Rating System

I giggle to think that I’m going to hold myself to a system, but at least I can try to explain why I typically rank books the way that I do.  At the end of the day, it’s a gut feel though.  So good luck!


These are game-changing books.  These are books that pop into my mind instantly when I’m asked, “Have you read a good book lately.”

  • A new idea or topic or viewpoint that I haven’t seen before (if it’s interesting enough, I may forgive a few issues with the presentation)
  • A book that inspires me to learn more
  • A book that makes me look at the world around me differently
  • A book that I just can’t get out of my head
  • A book I can’t put down
  • A book that I have to put down because it’s so intense


These are very good books.  I may recommend these to people, but I’m not going to gush.  It’ll be along the lines of, “You may enjoy this one…”  It’s a fine line between 4- and 5-stars.

  • The topic or story is interesting, but something about the writing or presentation throws it off
  • A book that I’m happy to pick up at any opportunity
  • A book that makes me think
  • A book that teaches me or shows me something new
  • A book that is well-written but not “special”
  • A book that I’ll remember


These are enjoyable books.  If I think something like, “It’s good for what it was,” then it’s likely a 3-star book.

  • A book that I’m happy to have read
  • A book that’s entertaining
  • A book that I don’t have to talk myself into picking back up
  • A guilty pleasure


These are books with serious challenges.  With this book, I’m likely to counsel, “I didn’t love that one.”

  • A book that struggled to hold my interest
  • A book I finished because I didn’t want to write off the time I spent reading it
  • A book that didn’t have anything wrong with it, but didn’t really have anything right
  • A book that made me think, “Meh”

1 starsThese are books that I hated.  There will be very few of these because I respect the art of writing and hate to hate any book.  But it happens, and you’ll know about it when it comes around.

  • A book I couldn’t make myself finish
  • A book I finished simply so it wouldn’t beat me
  • A book that makes question editors and publishers everywhere
  • A book that makes me question our friendship if you like it even a little bit
  • Anna Karenina