Sunday Salon – A Rating System?

TSSbadge3Happy Summer Solstice to all!  I spent part of Friday working on this blog and on my Google Reader thanks to Bloggiesta, an event organized by Natasha at Maw Books.  Her suggestions, and the great mini-challenges offered by others, were helpful for all who took part.   I greatly appreciate all their hard work.

One thing keeps coming up in people’s comments, the idea of a  rating system.  Would I give a book 1 or 5 stars?  An A- or a D? What do you think? Are rating systems helpful? Do I need one?

So I’m asking you to answer these questions:

Do you like blogs with rating systems?  Why?

If you don’t care for rating systems, why not?

Do you have a rating system?  How is it structured?  Do your readers find it helpful?

As for reading this past week I finished several books, have written two reviews and am working on a third.  At present I am reading a beautifully written, devastating book, This Blinding Absence of Light by Ben Tahar Ben Jelloun, and, following the graphic novel Burma Chronicles by Guy DeLisle, From the Land of Green Ghosts; A Burmese Odyssey by Pascal Khoo Thwe.

I have to add some thoughts that range outside bookish things.  My husband has friends who are Iranian-American and is involved in an Iranian-American peace organization.  All week we have been watching the news from Tehran (no thanks to mainstream US media and many loud and hardy cheers for Twitter and the internet).  My heart goes out to all Iranian people, I am overwhelmed by your bravery in the face of such violence and please know, the whole world is watching. For anyone interested in updates the National Iranian American Council has a blog here and the New York Times blog The Lede is following things here.

Okay, enough of that, I hope you all have a wonderful week!

To find out more about Sunday Salon click here.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Sunday Salon – A Rating System?

  1. I really like rating systems myself, since they give me a clear idea of how the blogger thinks this book relates to others they’ve read. I use a scale from 1-5 on my blog, with a link to a detailed explanation of what each rating means off in my sidebar.

    • Thanks for you comment. I’m leaning towards developing a rating system and I’m looking at other blogs to get ideas about how people use them.

  2. I rate the books on my blog per my Goodreads ratings. I sort of wish I could use half-stars, but I don’t want to get the ratings different from Goodreads, so I settle on 1-5 stars. I like having ratings, but it doesn’t matter to me if other blogs do or don’t have them.

    • Thanks for the comment. I’m going to check out people’s rating systems to see how they work. I use Goodreads also and would love it it we could use half-stars.

  3. My guy and I have been following the events in Iran as well. Want to talk about an argument for the value of Twitter!

    I don’t find rating systems useful so no I don’t use one. I think considered and insightful comments about a book are more useful. I prefer reading a reviewer’s perspective over a post that reads like a report card.

    I didn’t participate in the Bloggeista but was impressed with all the work and organization involved. Read a good number of bloggers efforts over the weekend and found some useful tips to help me improve my blogs.

    I love coming here. Thank you.

    • Thanks, Susan. I’m not sure why I’m thinking about a rating system. I try and keep my reviews really short and concise without giving anything away. I think they’ve gotten better over time.

      Bloggiesta was helpful, lots of great hints from other bloggers, but I ended up spending more time reading other blogs than organizing my own!

  4. I rate books on a 1-5 scale and appreciate when other bloggers rate books, too. It’s fun to learn who has tastes similar to your own. I don’t like it when I read a review, but have no idea if the reviewer liked the book or not.

    For audiobooks, I use a letter scale for rating. I’m not sure why I started rating them differently, but since it’s such a different experience, a different rating system seems appropriate.

    • JoAnn – Thanks for your comments! I am working on developing a rating system, but I always try and make sure I say in a review whether I did or didn’t like a book.

      I’m interested in seeing how rating systems work and am visiting lots of blog to find out.

  5. I use a rating system for myself, but not in my reviews that I post on my blog. I don’t know why I don’t use them. I prefer to read the comments that people make about books.

  6. I strongly dislike rating systems, but I think that has to do with what I’m looking for in a conversation about books. I don’t so much care whether a person liked a book or not, as whether they’re engaging in an interesting conversation about it, whether they have thought-provoking things to add. Peoples’ tastes in literature are so different that it doesn’t mean a whole lot to me that somebody gave a book three stars; many of my favorite books have been utterly panned by other people! What might pique my interest more is if someone wrote a review that involved some issue about which I’d been thinking, or pointed out a new take on an old passage.

    But I know that some people use book blogs as more of a recommendation service, in which case ratings might make more sense. It just rubs me the wrong way to reduce the entire, rich experience of reading a book into a series of stars or numbers. To each their own! :-)

    • Emily – Thanks for your comments. Your blog is amazing, always deeply thoughtful comments about what you read. I think I feel rushed to write about the books I read, not sure why. I don’t allow myself to sink into those deep thoughts. I’d like to change that.

      Maybe I won’t use a rating system!

      Can’t wait to read what you think of 2666.

  7. mee

    I use rating system myself and I think I prefer to see it on other people’s blogs too. It sort of summarizes the review. So if I don’t feel like reading it before, I might change my mind to read the whole review to see what it is about — why it has a perfect or bad rating. It’s something to catch your eye so to speak. But I realize it’s very subjective, so a 3 stars for one person could mean differently with 3 stars from the other person.

    Btw I’d never heard of Guy DeLisle before. I just check out his graphic novels. They look interesting! Too bad my library doesn’t have them :(

  8. I like rating systems because if I’m reading a review of a book I plan to read, I may not read the entire review in fear of spoiling the reading experience for myself. In that case, I want the bare basics – did the blogger like the book or not? A rating system gives me that info quickly.

    • Carrie – I know what you mean about not wanting to spoil the reading experience. I try and keep my reviews clear and concise without giving anything away. Thanks for your comments!

  9. I use a rating system
    # My general benchmarks are

    5.0 Excellent
    4.0 Very Good
    3.0 Average
    2.0 Poor
    1.0 Did Not Like
    0 Did Not Finish
    I try to write reviews that don’t give too much away, but at the same time you knwo if I liked the book or not.
    My guidelines are at
    http://paradise-mysteries.blogspot.com/2009/04/book-reviews-my-policy-and-guidelines.html

    • Kerrie – Thanks for the comments on your rating system. I really like the fact that you wrote up guidelines!

      My problem is that I would stop reading a book I felt dropped below your 3.0. Too many good books, not enough time!

      I just finished Ian Rankin’s “Exit Music”. Have you read it?

  10. I’m not a big fan of rating systems. I mean, I don’t mind if other bloggers use them, but personally I don’t find them very useful and can’t bring myself to use one.

    I have trouble quantifying how much I liked a book. What Memory said about how it says how a book stands in relation to the other books you’ve read – that’s exactly what I have trouble doing. I guess because I don’t judge all books by the same criteria? I don’t know.

    Anyway, I think that if I used one I’d end up giving books ratings that were too similar, and so it wouldn’t really be informative.

  11. Pingback: Bookish links for June 27, 2009 | BOOKS AND MOVIES

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