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I’m adding 1 star to the conventional 5-star rating system. I give a lot of 3-star ratings on Goodreads and I almost always feel bad about it since those 3-star books are usually quality material that are worth reading. 3-stars suggests “average” to me, but it’s something I have to use if I think a book is good, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to most people. It’s the 4/6 score that I was missing, I guess.

So here’s what my ratings mean:

1/6 stars: I was offended by how bad this book was and I can’t believe this idiot got to have his/her work published. (e.g. The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu)

2/6 stars: Starts with a good idea/premise, but ultimately fails at its own goals due to bad writing and/or bad research. (e.g. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin)

3/6 stars: OK book that is functional for informational purposes (or on the rare occasion that I read something fictional, it’s mildly entertaining) but is lacking in flair and is a bit of a chore to get through (e.g. Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas).

4/6 stars: Good book that I found worthwhile to read, but wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to everybody. (e.g. Bossypants by Tina Fey)

5/6 stars: Great book that I would recommend to most people. (e.g. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks)

6/6 stars: Paradigm-shifting book that makes me reconsider my outlook on a particular subject. An important book that I’m better for reading, which should be shared and humanity should be encouraged to read. (e.g. Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer)

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