Monday, April 20, 2015

I don’t really have trouble complaining in any other situation…

But for some reason I have a hard time complaining about books. Not really in real life, but in writing, like on my Goodreads, for example, or via Twitter. Twitter is especially hard. Everytime I rate another not-very-interesting book I think about this. I’ve come up with a few reasons why I can’t seem to rate books below 3 stars.

1. It seems like it’s a really big deal to write a whole book. I mean, I’ve never done it! So, should an author get at least an average score just for trying. A 3 is like: “Go you! You did it! You put all those words in there!” Now, I know this is ridiculous. I actually frown upon the “We all get a prize” approach to feedback. But, maybe, and don’t tell anyone else I said this, but maybe I also feel bad about hurting THE BOOK’s feelings.  

[Can you believe there's very few images that come up when I google "when books feel sad?" I can't be the only one who thinks this is a thing. Can I? Never mind]

2. I can usually find SOMETHING I like in most books enough to “Like it” which corresponds with a 3 according to GoodRead’s scale. Of the 778 books I have marked as read, only 50 of them are rated with a 2 or lower. That’s 6%. And I assure you, I’ve read way more than 50 crappy books. But, shhhhh, they’ll hear you. 

3. Which brings me to my third problem: What if the author sees my review!? Granted, there is not a single author who cares about my rated stars more than anyone else’s stars. I know that, you know that, even my anthropomorphized books know that. But, especially since I’ve been interacting with authors via Twitter, I hate to think that they went through all that trouble (see point 1, above) to write a book and that I couldn’t even appreciate it enough to like it! This is a particular problem if my Tweet about reading the book was favorited or retweeted by the author! Again, this is counter to almost every other interaction I have in my life, where I tell people straight up what hot messes they are.  

I’ve been making an effort to rate things more candidly about what I do and don’t like about books. I don’t actually think it’s a bad thing to find positive things in the midst of bad books. Plus, thinking about the values placed on the stars (i.e., didn’t like it to Loved it) has actually helped a lot. It’s also helped that none of the books have cried.

How do you use the rating scale for books?

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