Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hey, why did I give 5 stars to THAT book?

As I was posting my last review, it occurred to me that someone (or more than just one person) out there might be wondering how the heck I assign my star ratings on my LibraryThing site. I suspect that people have their own definition of what they feel is a five star book, or one star, or somewhere in-between.

My criteria is based on whether I enjoyed the book, based upon what I expected to get out of the book. If I think in advance that a book will be a drier, more scholarly study and it does turn out to be that, but I learn a lot from the book without having to take massive doses of caffeine to get through it, then that's a four or five star book. If I have to force myself to get through it, then it's a two or three star, depending on how much I did learn. If it's a chore to read and I find that there's little to learn, then it's a one star.

If the book is a narrative history or storytelling, then to be a four or five star it has to be easy to read, but makes me sit back and ponder things I read and think "hey, that's interesting". If I find it's harder to get through but still ponderable (to coin a word), or easier to read but not as deep as I hoped, then it's a two or three star. If I have to get up to jog to stay awake during chapters and start finding myself skimming because it's boring or repetitive, then it's a one star rating.

Hope this helps.

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