Are review ratings too harsh?

Sometimes I wonder if I rate books too harshly. Today (June 7th) my goodreads profile tells me I’ve got 231 ratings with an average of 3,76 out of 5. Of course it isn’t that low, but it’s not high either.

If I’m kinda interested in a book and it’s got an average of 3,76… I wouldn’t be bothered to even read a sample of said book and I certainly wouldn’t buy it. Usually I go for books with a rating of at least 4,0.

The thing is, I want to be honest in my ratings and I don’t love all books I read (I don’t understand book blogs who rate everything four or five stars, but that’s another story).

But still, do I rate too harshly? I understand the ratings as follows:

1 star

This book shouldn’t have been published. This may be for example because it is horribly written or something really unhealthy is presented as desirable.

2 stars

Here are books that didn’t work for me or had a few things wrong with them.

3 stars

Books I found to be okay. I won’t read them again but it wasn’t a waste of time and I am sure a lot of people will like these books.

4 stars

These books will be read again and you should check them out because they’re really good.

5 stars

My absolute favourites. No questions asked. If we were friends I’d have the urge to ask you daily if you have read it yet.

This is a rather clear rating system, isn’t it? I’m still hesitant to rate one star, to be honest, although there are a few books which have gotten this rating.

Some people say you have got to rate every book at least three stars, because the author put so much work into it. I have read books which were just so bad and things weren’t researched, so they were not as much work. So this argument is not an argument in my eyes.

But let’s put that aside. Why have a rating system which goes from bad to awesome if you’re not allowed to use bad? And if you’re not allowed to use bad, wouldn’t three stars become the new bad? Since that’s the minimum. It doesn’t make any sense to rate every book at least three stars, now does it?

Book ratings are a tool to sort books into either most people don’t like this or most people do like this. Every person is different, I for example have read books with a nearly five star rating and I had to dnf them. And there are books with a low rating I enjoyed. But like I said at the beginning, I use ratings and reviews to make informed buying choices.

If I translate my average rating it means most books I’ve read were okay with a tendency to enjoyable and I think this sums up my reading experience perfectly and is therefore not too harsh.

3 replies

      • I can’t imagine how lucky you could be to read books with over 4 stars average.
        Yes, one point is they might give too high ratings, but that also might be a case of “I read only great books that thousands of others loved”. I’m more of an experimental reader, I like to check some free stories and unknown authors from time to time and you’re bound to get some really bad reads there sometimes.

        Liked by 1 person

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