22 April 2016

My Thoughts // Do I Rate Books Too Highly?

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My Thoughts is a feature where I attempt to write bookish discussions. If you had spent any time with me in real life you would learn I have this habit of blurting out random thoughts from time to time when I allow my mind to wander. It’s from these random thoughts these posts emerge as I attempt to write some coherent thoughts about what’s been on my mind. I am trying to combine this with my attempts at participating in the Discussion Challenge this year.

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I know I’ve spoken before about ratings and about how it feels wrong to give the same star rating to very different books, but I want to talk about ratings in a slightly different way. I want to discuss with you whether or not you can be too generous a reviewer and whether or not it’s possible to be too easily pleased by something? Can you be too generous with your ratings?

This is very vaguely inspired by a post Danya did way back when (like seriously, it was ages ago) because she has had a similar experience of questioning this. Hers was based on a rude message she received, mine is inspired by the fact I rated Passenger well but I’ve seen a lot of bad reviews for that book as well from bloggers I love. How can I rate a book so differently to them? Is it me. Am I too easily pleased?
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Let’s start off with me explaining I am very easily easily pleased. I know this. It’s possibly a character flaw. If I like something I like it. I am black and white in my liking. I either love it or hate it, I find it difficult to give degrees of liking. I’ve always been of the mind-set that if I like something why do I need to say how much? It feels like each of my books, or films, or TV shows are competing for my affection and I like them all for their own reasons and own ways.

It doesn’t make sense me reviewing books and giving them a star rating with that logic, does it? If I can’t be critical then how can I possibly accurately review a book? I don’t know.

Anyway, what I really wanted to talk about was not my inability to be critical. Or, it is, but it’s more than that. I mean, am I being too nice? Is that a thing which is possible?

I keep a spreadsheet of books bought and books read (it’s Crini’s one if you’re wondering) and it keeps track of all the book details and everything and looking at my book ratings so far this year I have a whole lot of 4 star reviews and I can’t understand how. I mean, do I hand out 4 star ratings too easily? My Goodreads average rating is 3.94, that’s quite high.
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I know I read a lot of books and the books I choose tend to be books I know I’ll like anyway. I mean, who goes out of their way to read books that won’t like? That’s stupid. But, am I more likely to rate a book highly which I enjoyed but may never read again? Do I rate books I liked higher than other people because they are better at giving their like a degree to it? I just don’t know. Is it me?

There are a lot of questions here and I don’t think there are any solid answers. I don’t think I’m too nice. I think I know what I like and I may be too nice, but I’m okay with that. I know what I like (a lot of things it turns out) and I will keep on reviewing my books exactly the way I do. I need to remember that just because I have similar tastes as people does not mean we will always have the same opinions. I need to remember that who cares what anyone thinks? I am my own person and I will rock my opinions. We need those reviews where you say something different so people can get a balanced view of books. It’s okay to be different with what you think. Is it being too nice? No, I don’t rate books higher than I think they deserve. Just because I give a high rating doesn’t mean I’m not being critical. I can still recognise the flaws in a book I’m just saying that those flaws didn’t affect my enjoyment of it as a whole. I’m a nice person. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Do you think that it’s possible to be too nice? Should we question when are ratings differ from other peoples? Should we just shrug it off and move on because being nice is not a bad thing and liking too easily isn’t a negative?

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