New thoughts on my ratings system

A discussion post, of sorts.

I’ve realised that my rating system ends up being a bit arbitrary, so I’m trying to codify it below. At the moment, a book gets a “gut feeling” score when I start writing my review, which is normally a few days after I’ve finished it (and I can have read a number of books in the meantime) but sometimes a month or two afterwards!

I’ve decided on a few based guidelines:

If I couldn’t put the book down – at least 7.

If I didn’t finish it – no more than 4.

To get a ten, I have to have been deeply moved by the book and to want everyone around me to read it immediately.

Obviously I reserve the right to continue rating books on whatever scale I feel like and to make exceptions to my rules above.

What do you think? Do marks out of ten help? Suggestions for further rules?


12 thoughts on “New thoughts on my ratings system

  1. Jennifer Wallace 17 October 2012 at 5:28 pm Reply

    I have never bothered giving ratings to my reviews – I find it too difficult! I’m always more likely to be too kind and rate upwards then I look back on it and think that two novels I’ve given 4 stars to are not equally deserving and I have to start again…

    • readingwithtea 18 October 2012 at 10:00 am Reply

      Yes – that is a problem. How did I only give Sense & Sensibility a 6/10 the first time I read it? I try not to look bad and self-correct too much.

  2. Shelagh (@wordfiendsa) 17 October 2012 at 5:49 pm Reply

    Hi Yvann – I also rate books by gut instinct/my reaction. I have a loose guideline for myself (here if you want to take a peek), but I use it as a general framework. I also rate books out of 10 – I find it gives me a better range of scores to work in.

    Hope that helps! And keep up with the tea. 😉

  3. Liburuak 17 October 2012 at 11:18 pm Reply

    I’m far from wanting to convince you to follow down my path, but personally I recently gave up rating books out of ten. I explain why here:
    And to be honest, I haven’t looked back. I think ratings are helpful if you want a first feel for whether a book is any good or not. If you want the full picture, you need to read the review anyway. But then again, tastes differ so much that at the end, whether you like a book or not is a very personal thing. And then what do you do if one blogger gives 10 and another gives 3? 😉
    Dunno, for me it didn’t do the trick any more, so I ditched my rating system. I’m curious what solution you’ll end up settling for.

    • readingwithtea 18 October 2012 at 10:01 am Reply

      Oooh helpful, thanks! I’ve seen a few where some people love it and some don’t, and I’m usually intrigued enough to want to read it! (e.g. Goon Squad)

  4. jatvla 17 October 2012 at 11:35 pm Reply

    I am happy with your rating system. As I read more of your posts and read some of the books you have read I learn your system and then use that as a guide as to whether I’ll read the book or not. A score out of 10 is a great quick way to see how you felt and then I read your description to see why you felt like that.

    • readingwithtea 18 October 2012 at 10:02 am Reply

      I’m glad you stop by often enough to understand my scale!

  5. Charlie 18 October 2012 at 12:21 pm Reply

    It’s often difficult to mark out of ten (I do 5 but have 0.5’s in there too, so basically the same) but you just have to go with, as you say first, your gut. I think 4 itself is generous if you didn’t finish a book 🙂 The other marks make sense, too.

  6. Chinoiseries 21 October 2012 at 11:26 am Reply

    Rating systems, like ratings themselves, are very arbitrary. I.e. both Leeswammes and me use a scale of 5, but she rates books 4 points if she thinks it was an ok read. I give 2 points if it was ok, 3 if I liked it quite a lot, but wasn’t wowed by it.
    I agree with Charlie, four for a DNF is rather generous 😉

    • readingwithtea 21 October 2012 at 12:02 pm Reply

      Well, e.g. Casual Vacancy and a bunch coming up this week – they have plenty of redeeming features and others might like them. I just didn’t want to finish them. Not every DNF gets a 4! (although I think I’ve only awarded 0 once)

  7. Nose in a book 30 October 2012 at 9:27 pm Reply

    I dislike rating systems, because I think they’re too arbitrary. My immediate response on finishing a book is most closely linked to how easy/compelling a read it was. And even after some thinking time it can be hard to balance complexity/cleverness, quality of writing, characterisation and ease/compulsion of reading.

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