This has been a topic going around the Booktube stratosphere for a few weeks now and I figured I’d chime in on the subject.
The way I rate books is one of two ways, either I:
- Rate it based on how much I enjoyed it, plus how I thought each character, plot, etc fit with each other.
- Rate it based on the literary context behind it and critically analyze it.
It really depends on the book and what I’m looking to get out of it.
Oftentimes, YA books that I pick up, or any fiction book I pick up, really, are rated based on my level of enjoyment. I oftentimes also look deeper into whether or not the main character was well developed, if I connected with any characters, if I found that the setting was appropriate and well used for what was being discussed, etc.
Now this might mean that a lot of books I read get high ratings – and that’s fine. Why would I purposefully read something that I have no interest in? Throughout school years we are often forced to read books we oftentimes hate because they’re boring, whether in content or character or language. But when we read for pleasure, we find that we gravitate toward a certain genre or toward a certain direction. And that’s perfectly fine.
The other times that I critically analyze books, such as reading them for hidden messages, research backgrounds, history, contexts, etc, is generally only when I am researching in a classroom setting or for my own personal interest. Generally I critically analyze a book when it has great literary standing, such as many novels before the modern era (generally before the 20th century). These books have had thousands upon thousands of papers written about them from the time they are written and well beyond, and so there is much detail and theories out there to research and take a look at.
Whether books are rated simply for pure enjoyment or whether they’re rated with a critical outlook, just remember that the way you rate them is your choice. You don’t have to rate it one way or another. If you think a book deserves five stars just because, then go for it. But if someone asks you why you did so, just try to have an answer ready for them.
Also, the question that might come up is: where do you rate them? I use Goodreads as a way to find books, add them to “shelves” on the site, and also rate them as I finish them. There are thousands upon thousands of reviews to look at, so check them out! I try to not take them too much to heart unless a book is rated below 3.5 stars. But that’s to each their own!
Accompanying video: Discussion | How I Rate Books
How do you rate books? Let me know in the comments below!