I’ve written a couple of reviews lately, bad reviews, on bad books, and once I’m done with that I always like to check Goodreads.com. Maybe there was something I missed. Maybe there was something I didn’t pick up on and so I lost out on some level of appreciation.
For the last three books I’ve reviewed (the reviews of which are not yet published on this blog), I have logged into Goodreads and found that the books I gave 0-2 star ratings had almost 5 stars. And I thought, now I could understand a 3 star rating–and that would make me feel better, honestly, to know that I was not the only one to think poorly of it–but a 4.5-5 star rating?
What did I miss???
But sure enough, upon reviewing the reviews (from those who actually review and don’t just fangirl/boy over the text) I found that I had very similar thoughts about various books. In fact, in a couple of my reviews, other reviewers and I seem to think identically. Noting the same passages and issues with the text.
Noting the same feelings toward the text.
I speak of one book in particular, the review of which will be coming up soon. I felt that it was incredibly insulting to those who had lived through the non-fictional circumstances the book was based on. And I was not the only one to use the word insulting. I was not the only one to be outrageously disappointed.
But still there were 5 star ratings!
And it just makes me wonder about the effectiveness of Goodreads when so many people rate a book but don’t review it. Don’t get me wrong. I love Goodreads–best thing for tracking and recommending and such. But I think the users all need to at least state why their giving it that rating.
If only to save me from my frustrations.
But also because I’m beginning to distrust the rating system knowing how many services there are for authors to only get good reviews. And as the entire point of Goodreads is to have a public rating for recommending books, one would assume we wouldn’t want the integrity of the rating to be compromised. One of the review sites which I used to receive books from forbid reviewers from posting anything below a 4 star rating. Which I find to be dishonest.
I’d never have a portfolio of reviews if I had stayed on that site (especially since I received so many terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad books). I’d also think that my integrity as a reviewer would be questionable if I never disliked a book. Of course, there is merit in all books, but I refuse to praise something I truly had many problems with.
So back to Goodreads–I’d appreciate it more users would actually review the title. Even if it’s just a little quip of something that says you liked the characters or thought the language was nice.
I mean, come on–you know why you like and don’t like something. And if there’s anything I’ve noticed from my workshops in class–chances are–when someone just says “I liked it” they didn’t read it very well (sometimes they didn’t read it all).