Poll: Do You Review Your Reviews?

2015-Discussion-Challenge

I’ve been blogging and reviewing for slightly less than a year, so this has never been something I’ve given much thought to, but while tidying up my review archives recently I was struck by how many of the books, plots and characters have stayed with me, and how many of them…

Well, they just haven’t.

Who are you gif

I also set up new layouts for my review archives, and one of these orders the books according to the rating I gave them, but in a more visually appealing manner (see my lovely rated review archive here). It was when I saw the covers of the novels side-by-side that it became glaringly obvious to me that some of the books shouldn’t be in the same rating bracket as others…

This got me wondering if it’s time I reconsider and amend some of the ratings I’ve given books. Out of curiosity, I looked through some of my older reviews and questioned if I would rate the book the same now, almost one year later, as I did when I first read it. Mostly, the answer was “yes” – my opinion of it hadn’t changed significantly, but in some cases it was a resounding “no”.

The reason my opinion and rating has changed is due to a number of factors –

  • I’ve been exposed to many more books this year than I have in previous years, and when the bar is set particularly high, or raised, by a great book – then the rating of anything I read subsequently will be affected, as will the rating I gave to anything prior
  • Because of the above point – I’m becoming a more fussy discerning reader, who is less easily pleased and amazed by repetitive themes in books, Iย love being surprised by a book! So, as time has gone on I’ve probably started being a little less willing to dish out those stars for no good reason…
  • I’m reading more books from within the same genres – this means I’ll be comparing and contrasting books, figuring out what worked for me and what didn’t
  • As Jess from My Reading Dress recently pointed out, I’ve been bad at math – 2.5 stars is half of 5. Not 3. A lot of reviewers (myself included) seem to love the number 3

Now I’m left wondering if I should review my reviews and amend some of my ratings. In most cases the ratings will only move up or down (most likely down) by half a star, perhaps a full star max, but I’m not sure if this is something others do, or if I should just leave it well alone. I’ve come up with the following “definition”, if you will:

A rating is a snap-shot of what I thought of the book in that moment of time, but ratings can be fluid. Ratings and feelings towards a book can change over time, and I’d like my reviews to accurately represent my feelings to my readers, who may use them for recommendations.

So. What do I do? Amend my ratings, or leave them be?

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About Rachel

Avid reader & book blogger. Lover of Business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

49 Responses

  1. I think people shy away from rating things as a 2.5 star because it has a 2 in it… 2 is seen as a harsh rating, so it sometimes seems a bit mean to give a otherwise half decent book a lower rating. I felt bad about it too (still do sometimes!) until I remembered that yep, 2.5 is half of 5 and so it’s actually not a terrible thing to rate a book that really is only halfway there.
    As for changing ratings, I’ve done it in retrospect, but usually years after I’ve read the book… like when I’ve felt pressured to really like a book so rated it highly, or if I really enjoyed it at first then decided I had major issues with it. The only book I think I’d possibly change my review for on my blog is Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, because it’s stuck with me far more than I thought it would, even with the things I didn’t like. Not sure how to proceed with it either!
    I think my feeling is that my initial reaction to a book is probably correct except when I have really strong feelings for or against a book later. I feel some kind of affection towards Burial Rites, so I’ll probably read it again, whereas I feel really meh now about The Princess Bride, though I initially rated it 5 stars and as an all time favourite!

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  2. Hey! I sort-of know how you feel. I mean my blog isn’t that old so I haven’t bothered going through and “reviewing my reviews” yet but if I were to think about my opinions of books I may have read a year or two ago, those opinions have often changed in some way or the other. I like you’re “definition.” And to answer your million dollar question – I think it really just depends on whether you want to put that extra-effort in. I think its great if you’re willing to do so but at the same time, if you don’t have the time to do so, you could just leave it as is. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Whenever I read old reviews I wonder why I’ve rated them a certain way. Ideally, I wouldn’t rate them until a few weeks after reading because I think that gives you a better perspective on it, but I don’t think I’d go back and change ratings unless I reread them and completely change my mind.

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  4. I feel like if it will bother you that they’re different, then you should change them. I’ve been contemplating going back and changing mine so they’re more accurate with what I think now, but honestly it’s just too much work that I don’t have time for right now haha. On the other hand, it sort of lets the reader know what you felt about the book at the time that you read it. Our opinions are always changing, and I don’t think anyone will hold you to a rating that you gave a book years ago.
    This probably hasn’t been much help, sorry! I guess it’s really up to what you feel more comfortable with and are willing to do, and I think that whatever you decide we’ll be more than happy to support as readers of your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. I have actually went back and updated my review ratings. Obviously, if I am still thinking about it, even using it as comparison to books I am currently reading, the book got under my skin. Those books probably need more attention. I don’t usually go back and rate down.

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  6. I’d leave them be. Is there an advantage or usefullness to adjusting the rating? Especially if it’s by a half star? Would that effort be effective to anyone? I guess if you answer yes to these questions, than maybe. Do readers go to your old posts and read those reviews on a regular enough basis to justify the work you would do? As for me, it’s the words of a book review that matter, not the stars. If a reviewer talks about things in a review that give me insight into whether I would like the book, whether they liked it is irrelevant.

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      1. Makes sense. I’m rather structured about how I do things myself and sometimes it is important for the order of my mind to just do things that may seem strange to others, but increase the serenity of my brain. In my chaotic life, sonetimes a little bit of order can go a long way to calming my stress.

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  7. Brandie

    Here’s my thought – you’re rating a book based on how you feel at that moment in time, and I think that’s an accurate portrayal of your feelings. And if it’s only going to go up or down a half a star, I don’t think it’s worth it. I agree with you saying, “Iโ€™m becoming a more fussy discerning reader, who is less easily pleased and amazed by repetitive themes in books, I love being surprised by a book!”, because I’m finding the same thing happening with myself lately. Previous books I read and loved, I don’t think I would have the same feelings for if I re-read them today. And that is the main reason I am not a re-reader. I don’t want to ruin those amazing feelings I remember having because my taste in books has changed since then. And the problem is that our tastes do tend to change a lot over time. Where I was REALLY into NA novels 2 years ago, I’m being a lot more picky about them now. I’m more interested in books that are going to knock my socks off.

    I don’t know if any of that made sense. LOL.

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      1. Brandie

        I’m scared to read 50 again, too. And with the movie so close, I don’t think I’m going to have time now.

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  8. Arya D.

    I do this to my Goodreads reviews after awhile. Like you i’ve been blogging for less than a year so I hadn’t thought about my reviews on my blog yet but I will probable update them sometime in the future as well.

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      1. Arya D.

        The fact that reading scales are so different does make it a harder process for me too! I don’t currently have a review page that is listed by ranking but by book title so I don’t have that problem right now! I’m glad i’m not the only one who feels the same way about ratings. I’ve changed since I read the books meaning I could feel different and I think its important to share that with the people who read my reviews.

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  9. This is something I occasionally think on because our tastes change as we explore books more and sometimes just with age and discovering more books. I don’t know if I would ever be willing to amend my ratings, but sometimes I find a book, I didn’t adore at first, then it grows on me as I think back on it and I think I was too harsh. Other times a book, that filled me with the warm and fuzzies, gets an over inflated rating because it made me happy, but the story itself may not have been great.

    It’s such an interesting thing to think about but then it’s a decision only you can make. I don’t think I could ever review my reviews because I want my initial rating to stick, I can reread a book and change it, but not just change it a year after the fact because my memories have faded of the story, although that should probably say something about the book.

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  10. Ratings are getting tougher and tougher for me. I feel that there are some books that deserve the same ratings but for entirely different reasons. For example, I read STATION ELEVEN and have given it a four-star rating. I also just finished reading a book that’s more for guilty pleasure read that I rated four stars. While Station Eleven is more like a literary work with almost perfect technical and lyrical writing, Worth the Risk was something that I’ve enjoyed immensely to pass the time. Does that make sense? In any case, the only thing I can do in the future if I want this to change is to forgo rating altogether. But where’s the fun in that?

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  11. I know one blogger who does this every now and again (I just can’t remember who) and she does a post about it. So she includes maybe 6 or so that she is rerating and explains why. It makes an interesting post.
    And I have a few that I consider changing. In particular FanGirl which I gave 3.5 stars to and I start to wonder was that too harsh as I loved the characters and they have just stayed so memorable. But then I read my review and remember the issues I had also and I let the rating stay. So I often think about it and just never do it. I nearly think I’d have to reread the book to do it fairly and I doubt I’ll take the time to do that, especially for books that are less than 4 stars.

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      1. I know, it’s hard when you start reviewing and I think we all make that mistake. But then we just get more confident in our ratings and don’t over think them. I know I did exactly the same at the start but nowadays I don’t think twice about low ratings.

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  12. I may amend the rating if ii reread a book, but otherwise the first rating was what I felt at the time i finished it. It’s like a time capsule then

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  13. I was really self-conscious when I first started review books, but I feel like I’ve become a more discerning reader too, AND a more confident reviewer, so my ratings of books have definitely changed. I recently went through and made changes to the star ratings on my blog. Pretty much anything that I rated five stars dropped to four stars and three stars. The only ratings that stayed the same were three stars or less.

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  14. Cait

    I totally just asked myself this. Seriously! I even wrote a half post about it but abandoned it. You said it sooo well. xD A lot of the time my standards have also risen and I look back at books I gave 4-stars and think, “No no no.” It feels weird to change them without rereading them, but sometimes I WILL. Because hey! They’re my reviews and I can if I want, right?!

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  15. Personally I don’t think it’s fair to change the ratings now since at the time you read them you enjoyed them to that level. If you reread them and wanted to change the rating and write a new review I think that would be fair. But back then that is how you felt so changing it now and judging it against New books fluffed read doesn’t seem fair to me. But ultimately it’s totally up to you.

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  16. I have this in my list of discussion ideas as well because I really do think that I want to go back and revisit some of my older reviews and adjust them slightly – especially my five star reviews. I feel like, if a five star book hasn’t held up to the test of time, then it really wasn’t a five star book. I wouldn’t adjust anything by more than a half star, but I’m definitely thinking of doing it at some point.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  17. Last year during my first year of blogging, I didn’t add any stars on GoodReads until the year was over. I felt for the first time, I was taking all the books I had read into consideration when I finally selected the rating. When I cross post during the year, I really take the pop up text next to the stars to heart before selecting an option. And on my blog it’s either a thumbs or thumbs down which works for me.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

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