Talking Between Reads (TBR) is a monthly discussion post where we talk about different topics from books to blogging and anything else we think you guys might enjoy. Stop by for new topics.
Ratings are always talked about in the book community between readers, bloggers, publishers and authors. There’s been a long debut about 3 star ratings; are they good, or are they negative. We’ve decide to break down how and why we rate a book. Our views may be the same or different but they are what they are. We can agree to disagree. This post is not meant as negative, just for information and conversion purposes.
If you know me, know I do not give out many 5 stars. Why? I do not reread that often. In fact I can count on one hand the books I have reread. Was the book perfect? No, no book is perfect; I don’t care how much we fangirl over a book there’s always a way to make it better, but a 5 star book (for me) is almost damn near perfect that I can see myself rereading. When I give a book 5 stars you know that I loved it will all my heart and will come back to enjoy it again.
4 star ratings for used for books that I highly entertained and I could see myself rereading them if they are part of a series where I might want to revisit before the next book in the series is released. I probably won’t reread it (see above) but I would be tempted to if I had time or if the series is a fave and have complex details that I want to revisit before starting the next chapter in the series. Also 4 star ratings are books that made me feel: angry, sadness, joy, etc. Any extreme emotion(s). If I don’t feel something when I read a book, what’s the point in reading?
3 star ratings is generally the lowest I will use. Not that it’s negative! If I’m not enjoying a book I’m not going to force myself to finish it. That’s why I don’t generally rate books lower than a 3. That being said, 3 stars is a positive rating for me. If I rate a book 3 stars I enjoyed it because I finished it. I’ve given some authors I’ve read for the first time 3 stars and some authors I’ve read many times 3 stars. Usually there is an element or two that didn’t mesh with me while reading. Maybe it was a character I didn’t like, a plot twist, the writing style, etc. I’m a big series readers, I would say about 97% of what I read is series and most series has that one (or two) books that were meh compared to the others. If it’s a series say in the urban fantasy genre that follows the same set of characters through whole series might have had a mediocre the plot line for that installment. Or maybe the main character was too stupid to live for a short time. Something of that nature. But I have picked up another book by the same author after having a 3 star experience, it’s not the end of the world.
See above. I don’t waste my time (anymore) with 2 star ratings. I give a book, especially by a new to me author, or a new series by a favorite author the 50 pages test. If I’m not enjoying something about the story by the 50 pages more I will put the book down. Sometimes I’ve had a feeling that a book might need the 100 pages test and it picks up for me.
Also see above. My TBR is too long and time is too short to waste on a 1 star reading experience.
DNF (Did Not Finish)
I do not drop a book lightly but I have DNF some books. Even a few by favorite authors. Granted there’s been a few times I believe it was my mood instead of the book itself and if that is the case I will try the book again at a later time. But I will not force myself to read a book. (Now that I don’t have to read for college)
Like Jennifer, these are the books I will reread. They are also books which are well-written AND make me feel. Often, they make me love, root for the characters, and often make me laugh. They make me think and feel. These are the books or audios I buy. They are also ones in my heart and mind forever.
These are books I enjoyed very much, but would only read again as part of a series. This isn’t a negative, as there are SO many books I want to read. I can’t be reading or listening to many of them again. These books perhaps didn’t make me feel as much or think as much, so they are not 5 star favorites. Perhaps they made me think but not feel, or vice versa. They are VERY good books.
These books were enjoyable to read but there was something I didn’t like. It may have been a boring or least favorite troupe. It might have been characters not developed enough for me. I liked the book but not some small aspect of it. The book might be awesome to someone else. It just didn’t quite work for me completely.
This is used when I read a book and disliked it enough I wish I hadn’t read it. There are very few books I don’t finish, but these books probably should be in that category. Since I want to know, or I agreed to review, I read the book. I am spoiled by access to so many high quality books so this rarely comes up.
= DNF (Did Not Finish)
This rating is the one for books I did not finish so it is the same thing. There are many reasons it could happen actually. Some troupes or genres just don’t interest me or I just don’t like them. I’m not a fan of religion or heavy politics in my fiction. But I wouldn’t even try to read things in that category so this doesn’t happen much.
Like many others, I don’t hand these out lightly. But, because I read so many books highly recommended by trusted friends, you’ll see more of these on my shelf than normal. Those books getting this rating touched me emotionally and so strongly that I’m haunted by the story for weeks after finishing. Just seeing the title will revive the story and feelings. I found it impossible to put down or stop listening. And, it’s one where I want to discuss with anyone who’ll listen. (I do not reread so that’s not a criterion.)
Most of the books I read fall in this rating. Again, most of what I read has been recommended by good friends with very similar reading tastes so the deck is generally stacked in a book’s favor. It’s well written with depth of characterization and a good storyline or plot. Something about the story sets it apart, is outstanding. I may not remember all the details a year later but I’ll recall I really liked the story and the characters.
Many of the books I read have this rating but most will have an additional half star attached to it. I enjoyed the story but it may not have a lasting impression. There may be an issue or two that I found with the book (minor editing problems, story dragged, plot holes) but I still ended up in a good place. These are books I still recommend but with caveats. This is still a good rating as what may have been an issue for me is something that other readers consider a plus. I’ll always be clear about those caveats for others to take heed or ignore. Also, this is the rating I’ll assign to novellas as they typically, not always, don’t have enough time to develop the characters.
It’s rare for me to assign this rating as I have so many really good books on my shelf to read that I can carefully navigate away from problematic titles. It means that there was little I enjoyed about the story and/or it was so poorly edited it was difficult to read. Character development was missing and there were too many plot holes. I read a lot of series and occasionally an author has a serious miss in the group. Doesn’t happen often but occasionally one bad apple falls out of the bunch.
It is extremely rare for me to assign this rating. I reserve it for those books I should have DNF’d but didn’t because it’s my nature to power through and finish no matter what. These are books I seriously struggled to finish and couldn’t find anything I liked about the book…at all! I celebrated finishing. Typically, books with this rating would be others’ DNFs.
DNF (Did Not Finish)
To date, I’ve only assigned this to one book in my lifetime. Something inside me says I have to finish a book I start, no matter what, so I do at all costs. The one book I DNF’d was a Pulitzer Prize winning novel that just bored me silly. I even went out on a boat with my husband when he went fishing, thinking if I forced myself into isolation I’d have to finish it. I ended up watching my husband fish.
After 17 years I've finally finished my BA in English (no I do not want to be a teacher). Before majoring in English I would not have touched anything labeled "classic", but I have enjoyed a few along the way in my college career.
While I hated to read growing up, I am now an avid book reader and audiobook listener. I love rejecting reality one book at a time. I only read fiction within my favorite (at least to date) genres which include: most romance (paranormal, contemporary, D/s, BDSM, M/M)Urban Fantasy, and a few YA (mostly PNR or UF from favorite adult authors, but I'm slowly stepping out of my comfort zone after enjoying a few contemporary YA novels in adolescent literature class I took).