Category Archives: Wandering Thoughts

Thoughts that just pop into my head.

The true meaning of a three star rating

three stars A while ago I had a conversation with an author whose book I read and reviewed and rated three stars. The author wanted to know, why only three? Was there something I didn’t like about the book? So began a back and forth of emails in which I tried to explain my rating. I found the question a bit weird but a part of me understood why the author wanted to know.                  Wouldn’t you, as an author? Wouldn’t I, if I ever publish that fantasy novel I’ve been working on?
The online conversation was very nice and polite – I felt that the author was genuinely trying to discover why I had not given the book a higher rating. As I explained in my emails, there was nothing wrong with the book, but rather with my perception of it. In fact my review was rather on the positive side with the negative being entirely subjective. Still, I thought three stars was a good review for the book and a good review generally speaking and I stand by my decision.

I’ve been a member on Goodreads for nearly six years. In that time I read and rated a number of books based on the system available on the site. If you’re not familiar with it, here it is:

*did not like it
** it was ok
***liked it
****really liked it
*****it was amazing

So, three stars was not “I’m not sure if I like this book and I’m still making up my mind” but “liked it”. That’s it, I liked it. Isn’t that good? Is it bad? Does it mean I didn’t quite make up my mind? No. It means I liked it. Sure, there were parts I liked less, but the overall impression was good. Would I read another book by the same author? It’s entirely possible. After all, as you can see below, Stephen King’s books fall into both categories and I’m a huge fan. So I went back to my reading list on Goodreads and searched for books I rated three stars. Here are some of them:

three star books

2010 A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway
2011 Weaveworld – Clive Barker
2012 Anatomy of a Disappearance – Hisham Matar
2013 Joyland – Stephen King
2014 Love Minus Eighty – Will McIntosh
2015 And The Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini


and five star books

2010 After Dark – Haruki Murakami
2011 Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury
2012 The Yellow Wallpaper and Selected Writings – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
2013 Dracula – Bram Stoker
2014 The Shining – Stephen King
2015 The Farseer Trilogy – Robin Hobb

Here are my questions for you, book lovers and reviewers: what does a 3 stars review mean to you? Is it good, is it bad, is it in between? Would this rating make you click away, in search of a higher rated book? Would you read another book by an author whose book you rated 3 stars? Do you rate the book thinking about that emotional connection or do you try and look at it with a rational mind? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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A String of Words

A big room, chairs and tables arranged in rows. A man speaking, giving a lecture, the others listening or at least pretending to. This goes on for four days, eight hours a day. My back aches on the hard wooden chair, my hands are restless. After a while, when I’ve had my fill of words, my mind craves a release. I open at a blank page at the back of my notebook and without any pause, I start scribbling. This is what tumbled onto the page.

Any thoughts/interpretations/opinions? I’d love to hear them.

Day 1

The words float soundlessly,
Big chunks of rock
Hurtled violently at other people’s heads,
They disappear into thin air
Before they reach minds.

Day 2

The house of words
Came crashing down,
The a’s and b’s and c’s
Spilling out and mixing up
With commas, full stops and other bits,
A writing debris littering the ground
There for everyone to pick
And use as they see fit.
Creating harmony from chaos
Has been a writer’s dream,
Building great works to stand the time
Or be carried away by wind.

Day 3

Day 4

Words give shape to ideas,
Ideas build the stories
And the stories become a path
To be walked on
Whenever we feel like it.
In the kingdom of books
We are all kings and queens.

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I do not know this strange beast
That lies inside me.
It has a cold and frightening touch,
Not marble and not feather,
But more like the moonlight rays
Shining briefly in dark spaces.

A few verses I wrote last year and rediscovered recently while going through my papers.

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You slowly rise

And color the world with hope and new beginning,

Your face, it shines,

Your light chasing the dark,

Branding the day with joy and singing.

Sometimes you hesitate,

Shapeless form gathering strength

And sometimes you shine so clear and vivid, bringing forth

Your color and your warmth.

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