I recently updated my Reviews by Year page to include a section for books I read before the year I started blogging (2011). I was surprised by how many there were (I didn’t think I read that much before I blogged!), but what I was most surprised by was the whopping amount of 5 star books I read back then. So, I started analyzing some rating stats from my reading years and what I came up with was very interesting!
Keep in mind that the “before blogging” stats may not be perfect, because I only wrote the ones I remember. I didn’t include DNFs in that one because DNF wasn’t even in my vocabulary. There were a small handful of books that didn’t catch my interest that I ended up putting down, but it wasn’t a conscious decision of “I’m never finishing this book because it sucks.”
- I rated 32 out of 58 books 5 stars. That’s 55% of the books I read!!
- I only gave 5 of those books a rating below 3 stars (9%)
- I rated 10 out of 59 books 5 stars, or 17%. The number dropped drastically from before blogging!
- I only DNFed one book
- I only gave 9 books a rating below 3 stars (15%)
- The rating I gave the most was 4 stars, with 17 books (29%)
- I rated 21 out of 141 books 5 stars, or 15%. The number is still dropping!
- I DNFed 5 books
- I gave 21 books a rating below 3 stars (15%)
- The rating I gave the most was 4 stars, with 34 books (24%)
- I rated 16 out of 106 books 5 stars, or 15%.
- I DNFed 15 books
- I gave 14 books a rating below 3 stars (13%)
- The rating I gave the most was 4 stars, with 29 books (27%)
- I rated 8 out of 77 books 5 stars, or a pitiful 10%. The number was SO low :(
- I DNFed 12 books
- I gave 13 books a rating below 3 stars (17%)
- The rating I gave the most was 4 stars, with 17 books (22%)
The overall percentage of 5 star books has really dropped over the years. I wonder: Is it because of reading so many, or because of blogging? I’d hate to think that blogging has lessened my enjoyment of the books I read. But, I’d like to think it’s more of the fact that I read so many that it takes a lot more to impress me these days!
The amount of books I’ve DNFed has skyrocketed over the years. I’m wondering if that has made my amount of lower ratings go down, though – I’m not forcing myself through the bad ones, so my overall rating average is higher? (With the exception of this past year, but I think I just enjoyed a lot less books last year.)
I rated more books 4 stars than anything else. That’s a good thing, right? That percentage has pretty much stayed the same, meaning I’m not necessarily enjoying books less, I’m just getting pickier about my 5 star books and letting go of more books I’m not enjoying.
I don’t think you’re enjoying books less, I think you’re just reading with a more critical eye even if you’re not aware of it. I have the same. :P
My number of 5 star reviews has dropped as well, but I don’t think it is because I am enjoying them less. On the contrary, I still enjoy books very much! It’s just that I am being a bit more critical. And some of the books I have rated 5 stars are AMAZING. When I compare the books I am reading, they just don’t rate as high. But like you, I have been giving out a lot of 4 star reviews.
I dare the say the change is not strictly related to blogging, more like the fact that you’ve read so many more books. You have read amazing books, so obviously you’ve become pickier over your 5 star ratings. it’s normal. The more you know, the more complex you get? The same goes for the increse in DNF books. You more books to read so you don’t try and stick to a book you’re not enjoying that much for long. Before blogging, at least I know I had way less books to read so I took my time with them.
Tracking my stats, I’ve noticed the opposite happening! Prior to blogging, I didn’t really have “opinions” on books—I just devoured them. So the year I was on Goodreads before I started blogging, I gave mostly three stars, sort of an in-between “yeah this was good and I liked it, but IDK about anything else” type thing. And then I started blogging and writing reviews and thinking critically about a book’s qualities, and also really starting to understand my own tastes, so each year my percentage of 5-star reviews goes up a tiny bit (2014 was at 12%, which was a HUGE increase). And so far this year, I’ve had an unprecedented number of 5-star books.
It’s really interesting, though, how blogging changes how you read, and how those changes are different from blogger to blogger! :)
Ugh I know exactly what you mean. I don’t think it’s blogging’s fault though. It could come down to:
* Reading slumps
* Books that are coming out aren’t as good
* You’re a more critical reader
Whatever it is, I’d definitely noticed it happening to me too. A big one for me was that I DNF a lot more books, but ultimately I think that’s a good thing. Looking at my own stats, I saw that last year I DNF’d more books, but I also gave fewer books 1 and 2 stars. So it’s good that I stop books I’m not enjoying before I even get a chance to rate them.
But that being said, I do feel like I’ve been in slumps lately. Sometimes I just don’t enjoy or DNF a book but I wonder if it was ME not being in the mood, versus the book actually not being very good, you know?
I have such a hard time assigning ratings to books, so lately I’ve been much stingier with my 5-star ratings. For me, 5 stars means that I loved it so much that it will always be a part of my personal library, and will thus be subject to multiple re-reads.
I’ve done the SAME thing! i mean, I’m not tracking it, but I know for a fact that this is happening to me. From what I know, I think it’s because my tastes get more narrow. I know a good book from one that I don’t like so much. Like 2012 me thought Divergent was the best thing alive. Now that I think about it, it wasn’t THAT great. It was good but eh.
I don’t think you’re enjoying books less. I think you’re being more critical of them which isn’t a bad thing. If a blog had 50% 5 star reviews, I wouldn’t trust it as much as if it had 15% 5 stars. That just makes the 5 star rating a lot more prestigious.
I have the same issue. For me, it’s because I am more critical. Instead of just rating on how I enjoyed it in the moment I stop and really think about it. Instead of looking only at what I liked, I am looking at what I didn’t like as well and asking myself if it is really deserving of 5 stars. I’ve had too many times where I read a book again and wondered what I was thinking the first time through, so it’s a good thing for me.
Hm, that’s interesting. I don’t think you’re enjoying books less necessarily. I think as you’ve been reading more and reviewing more, you’re finding exactly what works for you and what doesn’t. I think my rating trend is probably similar to yours, and I’ve noticed that there’s things in books that didn’t bother me so much in the beginning, but now I rate down for them. I guess we’re becoming more particular?
This is a really interesting post! I need to go back and look at my own ratings. I almost feel like mine have gotten better? Like I’m being LESS critical and just enjoying what I enjoy? But then I have DNFed more lately, too…
I think rating a book is one of the hardest things, especially if you’re a blogger, because by the time you read it, review it, and discuss it, you may change your mind quite a few times. :/
To be honest, I still give out a whole bunch of 5 star reviews on Goodreads because I’m more lenient on there but I’ve definitely noticed myself getting harder to impress over the years. I don’t know whether it’s because I know I’m writing reviews for them or just because I’ve read so many amazing books. :P
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The same thing has definitely happened to me, but I don’t think its that we are enjoying books less (at least not for me). I know in my case, a five star didn’t mean anything more than really good before I started blogging. Probably a good number of the books I gave 5 stars before blogging were actually 3.5 – 4.5 stars. I just wasn’t too particular with my ratings. Liked I was 5 stars, ok was 3 stars, didn’t like was 1 star. Notice no 2 or 4 star even in use and forget about half stars. And I never dnf books before blogging, I didn’t have enough books to quit on any! So I pushes through books I didn’t like because I felt I had too! So no. I think I enjoy books more now and way more books ! But the ratings from before and now just don’t have the same criteria governing them. Great post!
I agree with what just about everyone else has said. You’re exposed to more books now than before and you’ve become more critical. While I don’t have a blog, since finding the book blogging world, I know I have become much more critical. I’m sure if I could read some of the books I rated 5 or even 4 stars 3 years ago again for the first time, I’m pretty confident my ratings would drastically change. Take Twilight for instance. When it was released, I thought it was great and was sucked into the Forks world. 5 years later, I still enjoy the story (especially if I don’t try to overanalyze it) and will always appreciate what it has done for teenage readers, but I’m sure my rating would be considerably lower.
That’s a good way to look at it! I’d definitely like to that this is the reason behind it. Good example! I really enjoyed Twilight when I read it way back when, but now I’m pretty sure I would want to strangle Bella haha.
This was a really interesting post. I have actually thought about this topic recently as well. I feel like I do read with a more critical eye now, and so my 5 star ratings have decreased. With that being said, I do think that since I started blogging, my eyes have been opened to a ton of new books that I hadn’t even heard about prior to starting my blog!
This is such a good post, and not something that I’ve thought about before. I don’t give that many 5 star reviews myself, but I do think it is because of blogging but not in a bad way. I think it’s more to do with book bloggers being more certain about what we’re looking for in a book, and because we have so many more options it makes it more noticable. Its all just perspective I think! I really enjoy most of what I read and give 4 stars!
Confession: Out of the 120+ books I read in 2014, my highest rating was only 4.5 stars (but I did give it 5 on Goodreads). My 5-star reads came from years before that, AKA my years before blogging.
I think, in a way, blogging has affected my reading enjoyment. It’s probably because, since I started blogging, I’ve been more conscious about all the smallest things in books that could annoy me (like bad word choices, noticing girl-on-girl hate, etc), that never did before. And of course, my expectations of books have been raised due to lots of buzz in the blogging community.
I do rate lots of books 4 stars still, but no 5 stars since November 2013 (Champion by Marie Lu). In a way, I might be saying that there really isn’t a “perfect” book. They’ll all have these tiny flaws that’ll lower my rating a star or half.
That’s a great way to look at it, Aimee! I definitely notice things I wouldn’t have before. In fact, I’m re-reading an old favorite series that I was in love with when I read it back in high school. It stuck with me and is very nostalgic, so I can still be objective and overlook the flaws, but at the same time I’m noticing things I didn’t before. There’s a couple cases of instalove and a lot of complicated love triangles (and squares…and…lots of other love shapes?). I’m not sure it would have been a 5 star series if I’d read it for the first time at my current age!
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