Sunday, 12 February 2017

Why I Don't Use Numerical Ratings

You know how most reviews will give some form of rating? Like 6/10 or 3/5 Stars? You might have noticed I don't use a system like that. I have a few reasons as to why I don't use them. It's not that I disagree with them as a rule, but just that they don't personally feel right for me.

  1. It's subjective - well, I guess all interviews are, right? But a book I'd rate as 6/10 might be an 8/10 to someone else. Take The Princess Bride, which I would put as a 2/10 personally, but it's obviously a book many people have read and enjoyed. I'd rather write about what I liked and didn't like, so that others can decide whether or not they should give it a go, based on their personal interests. And sometimes, a book might not feel right one day just based on what mood you're in when you pick it up!
  2. It stops people from giving things a try - be honest, would you try a book based on a review that rated it average or less? Most people wouldn't, not without a second opinion. But what didn't sit right with one reviewer may be just what someone else needs. If someone rates a book low because it was too sappy for their tastes, but a bit of sappy is just what someone else needs, should they not give it a go based on that review? That's why I would rather write out my thoughts - "It was too sappy for me personally, but if you like that, give it a try."
  3. Things are never as clear as that - if I'm honest, I would put Girl Online at a solid 6/10. But it would be a 6/10 for overall writing, 8/10 for characters and for the last 100 pages, 7/10 for the start, 5/10 for the middle bit. I feel I can't distil my whole experience with reading a book down into one single value.
  4. I don't think in those terms - when reading a book, I just get excited about the idea of me sharing my thoughts on it with others. I find it tricky to place it into a definite category. Like I mentioned above, if I try to do that, I'll end up breaking it down into several values with little idea of what I should prioritise to give a rating.

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