Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Ratings and Values

I honestly would like to know what you think. How much do your values figure into the rating system for ranking books? 
Let me give an example of what I mean. I finished an audio book that was well-written, interesting plot and characters, and kept me wanting to read on . . . until the author threw in the parts that offend my standards. I knew these spots including sex and foul language would be short-lived and I was already caught up in the story, so I skipped what I didn't like and finished the book. If they had thrown this stuff into the first chapter, I would have moved on to another story. But I finished it and wonder how to rate it.

Some readers may scoff at my skipping those parts because they don't get offended by it or simply tough it out. We all have some level of values. Yours and mine are not the issue here. At some point you may be offended by something you read but still need to rate it. How do you do figure that out? This is the question I would like feedback on.

The Goodreads star ratings go like this: 1 star = did not like it, 2 star = it was ok, 3 stars = liked it, 4 stars = really liked it, 5 stars = it was amazing. Well, for this book I liked or really liked most of it and did not like some of it. Do I take an average of those? If someone who follows my reviews or knows my values sees that I liked it, will that give them the wrong impression and consider it a 'safe' read? What would you do?

Perhaps my rating is just a drop in the bucket. After all, this book has had 135,570 ratings and 10,626 reviews at my last checking. But what if all the people with mixed feelings on the book skipped rating it? Then the scoring would truly be lopsided. Every opinion should count. And I guess our values figure into those opinions, but I'd like to hear what you think about this scenario.


11 comments:

Brock said...

My mom is reading my manuscript right now. She says it is well written but offensive. She's probably not my target audience, so I take the compliment and discard the offense. When you review on Goodreads it isn't limited to just the stars for a rating--you also get to write your thoughts to explain your rating. And you can read what others wrote to back up their ratings.

Renae Weight Mackley said...

I like your mom already, Brock! :)
Good point to remember looking at and posting reviews and not just ratings. Thanks for the comment.

Konstanz Silverbow said...

When I read a book and am loving it and then it hits a point with something (like you mentioned above) that bothers me/ offends me/ or goes against my belief's, I have the same question. What do I do?

Well I have to be honest. Because that is also something I believe in. So in the review, without spoilers I explain what I loved about the book (Plot, writing, characters . . . etc) and then I explain what I DIDN'T like. (Foul Language, Adult Content, a decision that doesn't fit the character ... etc). And in that case, if the rating would have been 5 stars before the parts I didn't like, I take off one star. Depending on how much in there I didn't like.

If it gets to the point where I can't give it 3 stars or more, I quit reading and just don't review it at all.

~Konstanz Silverbow

Valerie Ipson said...

I agree with what's been said. As long as you have the opportunity to explain your rating..maybe rate it high, but with the disclaimer of content...that will give other readers the heads up.

Brenda Gallaher said...

My value govern what I watch, read and listen to. Otherwise, why have values. I don't read books that have the F-bomb, takes the Lord's name in vane or pornography. Any sex scene, in my opinion, is pornography. I was reading a book and in the last chapter is when the author decided to through in a graphic sex scene. I blasted her book when I did my review on Goodreads. If you're going to write pornography then you should label as such so I don't pick it up. I won't read any more of her books and will not suggest her to anyone.

Taffy said...

I agree too. Take to the time to explain your rating. There are reviewers I trust because they tell me about the swearing/sex/violence.

Donna K. Weaver said...

And what offends one is different for another. I'm religious. I have a friend who's religious but belongs to a different church. I don't like the F-bomb. She doesn't care about the the F-bomb. However, she has a come apart if they take the Lord's name in vane.

My daughter had a friend whose family chose not to watch anything but G rated films. I happen to own a Shirley Temple movie that's rated PG. My daughter's friend would not watch it. But why was that film rated PG? First of all, because it's targeted to little children and the main character's mother is killed. A similar film targeted toward teens or adults would have been rated G.

I think it's the same thing for books. Explanation is critical because can explain what touched you and what troubled you. And that will help other like-minded readers.

Renae W. Mackley said...

Great comments! I'm getting that explanation is vital and I agree. Don't just look at the stars. I liked Konstanz' idea for when to give up on a book. Thanks, everyone.

Anthony Dutson said...

I just gave, 'John Dies @ The End,' three stars. I felt the style and plot structure were a four, but the occasional obscenity was regularly out of place. I can handle bad language, but if I notice it, it's poorly written.

Jordan McCollum said...

Very interesting, Renae. Sometimes I don't bother with the stars at all if I can't figure settle on a rating I feel good about. You can still leave a review!

Renae W. Mackley said...

I just learned something, Jordan. Thanks.