Two Stars or Not Two Stars? That is the Rating Question

Ad Astra Per Aspera

Latin for “To the Stars Through Difficulty” – the State motto of Kansas (my home state).

I decided I should more clearly define my rating scale used here on my blog for all my reviews.  I actually composed most of what follows for my GoodReads profile back when I joined that site in 2008.  GoodReads rating stars include a very brief description of what they mean when you hover over them with your mouse (one star = ‘didn’t like it’; two stars = ‘it was okay’; three stars = ‘liked it’; four stars = ‘really liked it’; and, five stars = ‘it was amazing’).

My difficulty arises from writing a review, not from applying a rating to what ever it is I am reviewing.  The following contains my completely subjective opinion on a five star scale for rating all kinds of things – books, movies, products, services, etc.

So on to the stars!

No Star (or One Star if required to select a minimum): A one star rating from me means I disliked and in some cases loathed the item before me. I would even go so far to equate my one star to no stars, but as I must assign at least a single star, this is my zero.

Two Stars: Two stars usually means I felt unmoved by the book or movie. Roughly equivalent to a “Fair” or “Okay” recommendation. Not something I would probably re-read or re-watch.

Three Stars: My three star rating represents the average to above average range, usually associated with “Good” for me. I might recommend the work and re-visit it, if no other new potential four or five star material was at hand.

Four Stars: When I recommend something to a friend, or even a total stranger, it invariably comes from something in this rating category. I often re-read works I give a four star rating to, because I enjoy reliving the adventure and the character struggles.

Five Stars: For items I just can’t get enough of. Books I’ve read countless times or movies I’ve watched so many times I know all the dialogue and scenes so well I’m wrenched when the networks edit them “to fit in the time allotted.” In the case of a book, a five star rating means I’ve become so emotionally attached to the characters that I’m devastated when I finish the book because I’m not in communion with them any longer. It also means I won’t be able to read a book for a day or two to recover emotionally.

DNF: Did Not Finish.  Pretty self-explanatory.  It just wasn’t my thing or it was affecting my mood or outlook on life negatively and I just needed it to stop.

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I strive to be a five star Scrooge.  Something must be truly gifted, the very pinnacle of excellence, before I will bestow my highest honor upon it.  I am a bit more lenient with a four star rating, often waffling between three and four stars on most of what I consume.  I have friends and the Internet to thank for that last bit, since many other people have already expressed their opinions about just about anything and everything, so I can weed out the obvious chaff.

I also try to let my brain rest for a day or two before applying a rating and composing a review.  Unless,  of course, I couldn’t stomach it, then I’m quick to verbalize my loathing.   All of this only applies in my universe, the one between my ears, so please take my opinions with a grain of salt.

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