Tuesday, March 14, 2017

No Stars From Me -- Goodreads Freeloader?

I signed up for Goodreads in 2011 and did nothing with it.  Around 2013, I figured out that there was a Goodreads app for iPhone and became a regular user.

My favorite Goodreads feature is the ability to keep track of the books I want to read.  For a couple years, I tried typing titles into a note on my phone.  Over and over, I'd lose the note (or a child would delete it) and poof would go months of book ideas.  Now, if I hear about a book from a friend, read about a good one in a waiting room People, or see something intriguing in a #bookstagram pic, I can just open up Goodreads and log the title into my app as "To Read."

My least favorite aspect of Goodreads is how difficult it is to "unfriend."  Every once in a while, someone (whom I don't know personally) will friend me.  At first, I would say yes in order to be nice, only to find that this individual seemingly did nothing all day except for comment/like other people's reviews and repeatedly post about books in genres I avoid (fantasy, for example).  Another gem of a Goodreads stranger/friend would review a book and then re-post that same review 10-12 times.  All that was clogging up my feed, but it's NOT EASY to unfollow someone, especially through the app.  (Disclaimer:  If I know you personally or our reading tastes are similar, I'm not looking to shake you.) 

The feature of Goodreads that stresses me out is the rating system.  I don't like giving the books a star rating at the end.  Too much bullshit to work through.  Am I being too kind?  Too harsh?  Am I prejudice against certain genres/types of books?  Am I rating on my experience reading that particular book at that specific moment in my life?  Or, am I supposed to evaluate each book within the context of all the books I've ever read?  I know, I know, don't overthink it, you're not on the Pulitzer selection committee, Megan.

Can I admit that I also get irritated by other people's ratings?  People who say perfectly pleasant things about a book that they finished reading and then give it two stars?!?!  Two stars?!  I guess for me, if I liked a book enough to finish it, then that book is better than two stars?  If it's only a two-star book for you, why are you spending time reading it?!  Some people are consistently stingy in their book ratings, and I admit to thinking, "Well, okay then, book snob."  But then, I'm actually the book snob because what I'm really thinking is:  "Well, okay then, you wanna-be book snob.  Who are you to give out these stingy ratings when I read over a hundred books last year and am much more generous in my ratings?"  But maybe I'm an easy grader.  And, of course, every reader, regardless of number of books read, has the right to rate a book as he/she sees fit so who am I to get all pissy about other people's ratings?!  And who gives a shit about these ratings anyway?!  See, how I can spiral with this Goodreads star system?

I gave myself a gift at the start of 2017:  I'm writing up little blurbs about the books I finish, but I'm not giving them a star rating.  It feels liberating.  But am I freeloading?  Since I often check the average ratings of books when deciding what to read.  Whether or not I'm a freeloader, not rating books has enhanced my Goodreads experience.  How about you?

Author's Note:  You know a post is boring when you start it on 3/8 and don't circle back and force yourself to finish it until 3/14.  Please don't rate this post.



  1. I feel like everyone's rating systems are different. I wish GR had half stars. And for me, 3.5 stars is a book that was decent, but just decent, while others think 3.5 stars is pretty good!

    I also wish GR had some way to denote DNFs...like a box you check with a place to put how far you made it. At least you could then see that information in some uniform, numerical representation. Big fail that there's no way to do that now.

  2. Three stars for me is: "I liked it, but it didn't set my world on fire." I agree with you that 3.5 stars is pretty good. I wish you could actually only fill in the half stars when doing the ratings! I also agree with you that a DNF option would be really helpful.