As much as I love books, I am not given to extremes. I took this into consideration when I crafted by rating system, as seen below (and on my Rating System page):
(I know it’s probably a little on the complicated side, but that’s just what I do)
When I consider a book for a rating, I think in terms of stars rather than grades (because apparently it’s easier for me to give higher grades than it is to give a higher star rating, which is probably proof of a trend toward grade inflation, I suppose, but that is a story for another day), then translate my star rating into a letter grade. My average rating on Goodreads after 109 books is 3.43. I have four books (or, a little less than 4% of all the books I’ve read in the last two some years) marked as 5 stars: The Fountainhead, HP #7, The Art of Racing in the Rain, and Catch-22. They comprise an interesting cast of characters because each book is so different from the others. But each book had a strong impact on me in some way (and I guarantee you it was in a different way for each one) that required a 5 star rating. I don’t go around giving 5 stars lightly, and that’s why I reserved A++ for the books that really rock my world. Even though A++ is a purely fictional grade, I find it to be the most appropriate reflection of my rating. If something is that amazing, it deserves a fantastical rating, something no other book could ever receive.
To date, I have given no book an A+ rating on this blog. Granted, I’ve only tracked books I have read over the past two months, but that has totaled over 30 books. My lack of A+ grades isn’t because I haven’t read any awesome books (far from it), but no book has quite moved me to that extent. I am looking for a book that tears me apart emotionally, that haunts me, that leaves me saddened when it’s all over, or that worms its way into my thoughts and burrows in to permanently stay. It takes a special kind of book to do that, and that’s why anything A and above is rare. I am of the opinion that in order to give the books that rock my world the kind of rating they deserve, I have to be honest that many books, while very enjoyable, don’t affect me the way the special ones do.
The primary reason I wanted to talk about my ratings is that so anyone reading my reviews can do so with the knowledge that a B grade, for example, is still a very good book that by others’ standards would rate 4 or 5 (out of 5) stars. But I am tough to please, and I refrain from giving books such high ratings. That’s just me.
How do you rate books?