The Freedom of Not Having Ratings on My Reviews Anymore

As part of my changes this year, I mad enough changes to my reviews that I’m actually labeling them “Book Talks.” There’s not really a need for the change because “review” can encompass a whole lot of things, and these are still reviews without a doubt. However, I like to categorize things and because they’re conceptually different to me, I wanted to change the label for my own comfort. That said, for ease of discussion, I’m going to call them reviews in this post.

Those of you have been following along may have noticed that I’ve stopped adding star ratings to review posts. This was done in part of an effort to start thinking in a mindset like maybe I will possible try to get books published someday. No idea as of yet if that will actually happen, but, with the idea that I’d have more time for writing, I wanted to post fewer reviews, and I’m trending more positive.

It’s weird that I’ve made this change, because I always felt very decidedly against the idea of posting only positive reviews. However, I’ve been making lots of changes in my life to encourage positivity and appreciating the now, and this seems to dovetail. (FYI, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with posting negative reviews. Or with posting only positive ones. I’ve done both, and I will staunchly defend the right to do both.) This just feels right for what I’m wanting to accomplish at this time.

I’m trying to DNF more of the books that I don’t like or feel meh about so I can live in a world of books that really make me feel and delight me. I’m also free to write reviews only when I feel really motivated to do so, which is super nice, especially since I’ve removed the post length requirement I used to give myself. (Yes, I did that.) So far I have negatively reviewed a couple of books since I started this new process, but they’ll probably be few and far between.

Reviews continue to contain my honest opinions obvs, and I am still rating books on Goodreads if you want to follow along. I also rate them on my personal spreadsheet, because that’s how I roll.

One of the things I love about this new system is that Goodreads has that whole star only system, which, while ridiculous, allows me to be less granular in rating books. By trying to throw one of ten ratings on them, I can get too nitpicky. When there’s 4.5 stars, I’m so hesitant to give a book 5 stars, even if I really, really loved it. But if there’s nothing between 4 and 5, this becomes so much simpler. Though no one sees the difference, I feel like I’m able to be more honest with myself about how I felt about the books. Or at least I’m more comfortable with the idea of later changing my mind because no one’s really going to see.

The ratings are just for me again, which feels amazing. Like, okay, yes, technically they’ve been for me all along, but I think I have a tendency to become too aware of my audience, of whatever reputation I feel I have to uphold. I might feel like I have to up-rate a bit to not hurt a friend’s feelings or like I have to down-rate because I “shouldn’t” have loved something so much because of the opinions of others. Would that I had the confidence to always be secure in my convictions, but I surely don’t. Plus, it can be hard to be aware of that stuff, and, even if you are aware, hard to know how much it’s influencing you.

Then there’s the public-facing part of having rating-less reviews here that I’m loving. It makes me feel so damn mysterious.

Just by glancing at a round-up or taking a two second glance at the top of the post, you can’t tell what I thought anymore. Neener-neener. The only way to find out my opinion is by looking deeper, by connecting. I do realize that this will actually likely lead to less engagement, because I know I have been just looking for ratings on blogs in the past, but I do like the idea that someone would have to pay attention to what I’m saying before being able to judge what my opinion actually is. (If you want a quick take, the first and last paragraphs are safe summations of my general feelings.)

I mean, I know every blogger has written three star reviews and had people comment, “I’m sorry you didn’t like this one.” And then you scroll back up to a review about how the book was super fun, and you go, “HUH?” There’s something deeply comforting about knowing that I won’t have any more of those comments. Like most people, I don’t like being mis-perceived and having someone assume something about my reaction based solely on a rating when there are hundreds of words explaining in detail what did and did not work for me deeply irritates.

Of all the changes on my blog, this was one was initially the most difficult. I’d believed so strongly in rating reviews as a convenience that it was hard to shift my mindset. I sort of felt like a sell out. Turns out that I absolutely love it, and it was absolutely the right choice for my current headspace. Who knew?

3 responses to “The Freedom of Not Having Ratings on My Reviews Anymore”

  1. I love this! I have never used a rating on my blog because I’m just terrible at deciding on what is a 2/3/4/5 star book, so I would just ramble my feelings and I’ve always felt good about it. I’m glad youre enjoying the new route and experimenting with what makes you happy. Great post!
    Teresa Mary Rose recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #264: Every Exquisite Thing by: Cassandra Clare & Maureen JohnsonMy Profile

  2. left everything lets to talk on your attached Giff’s.
    Where from you get these? Really good collection.
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    proprepandfulfillment recently posted…Post #364My Profile

  3. hahaha I’ve always hated the immediate judgment comments from people who very clearly didn’t read my review. I also have always been against not including a star rating but I can definitely appreciate the points you make. Something to consider for the future. If I ever get back into reviewing… reviewing is not like riding a bike. lol
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Audiobook Sync: Week 4 Titles | Saving Montgomery Sole & Being Jazz (May 17 – 23)My Profile

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