Books, Bikes, and Food

Reviews, Recipes, Rides… and some other things, too.

Liburuak no longer Rates Books


Sometime in May or June, I started thinking more and more about whether I should be rating books on this blog or not. So far, I’ve been using a 10-point scale, explained here. After some reflection, I’ve decided I’m no longer going to keep score. I made that decision based on two issues I’m recently finding with “rating” literature:

  1. Reading taste is like any taste – subjective. I don’t want to detract people from a potentially awesome reading experience just because I hated a book.
  2. I actually don’t seem to dislike that many books I’ve read, so my rating curve was becoming very heavily skewed. The reason for this was that even if I didn’t particularly enjoy reading a book, a lot of the time I still thought it had its merits so I found it difficult to give a low score. It may also be that I’m just bloody amazing at judging my own taste and therefore only buy books I’ll enjoy (Charlotte Roche’s Feuchtgebiete sort of defeats that point though).

I will still tag them with the categories of Awesome, Pretty Good, So-So, and Nuisance, but I think this is a lot more personal than attaching a blatant numerical score. [social science geek mode on] There is something to be said for qualitative methods, after all. [social science geek mode off]

I’ll also keep my Goodreads account, where rating is part of the site’s philosophy. It helps me organise the books I want to investigate/read, and Goodreads at least mitigates one of the problems I have with keeping score on my blog: people who turn to Goodreads for information are less likely to pick their reads based on my judgement alone, but based on an overall score averaged from the opinions of many different readers. [social science geek mode on] In the ideal case, the larger the sample, the smaller the error term, right? [social science geek mode off].

Public service announcement over.


Author: bettinathenomad

Nomad. International Relations geek. Reader. Feminist. Swimmer. Boulderer. Runner. Hiker. Not necessarily in that order.

9 thoughts on “Liburuak no longer Rates Books

  1. I whole heartedly support your decision. I don’t even give stars on Goodreads because I can find something good in every book whether I’ll re-read it again or not. I’ve never been a big fan of ratings. If I suggest it to someone that’s the highest recommendation I can give.

  2. Points are silly. End of.

  3. have to say I concur as well. At one point, a lawyer friend of my parents who reads my blog suggested I rate books according to points (stars, whatever). As a person who spends a lot of time grading student work, I hardly wanted to grade the authors I read! Plus, as another friend pointed out, isn’t my review indication enough of whether I loved a book or not? So, I think you’re idea is good, and perhaps you may even abandon the Awesome to Nuisance scale. Whateer works for you, of course. 🙂

    • I may eventually abandon the scale, too, and probably will do that at one point. I’m sticking with it for the moment because it somehow “feels” right (stupid reason, but hey) to give some indication, even though the review itself, as you said, already shows whether you liked a book or not. By the way, do you talk about books you didn’t finish on your blog? Interesting question in this context, because I don’t. If I didn’t finish a book, I don’t feel “competent” to review it. But then again, I don’t give up on that many books and rather tend to push through even if I hate them, getting more and more annoyed as I go on… a really healthy attitude, I know 😉

  4. p.s. You know I meant “Whatever works for you…” it’s just that the “v” on my keyboard gets stuck so often…

  5. I don’t rate books either. I used to rate them faithfully and I even had a rating system that was fun and I really enjoyed (based on when you should read it: today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or never), but like you said in this post, it’s such an arbitrary thing. I also don’t dislike many books I read, because I usually just don’t finish them.

  6. I no what you mean about feeling like you only give good reviews. I have had the same feeling. I eventually decided it was because I was selecting books I would like. From time to time I do give a bad review. The other reason I don’t like stars it is a short circuiting of the review itself.

    • Thanks for the support, Paul! Thankfully, I occasionally still go very, very wrong. Right now I’m struggling with “El obsceno pájaro de la noche” by José Donoso and am this close to giving up…

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