDN’T like a book? Or do you find it easy to let it go and focus on books you really like?

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    • There are times I feel like I have been robbed when I don’t enjoy a promising book but writing a bad review takes more energy than a good one and I don’t enjoy reading bad reviews, particularly of books I like. No book is absolutely perfect for everyone but I would feel happier reading/reviewing 10 good books than 10 bad books, as I read to be stimulated, challenged and happy.

      Liked by 1 person

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