Nine times out of ten when I finish a book the first thing I do is head over to Goodreads so I can mark it as ‘read’ and add my rating. I don’t give myself a lot of time to think about it, I normally go with whatever my instinct is telling me to rate it. I’m not sure if that what’s most people do, but over the nearly three years I’ve been blogging I’ve noticed sometimes my opinion has changed.
There have been books where, the more I think about them after I’ve finished, the more I’ve realised they weren’t as good as I remember them being. Once the high of finishing a book has gone I started remembering some of the little things I didn’t really enjoy that much, the plot holes which, while reading I may have been able to brush past, but looking back I’ve realised bugged me more than I thought.
Does Your Opinion on Books Change Over Time, and Does This Affect Your Reviews?
There have been books which I’ve enjoyed less re-reading them, and this isn’t because I’ve remembered plot holes which bugged me more than I realise but simply because my reading tastes have changed over the years. I’m not going to go into that here because it would make my post way too long, and in my mind they’re two very different topics as well.
Looking back I know some of my ratings were too generous, the majority of the books I’ve rated on Goodreads have been four or five stars but I think I was too swept away by the hype surrounding the author or the book itself for some of them. Strange the Dreamer for example is one of my all-time favourite books by one of my all-time favourite authors, it was so incredibly hyped up in the run up to its release that the second I had it in my hands I’d started reading it.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I rated it five stars, and looking back I do stick to that rating but it took me ages to get into the story, both because of how the beginning was filled with backstory for the main character and because the writing was so rich it was hard to feel immersed in the story. Looking back now I wonder if my rating should be four stars instead of five. Ratings are personal to each person and I don’t think the fact that I would have rated Strange the Dreamer lower mean it isn’t an amazing book, just that it took me a while to really get into this book.
Then there are the books I realised were worse than I originally thought. I’ve never rated a book one star because I’ve always said I’ll reserve those for books I DNF, but should I even rate books I DNF given I didn’t make it to the end? When I finished reading All the Wind in the World my instinct was to rate it three stars, and that’s still my rating today, but looking back I feel like I should have rated it two stars.
While I enjoyed the world I couldn’t stand the main character, and because All the Wind in the World was told in first person POV that affected my view on the story as well. At the time I didn’t feel that way but now, with time and distance from my emotions have just finished the book, that’s how I feel. However as I’ve already posted my review and my rating can I really change it this late after reading it?
It’s rare but it does happen the other way around as well. When I finished reading Daughter of the Siren Queen I rated it four stars, but a few days later while I was writing my review I struggled to remember what it was about the book I didn’t enjoy – the plot was well written and full of action, the setting expanded on what we knew from the first book, and the characters grew and were well developed – so I bumped my rating up to five stars.
I changed my rating for Daughter of the Siren Queen but that’s the only book I can think of that I have. All the other books where my feelings ended up being a little more negative I left the original rating on Goodreads. Part of me thinks my ratings are more accurate when I go by instinct rather than letting doubts cloud my mind and my opinion, it’s kind of like when you have an interview and at first you think everything went all right but the more you think back on it the more you realise all the things it would have been better to say. For me rating books is like an interview.
Now Onto the Discussion Part of This Post:
When you’ve finished reading a book do you rate it straight away or leave it a few days?
Do you believe your ratings are more truthful when you’ve just finished reading a book or when some time has passed and you’ve had a chance to think more about it?
Do you change your ratings if, looking back, your opinions have changed?
Are your ratings more negative or more positive when you look back on books you’d have rated differently now some time has passed?
Let me know in the comments below.