Is There a Perfect Time to Rate a Book?

Saturday, May 7, 2016
The main reason why I wanted to bring this up is because I feel like there's a certain euphoria after finishing a book that sometimes obscures our better judgment, whether we'd like to admit it or not. I used to think I was immune to this euphoria, but that proved wrong quite recently, as I was reading other people's reviews of a book I had just rated and reviewed. It was a sequel to one of my absolute favorite books ever, and I enjoyed it enough that I thought I'd fallen in love with it the same way I'd fallen in love with the first, but the fact of the matter is that the book wasn't as good as the original. It was captivating and written wonderfully, but the plot just didn't quite hold up as well. Despite all this, I was disillusioned because the ending was almost exactly what I wanted it to be. So I initially rated it 5 stars. But looking back, it wasn't truly a 5-star read, and realized this has been happening a lot lately. So today I thought it would be interesting to discuss the perfect time to rate books, if there even is one.

Usually I rate a book as soon as I finish it, or at least within a few hours of finishing it, but that's just a natural instinct. If you've read my post about the complexity of rating systems, you'd know that 1) rating books is not a simple task, and 2) I have a rating calculation based on writing style, creativity, characters, plot, and romance (if applicable). However, this is still a rather quick evaluation and lately, as I previously mentioned, I've been altering my ratings a lot after the fact.

My main problem is that many books fail to grab my attention from the start, but by the end, I'm completely captivated. That euphoria I mentioned before so often fills my mind and heart with happiness by the last page, and, as a result, I often give those books a rating higher than they deserve. I'm not saying that loving an ending and rating a highly book because of it is necessarily wrong, but obviously we're supposed to be rating a whole book, not just based on the second half or last 100 pages (or whatever the situation may be).

For me, based on when I usually change my ratings, I should probably decide the rating within a few days of finishing the book. I always have to start writing reviews right away since I don't have the greatest memory when it comes to books, but I think it's better to decide the rating after starting to draft the review. That's not what I've been doing, but it probably makes more sense to do it that way so I can articulate my thoughts and recognize the problems the book may have had (and base the rating on those things).

So the thing is, I don't know the answer to the question I'm asking, but I do know one thing. That it might not be be the best idea to rate books as soon as I finish them. I misjudge books frequently, and it's not like my initial ratings are lies, but I think I do need some time to settle and organize my thoughts. I'm always so giddy and want to share my opinions right away, and don't have the patience to think things through. And I don't usually realize my mistakes until much later. I know they're mistakes that can easily be fixed, but since I've made this mistake so many times, I figured it was worth analyzing further.


17 comments :

  1. I know that feeling, sometimes when I finish a book and it's very good I give it a rate at the moment. But sometimes when I came back, read my notes or even I remember something about the book, I am like"how did I like this one?" I think it's just because I read something better...

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  2. YES. YES TO THIS POST.
    this happens to me. every single time. but i always change my rating a week or so later. i
    think it's because, usually, the last 100 or 200 pages are action-packed more than the rest of the book. that's why when we're done with it, all we can feel is the action of the last part of the book. to be honest, i don't know the answer to that suestion either xD
    AMAZING POST, ALEXANDRA. I LOVE IT.

    - Maha @ Younicorn Reads

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    1. GAHHHH THANK YOU, MAHA <333 And I totally know what you mean! So often the endings are better than the beginnings and we get so caught up in the greatness at the end that we forget how much we didn't like the beginning.

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  3. I UNDERSTAND THIS!!!! There have been multiple books where I read it and thought it was the best book ever and looking back I definitely didn't like it as much as I initally thought I did! Now I have to step back and wait a bit just to see. That's where annotations help because I have THE WORST memory known to man.I LOVE THIS POST!!! Great job!!!

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    1. Thank you, Kit Cat <333 I'm so glad you could relate :) And at this point, there are too many occasions to count where I've gone back and changed the rating.

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  4. I've found that if I write the review first, that generally shakes all my feelings loose and I can rate it afterwards. So when I'm all heart-eyes over an ending and inclined to give 4-5 stars, if I sit down and start talking about it I'll remember the rest and either realize I was blinded by feelz OR I'll decide I don't care. (Hey, sometimes an ending can really carry a book and warrant that extra star.) So on sites like goodreads, if I mark a book read, I don't give it a star rating until I come back and post my review for it.

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    1. That's a fantastic idea! I definitely should start writing down my ideas/reviewing earlier so I can make better decisions when it comes to ratings.

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  5. I completely understand and agree. Sometimes I find that if I rate a book BEFORE writing my review, I then rate it higher or lower after finishing my review and remembering what I liked or didn't like about a novel. Other times, I talk about the book to someone and realize ... wow I didn't like this book that much. It's so difficult! But rating things is hard any time you do it, really. My opinion of a book could change next year so does that mean I should NEVER rate a book? I feel like once I've written my review, that is final, unless I read the book again and change my opinion. Great post!

    Jamie @ Books and Ladders

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    1. Thanks, Jamie!! And I definitely think talking it through helps. I've been doing that more lately and have realized a lot of things because of it. Also, I think it makes sense that your rating would be final, but sometimes I go back a year later (even though I probably shouldn't) and realize how I didn't really like a book as much as I thought I did, so I change the rating...

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  6. I always rate a book right after finishing it and yes, a lot of times I change the rating once I write my review. That is the time I truly start to think about the book, instead of just using my feelings.

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  7. I rate a book pretty much as soon as I finish it--it feels weird for me not to. Most of the time, as I near the end I have a pretty good idea of what I am going to rate it so it isn't an issue.

    What is an issue is if the ending ends in a huge, mind-blowing cliffhanger, I tend to rate the book higher than I would have before that point. How a book ends and how I feel at the end of it is really what I base my review on but that isn't always accurate and so I know I have inflated reviews on Goodreads and the like because of some killer ending.

    Lauren @ SERIESous Book Reviews #Commenting365

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    1. That's good :) But I totally know what you mean by the amazing endings that cause us to rate higher. I know I've had my fair share of those books.

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  8. People, myself included, have wondered about HOW to rate a book, but I've never thought about WHEN... It's a good point your talking about here, Alex!
    For my part, though I still consider all the technical aspects of a book, I still base my rating on emotions: what feeling did this book create in me while I was reading it? Because to me, reading is a learning experience yes, but it's mostly an emotional journey (wow that sounds spiritualXD). I read for fun, I read because I want to experience other people's live. So my rating and my review reflect how I felt after finishing a book, and to me it makes sense because I hope to convince people to read it so they can, too, feel the same way I did.
    So coming back to the quesetion of the day, for me, the perfect time to rate a book is on the day I finish it. Over time, my appreciation of some books has changed, but what I felt at the moment can't, the experience I had reading them can't, so that's why for me, the sooner the better!

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    1. Thanks, Sophie! :) And that's always been my struggle. I love the emotional journey you mentioned when I read, but at the same time I know as a reviewer I should be keeping an eye out for the problems/technicalities within the books.

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  9. I like to wait, because my opinion takes a bit of time to settle. There are books that I enjoyed but the more I think about it the less I like it, and vice versa. This especially applies to me because I am a big re-reader (listener) and base my rating on how likely I am to re-read it.

    Most Recent Post: Critical Elements in Designing a Post Index?

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    1. I rarely ever reread books, but I understand what you mean about how it takes time for opinions to settle.

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