Somewhere amidst the various rating crises I’ve had since I started blogging, I realized that I rarely give 1-star ratings to books.
Seriously, out of the 550+ books I’ve read since I starting rating books, I’ve only given a 1-star rating to 12 of them. That really doesn’t seem like a lot.
Then again, maybe that’s normal and everyone gives very few 1-star ratings. What do I know? But I thought I’d muse on some possible reasons why and find out if any of you also give very few 1-star ratings!
Maybe I DNF All the Bad Ones?
This seems like the most obvious possibility, but I don’t DNF much at all. Only maybe 2-3 books a year.
Maybe I’m Good at Choosing Books I Like?
Maybe I am, to an extent. I know what I like, which is why I’m picky about books and often read lots of reviews before making a decision to read one. But it’s impossible to always know what a book will be like and to never end up reading any flops. Plus, I take chances on a lot of less popular books and ARCs that have no to very few reviews to base my decision on. And I also like to take chances on books in general if they have something in particular that interests me (like an uncommon supernatural creature), even if I’m unsure about the book as a whole. In fact, a lot of the absolute best books I’ve read have been ones I didn’t think I’d like or was super hesitant about. Taking chances often works out well for me. So it’s probably not this reason.
Maybe I’m a “Nice” Rater?
I give out even less 5-star ratings than I do 1-star ratings. I’ve only given 8 of those. As for 4.5 star ratings (which I round up on Amazon and Goodreads), I’ve given 40 of those. So I don’t just hand out 5-stars. However, I think I am pretty lenient with my other ratings, which is why I end up with so many 3.5- and 4-star books and also why I’ve given the same rating to books I loved but also to books that were more ok. So this reason is a definite possibility. But that brings me to my next point…
Maybe I Find Some Redeeming Qualities in Every Books I Read?
As I’ve said before, I never regret reading a book, and I feel like I gain something from every book I read. I even have a whole post about the good thing about bad books. So those redeeming qualities I find often sway me to give a book at least 2 or 2.5 stars, even if I personally really disliked it. And that’s another thing…
Maybe I’m Trying to Be Objective?
Sometimes I read a book and feel like, well, *I* didn’t like it, but it seems like something other people could possibly like. I try to rate books based on my personal enjoyment since that’s what helps people understand my taste… but I don’t rate books solely based on how I feel. I also take into account the writing, the story, things it did well or not-so-well, etc. That’s why I might completely love and adore and rave about a book but still give it 4 stars. So it makes sense that I might also do the opposite—hate a book but give it 2 or 2.5 stars because I recognize there were some things that were done well even if they weren’t to my liking.
Maybe It Has to Do with Emotion?
When I look back at my list of 1-star books, those are the books that I’d write down if you asked me to make a list of the worst books I’ve ever read. They literally stick out in my memory because they actually made me angry because they were just so terrible, or the characters acted so ridiculously, or nothing made sense, or the book were problematic and filled with things like sexism and romanticized abuse. So I guess I feel like, if a book didn’t make me feel that passionately, if it wasn’t so horrible that it actually made me angry, then it just doesn’t feel like a 1-star book to me.
I Think It’s a Combination of All These Things
For example, there are some books that I’d include on my list of worst books ever, books that truly made me angry and are still memorable for this reason, that I gave 2 stars to. So I guess I must’ve felt like those books had some redeeming qualities. Or maybe I was in a more lenient mood. Or maybe my ratings are just all over the place since I have no actual system and decisions are hard. But still, I think I really have to be angry at a book and find little to no redeeming qualities to give it 1 star.