December 9, 2008
I just updated my book log with the last few titles I’ve finished, and, as I’ve been doing for the last year or so, also added them to my list on Goodreads. I sometimes waffle about what star rating to give books over there. I feel like a big meanie when I grant only 2 stars, even though per the mouseover at Goodreads that means “it was okay”, and I think of okay as “meets at least minimum standards” so that’s a passing grade. That right there is my problem, I thinkâ€”looking at the ratings as grades, when really they’re just shorthand for how much I liked the particular book. If I “fail” a book by giving it one star, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily an inherently bad book, just that I didn’t like it for some reason.
Of the 97 books I’ve read and put into Goodreads, I’ve only rated five of them as one-star experiences. First was Lover Enshrined by J. R. Ward; I was hoping it would be a return to the style I loved in the early books in the series and instead it was a complete mess of a non-romantic urban fantasy that pissed me off at regular intervals. Next was Heaven by V. C. Andrews; I likely wouldnâ€™t have finished it if it weren’t for a book club. The other three were all mysteries in which the protagonists either did stupid things (Play to the End, You’ve Been Warned) or nothing at all (The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell). All of these books have an average of better than three stars at Goodreads, so some people liked them; I really, truly did not.
I’m even less likely to grant five stars; I’ve done that only three times. A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder inspired me so much that I wrote an entire entry about it. My other two raves are for Sunshine by Robin McKinley and Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevon, both of which sucked me into their worlds and made me want to stay forever.
That pattern of more low ratings than high ones exists in my two- and four-star categories as well. I skew toward crankiness, I guess.