This is obviously a highly subjective question, but I am curious to learn what other readers think.
If I give a book 5 stars, it really must be special. For example, of the last 40 books I read, only 5 of them received a perfect rating on Goodreads. Two of those were actually 4.5 star reviews that I had to round up. (The conversation of what makes a book a 4.5 versus a 5 star book is another topic that I won’t discuss today!) Perhaps I have very high standards? I don’t think so.
I personally know someone who gives 5 star ratings on Goodreads to 90-95% of the books he reads. And if he doesn’t like a book, he gives it a 1! Basically, that means that if he reads a book it gets a perfect score and if he doesn’t like it, he HATES it. What is that about? It drives me nuts, honestly, but I don’t say that to his face because I’m nice and polite. :]
My Reading History
16 of the last 100 books I read received a 5 star review. I think that’s a fair amount. It means that when I do read a 5-star book, it becomes a special experience that will remain memorable.
Last 5 Books I Gave 5 Stars
- Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Cosmos by Carl Sagan
- The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
- Americanah by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie (again!)
- Lock in by John Scalzi
I can’t see much of a pattern, except that they were all books whose subject matter/premise I had little previous exposure to or they presented a familiar story in a refreshing and ambitious new way.
Also, all of them elicited intense emotion and interest from me.
- Two of them moved me to tears
- Cosmos taught me 1,000 things I didn’t know before. Seriously, this book is incredible and every human should read it.
- They were all a blast to read and had my undivided attention the entire time.
I don’t have a specific, metrics based system for rating books, so many of my reviews are based on my emotional reactions. Admittedly, that kind of system isn’t very professional but I see 5-star books as rare works that have an intangible quality that I only recognize when I experience it.
What about you guys?
- Out of the last 20 books, how many did you give 5 stars? Out of the last 100?
- How do you rate books? Do you use a specific system or go on istinct?
- Do you even use a numbered rating system?
Please let me know in the comments!