Some people like to use stars (like me). Some people use other ways to rate books. Fellow blogger Claudia over at The Love of Books recently posted that she’s developed a brand new rating system for giving stars (or in her case hearts) to books that she reads. That made me that we should discuss:
How do you rate the books you review?
Let me start by saying that there is nothing wrong with not using any rating system at all. Lots of bloggers prefer to stay away from putting up any type of rating, be it stars of points or whatever. That is totally valid, and I’m not telling anyone what they should or shouldn’t do on their own blogs or book reviews.
That said, Claudia found this on a YouTube video by Book Roast, which is very fun to watch! But if you don’t want to watch the video, here’s the breakdown of the system from Claudia’s post:
The Book Roast’s rating system, called CAWPILE, involves giving a book a score from 1-10 on seven factors. The factors are:
- Writing Style
Each topic is given a score:
- 0 – 3 = very poor
- 4 – 6 = mediocre
- 7 – 9 = really good
- 8 – 10 = outstanding
You then add up the seven different scores (one for each topic), and divide the result by 7 to get an overall rating of between 1 and 10 for the book. This number is used to determine the rating of the book:
- 0 – 1 = no rating
- 1.1 – 2.2 = ♥
- 2.3 – 4.5 = ♥ ♥
- 4.6 – 6.9 = ♥ ♥ ♥
- 7 – 8.9 = ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
- 9 – 10 = ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
On the face of it, this sounds pretty complex. But, if you think about it just a bit, I am guessing that it isn’t really too difficult to work out. The whole CAWPILE idea certainly helps you break down the elements of a book, so you can evaluate it more properly. Surely if you’ve struggled with how to rate books you’re reviewing, this would be a good way to start.
That said, my question is, do all readers and reviewers see each of the CAWPILE elements as being equal? See, if they’re all equal, then there’s no problem with this system. But if they’re not equal, then rating one category highly that the reviewer sees as less consequential will skew your results. See what I mean? If not, let me be more precise.
For example, some say that at the most basic level, there are really only two types of novels. Character driven novels, and plot driven novels. Obviously, every reader and reviewer will have their preference – some prefer character driven novels, and some prefer plot driven books. To give them equal weight, when the reviewer puts more importance on one as opposed to the other, seems unfair – to the reviewer, and ultimately to the book! This also doesn’t take into account how someone who, for example, values a certain type of writing style, might be willing to forgive plot holes and flat characters, simply because they love the author’s way of using language.
Finally, I’m not sure if boiling down our ratings to a mathematical formula will work for everyone. Yes, I’m sure that this could be a very valuable tool, especially for newer reviewers, or reviewers who want to start using a rating system. I worry, however that for someone who has been reviewing and giving ratings to books for a while, this method might become more of a hinderance than a help.
This whole thing raises a whole lot of questions, some of which include:
- Do you have a rating system for the books you review?
- If you do, is it a mathematical one like this, or do you go with your gut?
- If you don’t give out stars or hearts or whatever, would you consider starting to use such a system, or do you find them to be irrelevant or that they feel fake?
- If you do rate books, what is more important to you – the characters or the plot – and will one or the other’s excellence or failure color your rating for that book?
- When you read a book, do you pay more attention one (or a couple) of the CAWPILE categories than others, or are they all equally important to you?
I could go on, but this should start the discussion off.
This post is my sixth entry in the 2020 Discussion Challenge, hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!