One thing that can ruin a book for me is…
Topic: Rating Books on Goodreads
My Thoughts: So I’ve been contemplating writing a post on this topic for awhile now, and finally decided to just go ahead and do it already! Since you cannot do 1/2 stars on Goodreads, I tend to stay away from giving them out on my blog because I like to stay uniform across the board. If my blog gives a book 4 stars, then my Goodreads will reflect 4 stars as well. If there is a discrepancy, I will explain why both on my blog and in my Goodreads review. Sometimes I’ll round up/down on Goodreads, depending on my personal feelings about the book I’m reviewing.
The reason I follow the above is because I rely heavily upon Goodreads to determine whether or not I will read a book or pass on it. It also determines if I’ll buy or borrow (from the library) the book. Typically, if a book is above 4.00 I will buy it. Anything from 3.75-4.00 I may borrow it, or buy it if I just cannot wait for the library to get it. And subsequently, anything below 3.75 generally I will borrow it or pass on it. This is just my own personal formula for choosing books.
Because of my ‘Goodreads Formula’, it upsets me when the following occurs:
1. An author rates their own book 5 stars.
2. Someone rates a book based on their anticipation of it (when they haven’t even read the book yet), and not on their personal thoughts after reading the book.
I understand that an author is super excited about having their book published, and feels that it is worthy of 5 out of 5 stars. That’s completely understandable. However; it’s not fair to readers who use the Goodreads rating to decide on whether or not to read a book. Not that the Goodreads method is perfect or anything, because really you’re just giving a general rating, but I feel that an author rating their own book skews the true rating from the rest of the reading population.
I also disagree with people rating a book just because they are excited for it to come out. There have been tons of books that I’ve been super duper psyched for and there’s so much buzz around the blogosphere that it’s all anyone is talking about – and then I finally get the book and… it’s not a 5 like I anticipated. So how can you rate a book with a perfect rating if you haven’t even read it yet?
My Final Thoughts: Obviously people are going to do what they want when it comes to rating books. I’m really a nobody in the entire scheme of things, but I like to keep things real. Therefore if I haven’t read a book yet – I’m not rating it. If I mark a book as DNF – I do not rate it, but write a review on why I didn’t finish it. To me, this is the truest way to represent my thoughts and feelings on a book in a way that will benefit others who are trying to decide whether or not they want to read it.
How do you feel about rating books? Let me know!
One of my favorite types of books to read, are those that incorporate time travel. So this gets me to thinking, if I was in a different decade, or even century, what books would I be reading?
I created this list using the ever-awesome listopia feature on Goodreads.
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining fertility, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…
Once an aristocrat in the heady days of pre-revolutionary France, now Lestat is a rockstar in the demonic, shimmering 1980s. He rushes through the centuries in search of others like him, seeking answers to the mystery of his terrifying exsitence. His story, the second volume in Anne Rice’s best-selling Vampire Chronicles, is mesmerizing, passionate, and thrilling.
Everyone is different. Some people like one type of writing style or genre, while other people don’t. It’s not a bad thing, but sometimes when you really don’t like a book, you just can’t wait to tell everyone why you didn’t like it, and sometimes we forget that the author probably put A LOT of hard work and love into that book. So how do you write a review when you didn’t like the book but have to remain respectful?
Easy. Here’s How.
I Didn’t Like The Writing Style.
What you want to say: “Um, did this author even finish high school? Hello, run on sentences and awful dialogue!”
What you should say: “The writing style was simplistic and easy to read; but left me hoping for a bit more depth and dimension.”
Key point: While you may not have liked the author’s writing; someone else might. Therefore the best thing to remember when writing a review for a book you didn’t like, is to put a positive spin on your negative thoughts. Referring to the writing style as ‘simplistic and easy to read’ is not insulting, and gives your followers an idea of how the book will read. Also, stating what you would’ve preferred (i.e.: more depth/dimension) lets your followers know what you like, and if they share your taste then they know what to expect from the book.
I Hated The Main Character.
What you want to say: OMG! The main character is so stupid!
What you should say: “Flawed and imperfect, the main character found him/herself in many situations that left me wondering how they would get out of it.”
Key point: Character development can be one of the most difficult parts of writing a book. A lot of times the character plays out in the writer’s mind like they are real, but when put on paper they fall a bit flat. Compile an image of the character in your mind with a ‘good/bad’ list. What was a positive about the main character? What should they work on? Write out what you did/didn’t like about the character, just remain respectful. It’s easy to do!
What the %#$^ Was That Ending?!?!
What you want to say: “Uh, how did this book even get past the editor and make it to publishing?
What you should say: “If you like unexpected endings, twists, turns, and cliffhangers then this one’s for you!”
Key point: You might hate the way the book left off, but some people out there enjoy gigantic unexpected endings that leave them guessing, wondering, and thinking about the book long after they’ve finished it. Without giving away the ending, spell out what worked and what you’d have preferred instead. It’s a good way to start conversations with your followers who’ve read it already.
So what I’m saying here is this… whatever you write will be read. It will be read by your followers, and possibly even by the author. Imagine writing mean, hateful things about a book… and then get a comment from the author on the review! EEEK! Now, I’m not saying you should lie, or write fake reviews. Nope, like I said not everyone will like every book out there. But if you keep in mind the old, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”, it’s easy to remember that you should remain respectful. If you spent time pouring your heart into a book, having it published, and then reading a review where the person completely tears you a new one, well as you can imagine that won’t feel too good, right? Right.
So how do you write a review for a book you didn’t like?
Look for future posts with more great blogging tips.