Having now gotten comfortable with my rating system, I thought I might try to explain it to the folks at home. So check it out:
1 – A waste of time. There is very little redeeming about this book. This is the lowest it can go, meaning I was really and truly frustrated by/disgusted with this book. Usually inspires a level of vitriol towards the author for the book having wasted my time.
2 – Just doesn’t quite do it. There’s usually something interesting or exciting about this book, but it isn’t enough to really keep me involved. On the whole, this tends to mean it was a ‘bad’ book. Perhaps it was annoying, but had a great piece of prose at one point. Perhaps there was something innovative about the book but the plot let the innovation down.
3 – Comme ci, comme ca. This book was neither bad nor great – it was simply okay. An enjoyable read with a fleeting impact. Average, you might say.
4 – This book has something to be recommended. It’s good, enjoyable, probably ‘intelligent’ in some way, and distinguishes itself. However, there’s something wrong with it still. There’s a flaw: a poorly written section, an underdeveloped character, a stupid plot twist, or something along these lines. It lessens the book.
5 – A great book. Definitely to be recommended. Perhaps there’s a flaw here or there but nothing detrimental and therefore it’s probably a solid read, straight through. Intelligent, exciting, well-written, etc. This should head towards the top of your to-read lists.
5+ – An excellent book. Goes above and beyond the excellence of a ‘5’ and distinguishes itself in some way, shape, or form. A 5+ book is usually notable by my taking a pause after reading it to reflect. It is a book that inspires further thought and sticks in your head, existing there long after the book is finished. A 5+ may be a flawed book but the total impact elevates it above other, better-constructed works.
6 – a rare rating, created after reading a book that immediately jumped into my top ten. This is for, quite simply, books that are “the best things I’ve ever read.” They affect me so uniquely that they become descriptive of a moment in my life. This is a mercurial rating, to be sure, and one to be used sparingly. This is also an intensely personal rating, reflecting the book’s relationship to me as much as the quality of the book itself.
Incomplete – for those rare times when I don’t finish a book. I don’t want to pass judgement on something that I didn’t complete, although you can safely assume that an Incomplete means that it wasn’t going to be a very good rating…