UPDATE: It’s been less than an hour since I posted this and I’m already totally second-guessing this decision, so please feel free to weigh in with your opinions. Is this the right thing to do? Or would I be better off just coming up with a 5+ stars rating for those all-time favorites (which I’m not sure I can do with my current rating system, but might be better if I can figure it out?).
So, I’ve been thinking about doing this for a very long time, but I’m finally taking the plunge – I’m changing some of my ratings. I know – this can be a very touchy subject. After all, ratings are subjective and the rating I originally gave to a book is how I felt at the time of review, right? Well, yes. But I’ve come to the conclusion that there are other factors that are important to me too.
For instance, I wrote a post about a year ago (one of my first discussions!) asking how soon you review. Like I said, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. At the time of that post, I noticed a pattern with my reviews. If I wrote the review while I was still on that book “high,” I felt like I rated a book higher than I would if I waited a little bit before writing the review. This was especially true in my earlier reviews when I wasn’t being particularly critical and I didn’t really know what I was doing with this reviewing thing. Does that make those reviews less valid? Yes and no. But I finally determined that I don’t like the effect and I’ve decided to do something about it.
Sometimes, after some time has passed, a book goes from this:
To something more subdued, like this:
So, HOW am I changing my ratings? For the most part, this will affect my 5 star rated books. I really want those 5 star books to reflect the very best of the best of what I’ve read. I want to read through my 5 star list and think, with every book there, Yes! That’s one of my all-time favorites! I can’t say that right now.
I think that how a book stands the test of time (in my mind) is just as important as my initial impressions. Plus, there were times earlier in my blogging when I gave a book five stars just because I couldn’t pinpoint anything wrong with it, but I’m no longer happy with that. If it didn’t make me feel that something extra special (a feeling that lasts over time), then I don’t feel like it should be in my 5 star list.
The ratings aren’t going to shift drastically. They might go down by a half star. And I’m not changing anything on Goodreads, because my Goodreads ratings are rounded in the end anyway, and the rounding wouldn’t change. And, actually, as I’ve gone through my list of 5 star books, I’ve found that I don’t feel tempted to change as many ratings as I expected to. LOTS of books on that list are books that I still LOVE! So, don’t get too worried.
I might change a few lower than 5 star reviews as well, but probably not many. I haven’t gotten that far yet, but I think it’s mostly the 5 stars that I’m concerned with. AND I plan on moving the rating of at least one book up by a half star. (Maybe Someday, I’m looking at you – I rated it 4.5 stars because of a slight issue I had with the concept of cheating, but when I think of my favorite books of all-time, that book always inevitably comes to mind. SO, this one’s a no-brainer for me.)
So, if you go to an old review and see the following message right after the original rating, you’ll understand why:
UPDATE: I decided to change my rating for this book to 4.5 stars. Not because the book wasn’t amazing, but because, after some time has passed, it doesn’t still stand out as an absolute ALL-TIME favorite (which I would like my 5 star books to be).
I may go back and do this again from time to time, but I’m not expecting to have to change as many ratings in the future because I’m being much more selective in my 5 star ratings now (and have been for at least the last few months).
How about you? Have you ever been tempted to change your ratings? Have you done it? Do you think it’s just plain wrong? (I get you – I do.) I want to know!