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My Book Review System Explained

I love to read and between physical books, audiobooks, and the Kindle app on my phone, I typically finish 30+ books a year. Sci-Fi is by far my favorite genre and I get sucked into trilogies and series far too often. A few years ago I started rating all of the books that I read on a scale of 1 to 3. I feel that the 3 point scale if more effective than a 10 or a 5 point scale. Each point gives a clear impression of how I felt about the book and each point is used often. The 5 and 10 point scale rarely use the low end and often the high end is used inconsistently. Here is what each of my three points represents:

1 of 3:

1 of 3 - This is a book I would not recommend to others and did not particularly enjoy. Typically there are some redeeming qualities about this book, else I would not have finished the book, but there were not as great as the flaws. A 1 is used less than 2 and 3 in my rating system because I try to be selective of my book choices and it’s rare that I will actually finish a book I am not enjoying.

2 of 3:

2 of 3 - This book was enjoyable. However not enjoyable enough that I would recommend it to others. Typically this is a book that has more good than bad but little to no great. Often these are books that are guilty pleasures, I know they are not great works but are short and fun to read, or sequels in series or trilogies.

3 of 3:

3 of 3 - I would recommend it to others and I enjoyed it. These are the books that are great. They have great than anything else. I enjoyed them enough that I would tell another person they should spend 5-20 hours of their time reading it. 3 are not that uncommon for me as if I am going to pick up a book I’ve done enough research to know it’s generally something I will enjoy. The 3 doesn’t mean it’s the greatest book of all time but that it’s great and I enjoyed it.

I said I have a 3 point system. In truth, it’s a 3 point and two exception system. Those two exceptions are:

Did not finish:

Did not finish - Typically a book I did not finish is one I found uninteresting or I picked up without doing enough research. Sometimes it’s just something I stepped away from and haven’t found the time to come back to. I have a rule that if I do not pick up a book for three days in a row that I move on to a new book. There are far too many good and great books out there for me to waste my days not reading. Many books that would have been given a 1 of 3 ends up as did not finishes.

*3 of 3:

*3 of 3 - The asterisk 3 of 3. The gold, or off black, star. This is a book I felt was the top of the top. Something that feels foundational. Something that I think everyone should read. I am lucky to read 1 of 2 of these a year. In 2020, I read Little Women and Pet Sematary, my first Stephen King and on a whim, which are both asterisk 3’s. Typically these books connect with me in a way that feels special or I feel I learn something about the world from them. I can tell when I am reading them that they are different.

That’s my little rating system explained. In short: 3 I enjoyed it and I would recommend it to others, 2 it was enjoyable, 1 would not recommend to others and did not particularly enjoy it.