An author, who saw one of his books listed in my Goodreads read shelf, asked me if I would mind sharing my “reasons for not staring [his] book”. I didn’t mind, so I told him that I left the book starless because:
1. There were a lot of parts I didn’t understand
2. My personal biases left no room for an objective judgment
3. The writing itself was all right, but not for my taste

The author in question thanked me, and I thought it would be the end of it. Then, a few days later, he followed up with this email: “Would you consider reviewing my book and telling others what you told me?”

I spend a few more days thinking about my reply. In fact, I’m responding to the author with a link to this post. Here are some of the reasons why I might choose not to review (or rate) a book (some of it applies to the novel by the author in question):
1. At the time, my attention was claimed by a different tale
2. The book didn’t touch me in a way that inspired me to share it with others
3. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about the book… not yet

One last thing, more than once an author has asked me why I didn’t give his or her book a “five star rating.” There was a time when I just didn’t rate any of the books I read. I left them all starless, in order to avoid this question. But you know what? I like rating books. It’s fun. However, I’m not crazy about the limited options offered by sites like Goodreads, Amazon, Shelfari, my public library… I know they do what they can—it would be impossible to cover everything. So I’ll use what they offer, but add a bit of Magalyness to it. Below, I’ve listed the meanings of my stars:

5 stars – Books that inhabit my to-be-read again mountain
4 stars – Tales I enjoyed quite a bit
3 stars – I liked several parts of these stories
Starless – Read this post for details…
2 or 1 – I don’t use these ratings

the bulging expression in Mr. Ginger’s eyes was just too salient not to share


  1. I understand your process. I am behind In Answering Amazon on books I have bought, main reason...haven't read them yet! I'm not Magaly!
    My 5 stars.... it's a keeper...because good, original, I learn something I want to learn, my life experiences in the book ..have happy endings and usually written by women! are scarce.
    My goodness , your home is so shiny and dust, clutter free!

    1. That's a good system. To give them five stars because you learn something from them. I find myself learning something--a way or another--from almost everything I read. It's what makes the experience so glorious.

      I shall tell the faeries that they are doing a very good job with the dusting. ☺

  2. Does EVERY book require rating? I am assuming it is a Fiction novel, and I don't often read that kind of book.....*with obvious exceptions...which are always 5 stars +* *cough*. I buy books that are practical/text books, and it has never occured to me to rate them. Am I doing the authors a mis-service? Or did this author want you to rate his book because you is famous? :D XXX

    1. Rating books honestly, if you can, is beneficial for the author (and for other readers, too). I try to do it, but many times I just can't make up my mind.

      "famous" Hahaha!

  3. I think you explained everything perfectly ;o)

  4. 5 stars, why not 10, 5 too steep a curve, actually if reading & not a 7 I find it hard to finish, and BTW Mr Ginger looks like a harsh critic ;)

    1. 13, yes, 13 stars would be just so cool.

      Doesn't Mr. Ginger look like his eyes are about to pop out? We both know he doesn't look that shock in "real" life.

  5. "Seeing stars" is not ALWAYS a good indicator!

    1. Nope, it is not. Especially when they are caused by a unidentified blunt object, lol!