Book Review Grading Scale

The five star grading system is a classic way to quickly score… well… anything. But for such a system to work effectively, everyone must understand how the whatever-it-is is being scored. My personal book scale is heavily influenced by those of The Z-Axis as well as The Broke and the Bookish. So without further ado, here is the value I’ve placed on each of the stars.

0: I didn’t finish reading it because of quality (rather than getting distracted, which can happen and says something about the book in that I did get pulled away form it, but still. I don’t think it’s fair to judge a book because I get excited about new, shiny things and forget about what I’m currently reading.)

1: I was barely able to get through this book; there are major issues. In some cases, the book may be more useful as kindling, target practice, or puppy training pee pads.

2: A glimmer of something caught my interest, but it mostly wasn’t worth the effort. It would be very unlikely for me to recommend such a book to someone.

3: I generally enjoyed this book, but it didn’t make me ecstatic. It demonstrated some substantial, good traits but there was some disconnect in its resonating with me. I would recommend this book to certain people.

4: This book was definitely worth the investment of time and energy. It was engaging (great writing, complex/interesting characters, good pacing, etc., etc.) While resonating with me in important ways, it wasn’t rated higher because it wasn’t life changing. I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone.

5: Stop what you’re doing and read this book. Now. Something has made it one of my favorites. These are the books that are constantly in the back of my mind, that inspire me to do my own writing, and that enrich the world.

What do you think? Have I overlooked some important components? Is this how you usually interpret 5 star book scales? If not, where does it differ?

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4 thoughts on “Book Review Grading Scale

  1. My comment comes in the form of a John Green quote:

    “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like betrayal,” The Fault in Our Stars, page 33.

    Your value for five stars accounts for the kinds of books that you want everyone to read, but not quite the books that you want no one to read because they are too precious to you.

    • That’s an interesting way to think of it. I’m not sure I’ve ever had that feeling, though. I can see how some might, but if I’m in love with a book, I want the world to know about it and appreciate it. I think I’m secure in my interpretation of and relationship with the book. I might hold my perceptions close, but not my recommendations. Does that make sense?
      My protectiveness comes out when film adaptations are in the works. But you know this, and we’ve hashed out this particular argument many times.

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