Saturday, 9 January 2016

Should We Trust Book Ratings? | Discussion

One of the biggest things that define a book is the rating that it gets on Goodreads , Amazon or even on your favourite book blogger or booktuber's review. It seems like a pretty solid system but can we trust it? Everyone will read a book differently to the next person and we all have our own opinions and experiences that will have an effect on our liking or disliking of the book , so how can we trust other people's rating? What if reading the rating is stopping us from reading books that we could love , just because we're afraid of not liking them? 

What is a star rating anyways? Everyone has a different definition of what each star means so for one person 3 stars could be a really good book but for another it could be a not so great one. Sometimes I can't even figure out what rating I should give a book based on my personal system! 

For me there's a list of books that go well beyond 5 stars but there's no way of showing that. If a book leaves me with an emotional connection to the story , I put it on my special 5+ list but again , this is different for everyone! I'm definitely guilty of avoiding books because of a bad rating and it frustrates me to think that I could've missed out on an amazing story.

I've noticed that a lot of people mark a book down because of a character who acts in a way that's not right for example being racist, sexist or manipulative which I never really understood. I understand that you may not think that things like that should be promoted but in my opinion it's a character trait that should change your opinion on the character not the book. If there was a murderer in a book , I wouldn't give it less stars because I don't think murder should be promoted. Of course if it makes you uncomfortable , you didn't enjoy the book as much so mark it down but I don't really agree with thoroughly enjoying a book and marking it down because one character was discriminating in some way.

The point I'm trying to make is should we be so trusting of book ratings when everyone has different ways of rating that you might not necessarily agree with? I'd love to hear what you have to say about this in the comments! 

10 comments:

  1. Interesting discussion!
    I'm guilty of looking at ratings for books and making a snap judgement based on that of whether I want to read it or not. If the synopsis still sounds like exactly my kind of thing then I'll probably still give it a go but otherwise I likely won't. It's a shame as I would also hate to be missing out on good books!
    You're right though, everyone has a different system and it's hard to determine if you won't like a book just because someone else gave it 3 stars. I don't understand the marking down because of bad character traits either. If everyone in the book was perfect then surely it would make the book boring? I only mark down for character reasons if they are extremely annoying and it has a huge impact on my enjoyment of the story.
    ­­ Nicola Reads YA

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    1. I feel like some people have a higher tolerance for annoying characters than I do but I think marking it down because they annoy you so much that you don't enjoy it is completely different to marking it down because of traits! Thanks for visiting my blog :)

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  2. Unless it's a reviewer that I know and trust, I usually don't go by rating and look at the reviews... and then try to find reviews on the opposite spectrum so I get the full spectrum. (Yes, I am very thorough in searching for new books LOL) Usually I tend to not have ratings limit my interests though - if a blurb has caught my attention, then I am 110% caught, even if it has a particular low rating LOL.
    The thing about rating down for an annoying character trait for me is that if I don't like the characters, then the whole book was basically a bust. Seriously, characters are VERY important - they're usually the ones that drive the story! If I can't stand them, then it's hard to really enjoy the book, which means it doesn't deserve that high of a rating... Well, that's how I rate anyhow. XD I know many bloggers have many different types of ratings/reviews, and mine are pretty subjunctive hehe.

    Great dicussion!

    - Aila @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. I'm trying to listen to the blurb more , it's a much better way to do it! Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  3. I love this discussion! For one, I often see on Twitter people degrading a book or telling others not to read it because of what a character does or how they are in a certain book! You have no control over what that author writes and if you don't agree with it, that's fine but don't shame other people into possibly not liking it!! And you never know if an author makes a character act that way for character development...

    And another thing, I feel like there is no way of distinguishing some of my stars on Goodreads. I do have a "favorites" shelf, which I put some of my books that I like above all others - but sometimes I feel like some of my 2 and 3 stars can run into each other, and some of my 3 and 4 stars run into each other. Perhaps half stars would amend this? I'm not sure. I usually go with my gut feeling. Lately, I've been trying to wait a few days because after I think about a rating I realize I should have either lowered it or raised it.

    http://novelsandnecklaces.blogspot.com

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    1. Exactly! People always try to turn others away from books with problematic characters but I really don't see what good that does! That's very true , I often give a book 5 stars as soon as I finish it but after a few days it goes down to 4 or even 3 stars!

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  4. I tend to consider books with at least 3 stars on GR, as that's average. But I don't just stop there. I also read the synopsis and the reviews of my GR friends. If they haven't reviewed it, I'll look through some of the other reviews. I want to know why people rated a book the way they did, as what they didn't like might not be such an issue for me.

    I like it when book bloggers have a clear marking scheme for stars. For example, you can find mine in my sidebar, where I'm clear that 3 stars isn't bad, and to get a full 5 stars, I have to want to reread a book (which doesn't happen often).

    About your point about marking a book down because of a character flaw. I think there are two important points to consider here. First, characters are part of a book, so they should influence the overall rating. Second, there's a difference between a murderer being cruel and someone who is otherwise supposed to be a friend or love interest cruel. I can completely understand people getting upset and marking down a book if the intended love interest is abusive.

    Anyway, great discussion! You made me really think about how I look at stars!

    Dani @ Dani Reviews Things

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    1. Having a marking scheme is a great idea! I completely understand that they're part of the book but I feel like too many people forget that it could be part of their character arc , you know? If it makes you uncomfortable then I fully understand why you'd mark it down but I'm talking about the people who thoroughly enjoy the book despite all of that! You made some great points though , thanks for commenting!

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  5. I think any book rating needs to be taken with a grain of salt, because, like you said, different ratings mean different things to different people. For me ratings aren't the be all end all, it's the thoughts and feelings the review had that matter most. If they seem to have reading tastes that are similar to mine, then I give their rating more weight.

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