From four stars and up – I recommend you read it.
This is a classification scheme in-progress. I may have been a little inconsistent before, but I don’t feel like retrofitting stars onto a year worth of posts leading up to March 2011, so mostly I will try to be more consistent going forwards.
Five stars is my strongest recommendation for a book.
I would tell you in conversation that this book is ‘amazing and excellent’. Depending on how much coffee I’ve had recently, I may interrupt other topics just to tell you how good this book is.
So, to get five stars, it has to be in the top one percent of books that I’ve ever read… I don’t mean strictly numerically-speaking, just that’s how it seems to have worked out over the past year of reading new books.
I’ll likely buy a five-star book even if I first read a library copy. I’ll probably buy it hard-cover, though used is OK, so that it will survive multiple reads. I may cough up the money to buy a new hardcover. (oooooh, ahhhhh)
Four point five stars
Excellent. Four and a half is even better than 4 stars.
I will happily read this book multiple times – either for sheer enjoyment, or to find further depths in the writing, or both.
I probably would want to own it – I might even go looking for it.
Many smileys for this level.
Really good. Hitting the four-star threshold means that I’ll actively recommend this to others, saying ‘this book is really good’.
Given that I read so many books, I am sparing with my recommendations. Plenty of perfectly good enjoyable books don’t make it to recommendation level, as far as I am concerned.
I would definitely be willing to read a four-star book again. If I found it for sale for $3 or less in paperback, I’d buy it. Hardcover: buy for $5 or less, no question. Unless I have to carry-on an airplane and it’s not my current book.
Three and a half means ‘This was good, I want more from this author’. There are moments of real excellence in this book, and it’s overall enjoyable… I’ll go looking for more written by this author, and I’ll be disappointed if I can’t find more.
A three-and-a-half doesn’t quite make it to my recommendation level for a single book, but it’s enough to recommend the author to me, if you get that.
There’s a decent chance that I’ll read this book again… especially if I happen to own it, or I like other books by this author even more. I might buy this book in order to complete a series or collection if I really like the other books.
Three stars is the top tier of literary junk food. Good junk food. I read it, I had fun, I will read others by this author, but there are definite flaws someplace in the book’s overall offering/solution/contribution. Any ‘wow’ or ‘lol’ moments are outweighed by the downsides, whatever they were.
Probably I won’t read this book again unless it’s important in a series that’s stronger overall, but only if I happen to own it, or am trapped in an elevator with it.
Literary junk food. Dead average books merit two and a half stars. I didn’t see anything promising enough in this particular book that I’ll request another book by this author on the basis of this book alone.
Not to say that the author sucks – if I’ve liked other books by him or her, I’ll keep going.
Two stars is my ranking for below average, and heading for disappointing. I will generally finish a book like this just out of stubbornness, but sometimes I’ll put it aside as a waste of time.
See I get harsh pretty fast. But, there are so many excellent books out there, plus so many books that I have not read, why waste time?
Zero to scarce stars
I know, every book is someone’s baby, but it seems like some babies should have stayed in the village longer to be brought up right. I don’t enjoy criticizing books for spite’s sake… but if it’s really rubbed me the wrong way, I want to know to avoid this one in the future! Beware, beware.
In person, I may even mock these books 😐