Friday, November 16, 2012

In Which I Discuss a Personal Dilemma: 5 Star Ratings

Dear self,

I know that you have been struggling for quite some time over a certain decision: Do you give a book a five-star rating? I am here to tell you that it is okay to give a book 5 stars.

In your mind, to give a book five stars means that the book is absolutely perfect in every single way, and there is no such thing as an absolutely perfect book. I am telling you that a book doesn't have to be perfect in order for you to give it five stars. All a five star rating does is indicate that you loved the book. That you will probably want to reread it in the future. That you will recommend it to your friends. A five star rating does not indicate that the book is perfect. It's just a perfect fit for you.

So, self, don't be stingy with the five stars. I know that, in a way, giving five stars is scary. How do you know that even if you love it now, you will still feel the same way in a few months? In a few years? Maybe if you go back and reread it, you won't like it as much. Or maybe you won't want to reread it at all. But listen, self, don't let that scare you away. If you love a book, don't insult it by giving it four stars when you really wanted to give it five stars.

Plus, look at how many four star books you have on your Goodreads shelf. More than any other stars. You can mix it up a little.

And while I'm at it, it's okay to give a book three stars. Just because you give a book three stars, it doesn't mean you don't like the book. It just means that the book wasn't as good as it could have been.

So, self, here we are. Try your best to give books five stars when you really love the book. Don't cheat out awesome books because you are afraid to give it five stars.


  1. Yes! I'm with you! There are very few books that are absolutely perfect. Giving it 5 stars doesn't mean it's perfect, but like you said, that it's one you will want to reread.
    I also have a hard time with 3 star ratings. I always feel bad, but really, 3 stars is still a good rating, it's just not as good as it could have been.
    Awesome post!

  2. What a great message to yourself. I use all my ratings 1-5, although sometimes I have to tell myself that it's okay to give a 2. That seems to be the rating I have the most trouble with.

  3. "A five star rating does not indicate that the book is perfect. It's just a perfect fit for you."

    I love this statement...and I absolutely agree!

  4. It's cool to see another post like this, because I wrote something similar a while back. I am stingy with my 5 stars, but I sort of have my own criteria for that. Agreed especially re: 3 stars. I have a hard time with that sometimes, that I don't want to bump something down to 3 stars if I liked it quite a bit, but 3 stars to me is a good rating -- it just means that it wasn't completely fabulous. 4 stars to me are the more special ones that are addicting in some way, whereas 5 stars are ones that I just fell in love with the reading experience.

  5. Sometimes I seriously struggle with this decision myself but the thing is you're right. I usually don't give 5 stars as easily as shaking hands or something but if I really like 8 or 9 out of 10 things in a book, I gotta give it 5 stars. No book is that perfect.

    Love your post, Kapri!

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

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