Sunday, November 13, 2011

5 Stars

Every time I read a book for a review I'm given the difficult task at the end of trying to decide what to say. Sometimes my feelings are strong enough that it's easy to find things to write about. But other times I'm trying very hard to find a way to let the reader know that I didn't care for the book without being hateful to the author. To me, that is the most difficult task. How do I give the reader a clear view about what the book is about without being inconsiderate of the time and effort that was put into writing the book. I might not like the book for various reasons, but it is very likely that there are other people who will love or at least like it. So my task is to state the reasons why I liked or disliked the book in a way that will allow others readers to make an educated decision for themselves without slandering the book or author.

My second difficult decision is about how to rate the book. Amazon has a rating system of 1-5. 
5 = loved the book, 
4 = liked it,
3 = it was ok, 
2 = didn't like it,
1 = hated it.
I have read books that I liked only because I could see that they were amazingly well written and could become a classic. But as enjoyment in the actual story - hated it. So what am I supposed to rate the story as? It was brilliant writing on the part of the author. But I hated the story as a personal opinion.
Or what about a story that is so poorly written that I cringe through out the entire book. But I enjoyed the story line so I plowed through because it was such a good "story"? A book I reviewed recently was well written and the premise for the story was great. But I hated the characters. They annoyed me to death. The book was labeled as a certain genre and yet was not.  So I liked the book okay, but certainly didn't love it. It was so hard to pick a rating. If I was rating on how well the book was written as far as writing style or editing = five stars. If I was rating on how the book captured my attention = two stars. 

And what about a genre that I don't like? The book can be amazing, but because I dislike the topic my rating would actually be low. So should I warn the authors about this before? Or is that a chance they take when they send out reviews?

I try to gauge how I feel as I finish each chapter. And then I write my review based on my impressions as I read the book. I also try to give it a higher review for quality writing despite my like or dislike of the genre. But I'm not sure if this is what Amazon had in mind.

Just some thoughts from the mind of a reviewer. My guess is we all struggle with this from time to time. At least I hope so. =)

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