Thursday 29 June 2017

What Makes You Rate a Book Five Stars?

I was browsing through my books on Goodreads the other day and realised, I seldom rate books five stars. It's almost as if I think those stars are rare or precious and if I award all five of them too often, I'll run out.

According to Goodreads, I've read about 450 books in my life, which is definitely not accurate, but a lot of the books I've read were in German during my childhood and I don't remember all of them. (Sometimes I regret that I didn't keep a reading journal as a child.)
I also suffered from a bad case of re-reading.What's bad, you ask? I'm pretty sure that when I was about ten years old, I kept re-reading the same adventure novel over and over again, possibly twenty-five times or more. Later, as a romantic teenager, the same happened with Pride and Prejudice.

Anyway, back to my bookshelves.  I've given thirty out of my 450 books a five star rating. Ten are because I absolutely loved those books when I was a child or a teenager and possibly wouldn't receive the same rating today. Three are Jane Austen and another three are Harry Potter.

Six in the last five years. SIX! IN FIVE YEARS!

Am I too harsh? On the other hand I dish out four stars without hesitation. Anything, I remotely enjoy receives at least three stars and as soon as I feel emotionally attached to the story in any way, it definitely receives four stars.

But, whenever I consider giving it five, I think... really, this book couldn't have possibly been better? Obviously, that's a question not many books survive. Maybe that's why I'm always grumpy. Imagine only reading one five star book a year!

How do you handle five star ratings? Do you award them freely? Or are you as conservative as me?


  1. Hmm, great discussion Olivia! I like to think that I'm not too easy with the five stars but I've definitely dished out a lot more than you have. A book has to be something special to me to receive it but with 3 being the first positive rating and 4 being a really good book there either isn't enough stars between 3 and 4 or I've been reading some wonderful books lately! I think I've read more than 6 five stars this year alone.... And not rereads... That's new to me 6 this year. I really need to check my stats tomorrow!

    Again, great post!

    1. I might have to start dishing out more! I think I might be too strict!

  2. I definitely give out a lot of 4-stars, because I carefully pick what books I will read, and try to pick books I think I will enjoy, but I am kind of greedy with my 5-stars. When I look at what received 5-stars, I would say a commonality was that they swept me away, and left me thinking about them long after I had finished reading them. Many of them will evoked an emotional response from me when I talk about them too.

    1. I think that's a five star for me as well, but most don't sweep me away in that manner. I found the older I get and the more I read the more difficult it is to impress me. I really am turning grumpy, hehe!

  3. I am *incredibly* stingy with 5 star ratings. For me, those 5 star ratings are pretty sacred. Really good books that I truly enjoyed are 4 stars. To receive a 5 star rating a book has to be truly unforgettable. It made a big emotional impact on me or otherwise made a big impression. And for me, that just doesn't happen all the time. I read a lot of good books, but I definitely don't hand out 5 stars left and right. Those books are something truly special.