Hosted by Should Be Reading
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
This weeks musing is about book review sites and more pertinently why have a five star system if you can’t use the whole range?
Each of us rates in a slightly different way, after all by its very nature, a review is a personal opinion.
I write reviews on Amazon.co.uk and have done for a number of years now. I struggle with the rating system, mainly because I believe in following the rules and being honest. I generally stick to:
5*’s I love it
4*’s I like it
3*’s It’s OK
2*’s I don’t like it
1* I hate it
but even this has problems as what is the difference between I hate it and I don’t like it? For me I give one star reviews to those books I haven’t finished. There are further caveats to this, if I have chosen a book that simply isn’t for me subject wise I wouldn’t leave a review as I believe that it is my fault, I have picked something I was never going to like.
A couple of times I have received less than complimentary feedback from the author when I have given a book one star (which I might add is very rare), one was quite abusive and left me wondering what sort of impression the author thought that would give of him to potential readers? After all mine is one amongst many reviews.
At the other end of the scale I sometimes find it hard to choose between four and five stars. Yes I know loving something should be easy to discern but I find myself questioning how much do I love it? This year has been an outstanding book year for me so I have given many more five star reviews. This has made me wonder am I getting better at picking good books, more easily pleased (I somehow doubt this) or more open to different types of books thereby enjoying fresh ideas ? Who knows? (can someone tell me whether rhetorical questions should have a question mark or not, I’ve been debating for ages and gone with the ?)
Anyway what prompted this post was an attack on Goodreads for giving a one star review for a book I didn’t finish. I didn’t read to the end mainly due to the plot holes, and what I felt was less than perfect research. The commenter stated that I had been spiteful, lacked the concentration to finish the book(?) then accused me of being a rival author and/or knowing the author of the book. I admit my comments were a little throw-away but I hid them as spoiler alerts so that they weren’t visible unless someone really wanted to read them. This made me think about the whole rival author thing that everyone seems to get worked up about. If I were an author (which I am not) then how would giving another author a one star review help me? Surely this would only work if there were only a few books available and it was a simple choice between one or the other… this clearly isn’t the case so?? Comments on a postcard please (or at the bottom of this post if you prefer)
The commenter made another point that it is hard to write a book and therefore I shouldn’t be spiteful… I agree writing a book isn’t an easy task and I do have admiration for anyone who does this but it doesn’t mean that I am going to like it however much an author sweated over its birth, To me it seems a little like school sports days; everyone doesn’t deserve a prize for trying this is the real world! I didn’t go and criticise all those people who gave five star reviews and caused me to spend my hard-earned cash on this book! I accept that what I felt made the book unreadable wouldn’t matter to someone who didn’t necessarily know the subject. I have been told a book I like has an overlong sentence structure. Apart from a brief, oh dear I didn’t even notice the sentence structure I must seem so uneducated moment, I accepted that the other reader wanted something different from the book to what is important to me.
This isn’t a post about a particular site although from what I understand is Goodreads has caused some controversy lately with its deletion of accounts but more about how fans react when a book they love isn’t appreciated by others. What happened to live and let live?…. a book with loads of higher ratings will surely not really be damaged by my dislike of the book? Can’t it?