Originally when I first started rating books I awarded stars based on how much I enjoyed reading the book overall. However, now at 43 years of age in the era of fake news, Brexit and scandals, I freely admit I am rating books on how much (or how little) they annoy me.
A tongue-in-cheek self-reflection, as I ploughed through the list of books I read in the past couple of months, made me realise that there are very few books that don’t have parts that annoy. This should come as no surprise to anyone because life, people and all pastimes have less enjoyable moments and some downright challenging ones. However the annoyance I feel is overshadowing moments of enjoyment more so than ever before.
Maybe due to the volume of books I read I am less patient with characters and superfluous drama and therefore more prone to getting annoyed, who knows? Maybe I’m just a grumpy liberal? Maybe there’s just too many issues surrounding us all that ratchet up the annoyance meter in me a few more notches with which I am comfortable. Whatever it is it has changed what the five star review meter means to me.
This is how I currently award stars:
***** Didn’t annoy me at all or annoyed me so little I don’t recollect.
**** Annoyed me a bit but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.
*** Annoyed me enough to irritate but it might just be me who lacks the tolerance to enjoy the eccentricities in this book.
** Annoyed me without a doubt but I still finished it. What does that say about me?
* Annoyed me to an extreme and made me livid for the time and effort I spent (trying to) read it that I’ll never get back.
This is the mental checklist that I automatically default to when clicking the number of stars I give a book. Admittedly I don’t award two or one stars very often, I don’t even recall the last book I gave a single star to, but I have noticed I award three stars more frequently now than ever. The whole rating system is based on the arbitrary frame of mind of readers, maybe a better way of seeking enjoyable reads is looking at the number of people who have chosen to rate the book? Or going back to old fashioned personal recommendations? Either way I will continue rating books in this way and maybe when I’m feeling less cantankerous I will start writing my reviews again.