Thoughts: On Revising Ratings

I am currently tinkering with my Best of the Year List and this got me thinking. There are at least two books that I gave 4 stars (Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo and Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin) to but that I am still thinking about, while there are two 5 star books that have not really stuck with me. I am going to talk about why am considering changing my 4 star ratings to five stars and then I will try to talk about my thoughts on changing ratings a bit more in-depth.

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo

31349579The longer I stew over this book and the more reviews I read, the more I adore this book. I have already bought it to look pretty on my shelves and I am very tempted to read it again, which is always a sign of how much I love a book.

Ayobami Adebayo has created wonderfully flawed characters that have stuck with me. I find myself wondering what might have happened to them after the events of the book.

I am so very much looking forward to whatever she will write next.

Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin

33509072This is a different case. I adored this book, and it is one of my favourite reads of the year. However, I remember exactly why I gave it four instead of five stars: the ending did not work for me.

But, the first 90 % of this book were just utter perfection and I remember being completely swept up in this story of grief and family and somehow moving on.



I often find that my initial thoughts on a book change over time, either because I cannot stop thinking about it and it keeps on growing on me or because after a while I cannot quite recollect why I enjoyed it so much in the first place. Sometimes I go back and change my rating, sometimes I don’t. In this case, I will probably go back before the end of the year to change my rating of Stay With Me to five stars because that book just shines so much in my memory.

Star ratings are highly subjective anyways; they depend on my mood and on the books I read immediately before or after; I have genre preferences; sometimes I talk myself into changing a rating while writing my review.

There are downsides to changing a rating: what if my memory just sucks and I was right the first time I rated the book? Also, shouldn’t past me’s thoughts be allowed to just stand without being changed? Another thing I keep thinking about, what about the people who agreed with my first rating? What if my new rating does not reflect their thoughts anymore? But then again, I do mostly write my reviews for myself…

My thoughts are complicated, as is often the case. What are your thoughts? Do you ever go back and change a rating? Do you even go back and change reviews? Let me know if I am the only one who often feels conflicted.

6 thoughts on “Thoughts: On Revising Ratings

  1. I completely agree with this post!!!! Especially your point about people on Goodreads liking your review for its initial rating – I feel like that shouldn’t be a main concern, but it is, for some reason… THAT SAID I definitely go back and change ratings on occasion. Sometimes my opinion of books strengthens or weakens with time and the initial rating just doesn’t sit right with me. These are only for books I’ve read in the last couple of years, though, where the opinions are still kind of fresh. There are a bunch of books I read when I was in high school that I loved or hated and I just have a nagging feeling I wouldn’t agree with my past self. For those, I keep my initial rating, but I have a GR shelf called ‘would probably rate differently now’ where I keep them until I get a chance to revisit them.

    (Also, I’ve really been wanting to read Stay With Me ahhh I need to get around to it soon)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am always glad to find I am not alone! I usually only change my rating to one star higher or lower, so the people who liked the review would probably still mostly agree with me, I guess. But I do wonder…
      That shelf is such a good idea! I was a very different reader a few years ago and would probably think differently about lots of books…
      Also: please do get to Stay With Me soon, I would love to hear your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With this and reading like twenty seven books at once I think we’re quite similar in our bookish habits! But yes, it’s so tricky finding that balance between using reviews to reflect who you were at the period in time that you read the book, and who you are now?

        I really need to!!!! ALSO I just posted my review of Everything Here is Beautiful and we’ve gotta talk about that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I find this very hard as well. My reading habits and tastes have changed over the years and I have no way of knowing if the ratings that I gave five years ago would still be the same now. The only way for me to know is to reread every book that I read all those years ago. But I don’t have time and patience for that, and there are too many other books out there. Still, I have an excel file with the rankings of books that I read, but I will never know if that file is a good representation of what I actually think now of all these books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, a ranked excel file. I like that idea! I mean, I am not organized enough for this but in theory that sound super appealing. I am still fairly certain of my all time favourite books (because usually I have read those more than once).


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