Since I started using Goodreads about a year ago, I have put 15 books on my 1-star shelf. And for every single one of those books, seeing that 1-star rating makes me feel so guilty.
There are a few reasons for this. One is that, to me, rating a book 1-star feels like saying “this is trash,” or “this book is worthless,” or “this book shouldn’t have even been written.”
Maybe I’m overly sensitive or too nice, but that just seems so harsh!! Even when I haaate a book with everything in me (kind of how like how I feel about squash, zuchinni, and avocados) for some reason it feels wrong to give it that 1-star rating.
Part of this is because I’m a writer. I have only finished two novellas so far, and it is hard. I haven’t even made it to revising yet, and writing is hard. Getting that first draft down takes everything in me. I’m about 8k in to two different projects right now, and every single word is a battle against my brain. And I can’t imagine revising and editing being any easier.
So knowing what I know about writing, knowing just a tiny bit how much sheer willpower, work, and patience it takes makes me feel not quite right about rating a book 1-star. (Also, every time I rate a book 1 star I worry the author will see my review and be heartbroken, and guys, I can’t take that kind of responsibility :'(. )1.5 stars I can do, because then I feel like I’m at least acknowledging a book’s worth, even if I hate it and want to make that clear.
Also, I think every book has some worth. Every book is going to mean something for someone. Every book has some message to share, (even if that message is what not to do.)
Knowing how much effort and care each author puts into their book, as well as believing that every book has value, is what makes me not like rating books 1 star.
I haven’t decided if I will completely stop rating books 1 star or what. Having 1 star ratings does make it easier for the other, higher ratings to mean something; rating one book 1 star and another 4 stars makes the 4 star rating mean the book is really good, instead of “oh, yeah, this book was pretty great!” I don’t know. It would be nice if Goodreads would give us an option to give half stars, but that’s never going to happen. *sniffs*
Okay, so is it just me who feels guilty about rating books 1 star, or do any of you feel the same? What star-rating do you give most often? What’s a book you really hated, but thought maybe it contained something positive?