Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
Today I wanted to tackle something more current. Normally I talk about generic topics I think about, but now I want to talk about the books I read this year and my recent lack of 5 star reads, which I wanted to tie in with the question of what makes for a 5 star book.
What makes for a 5 star book?
I set very high standards for 5 star reads. A 5 star book has to be somehow outstanding and better than most of the books I read. If I really enjoy a book it will get a 4 star rating, only the book I really love get a 5 star rating. I think for me a 5 star read has to be addictive and memorable. When I have trouble putting a book down and keep thinking I’ll read one more chapter and then another one, I usually know I have a really good book. I am very disciplined and usually when it’s time to put down my book I put down my book, so when a book is so good I read longer than planned I know it’s a good one.
A 5 star book is usually a book that does well on all the points I mention in my reviews: story, characters, romance and world building/ setting. So a 5 star book also needs to have a good story that I enjoy reading, has characters that I like, a romance I enjoy and feel and the world building or setting has to be so good I can imagine being there. Even better if the book isn’t only good at those aspect, but excels on some of them. If I really enjoy a book at one of those points it already has a higher chance to become a 5 star rating, but it has to do good or at least reasonable on most points to get a 5 star rating.
Then again I also feel that 5 star book doesn’t have to be perfect. With perfect in this case I mean perfect for me, I mean a book where you have no complains or things you liked slightly less. Most of my 5 star books are books where I still mention one or two small things I liked less and that’s okay. As I said I am very picky so even with my 5 star reads I can usually find some tiny things I liked less or thought could’ve been done better, but fewer than in other books. Whether a book gets a 5 star rating is usually more of a feeling than exact science, it just feels like a really good book and I feel it deserves that 5 star rating. If I doubt I usually give the book a 4 star. Luckily I have a lot of 4 star books in general, but only a few 5 stars.
My recent lack of 5 star reads
Normally I read about 10-15 5 star books each year, which I know because I usually do a wrap up post at the end of the year where I list all my 5 star reads of this year. I can usually expect about one 5 star read each month and recently I was pondering the books I read this year and was thinking of how many good ones I read, but I also realized I had only one 5 star read so far. Only one 5 star book in 4 months. That’s way less than normal. For those wondering the book in questions which got a 5 star rating from me this year is City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong.
I don’t really think it’s reason for concern, but it does surprise me as in the past few years my amount of 5 star books has been very consistent. So I was wondering why I only read one 5 star book this year, have I gotten more critically? That’s possible. I am always very picky with my 5 star reads, so maybe I have gotten even more picky. Have I read less good books in general? I don’t think it’s the last one as I can remember reading a lot of good books this year, just not 5 star good. I also know that I’ve only had two DNF’s and one 2 star book this year, so I also had very little books I didn’t enjoy and that amount usually was higher in previous years. So it seems I am reading less really good books, but also less really bad books.
I also feel like I am giving out more 3 stars and generally my 3 stars have gotten more positive, so it seems like I give out more 3 stars and overall enjoy my 3 star reads more then I used to. So I feel like maybe this is a general change in how I rate books maybe? Or maybe it’s just a coincidence and I am reading too much into it, but I still found it curious how my ratings pattern has changed this year. And I kinda miss that feeling of books that really impress me and that I love so much I have trouble writing my reviews and where I want the whole world to convince to read this book. I plan on re-reading a 5 star read from the previous years soon and see how that goes. And hey maybe the best books are still to come. Have you ever noticed such a change in reading pattern and where would you attribute it to?