The Sunday Symposium is a weekly feature in which I'll be discussing various bookish topics and asking for your commentary, as well. This week, let's talk about how we rate books.
Reading is a personal experience. Deciding what to read is even more so. But most subjective of all is the reviewing process. Each reviewer has their own method, and no two reviewers will review or rate every book they read the same. This is the beauty -- and the flaw -- with having such an idiosyncratic process. Some readers inevitably review books based on how the reading experience made them feel, while others stick to calculating every aspect of the book, down to the decimal point.
And then there are the ratings systems themselves. Some rate with words. Others with stars. Some reviewers don't even use a ratings system! The horror! :P As long as there's some way for you to show whether you'd recommend the book to me or not, I don't actually care if you use a rating system or what kind it is. I don't skip the review and scroll right to the rating. (Unless I'm really excited about the book and I want to know how you felt about it, without risking any spoilers.)
Honestly, I'm more of an emotional reader. Mood reader. Whatever you want to call it. I rate books based on the level of glee I feel when I turn the last page. I figure that I touch upon all of the important aspects of the novel in my reviews: characters, world-building, writing style, etc. That rating is just there to give you a general idea of how much enjoyment I took away from the book. Or how little.
So, I'm wondering, how do you rate books? Do you give them a grade? Do you find yourself awarding stars for the feels? Do you think you're a harsh judge or do you let a lot of less-than-perfect books squeak by with five stars because you just loved them, regardless of any faults? Do you feel like you can't trust us emotional raters? Do you even rely on ratings to guide your reading choices at all? If you're a reviewer, do you use a rating system?
For me, it all depends on the book. I critique some books harder than others, and it does depend a lot on the anticipation level prior to reading the book. I don't have super-high expectations, but I want to love every book I read. Who wants to spend precious hours reading a book that they're not enjoying? And this is partially why I've actually started DNFing books recently. But that's a discussion for another day.
Any and all commentary, chastising, and public flogging is welcome, as per usual. And thanks for stopping by!