Giving a book a rating will always be partly subjective. But what if you have to pick a top book? What if you have to be as objective as you can?
How to rate as objectively as possible?
I made myself a little guideline to do this. I pick ten criteria that are important to have in a book. It is still a bit subjective since those are ten criteria that are important to me, but someone else might not think so. When I think a criterium is met, the book gets a point, if not it doesn’t. Then I count the points and divide them by two to get a rating that can be converted into five stars.
Why did I create these guidelines?
Well, two years ago, I got selected for the reader’s jury of the Bookspot literary prize. I was one of the few newbies in this jury, so I asked the more experienced jurors, how they rate their books. They all told me to do this. In the meantime, I have also been in the reader’s jury of the ‘Bronzen Uil’. And my favourite book won the entire competition.
So, what are my criteria?
- Does the title become clear throughout the book?
- Does the ending give you a satisfied feeling? If it feels too abrupt it gets a 0.
- Does it read fluently?
- Does the author have a nice writing style?
- Is the spelling flawless? Do I like the narration? (if it is an audiobook)
- Is the story engaging?
- Does new vocabulary become clear by the context?
- Do the characters evolve throughout the story?
- Can I imagine the setting just from reading it? (very important in new fantasy worlds)
Do I like the overall story?
So, Yes, I admit those are still pretty subjective, but it assures that I rate every book the same way. This allows me to pick a favourite without it being solely on feeling.