Hello everyone! I’ve done a few discussion posts before and I loved writing them up, so I’ve decided that I will be posting a new discussion post every Sunday. I chose Sunday because this is when I coincidentally posted all my previous discussions, and because I feel like it’ll make for a great start to the week. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this new weekly feature!
Recently, I was looking through my goodreads shelf for my favorite books (located here if you’d like to see it) and I noticed that not all of the books on my shelf have 5 stars. None of them are 3 stars or below, but there are a handful of 4 stars on there. That, combined with some tweets on my twitter feed, got me thinking: what makes a book your favorite? Does it have to be that “perfect” 5 star story?
For the purpose of this discussion, I broke down my favorites shelf into 4 stars and 5 stars. Here’s what I found:
Of the books on my favorites shelf, 28 are 5 stars, and 5 or 4-4.5 stars. However, I have 63 books overall rated 5 stars, and 139 rated 4 stars. So many books got high ratings from me, but only a handful earned a spot on the coveted favorites shelf. This makes me wonder how I really rate books, and what differentiates between a 5 star book, and a 5 star favorite book.
To me, a favorite book is one that I can lose myself in and one that I can’t stop thinking about even after the last page. A book usually earns a spot on my favorites shelf one of two ways:
1) I finish the book and immediately know that I’m in love with it. There’s no denying it. The book was perfect. This is how most books end up on my shelf.
2) A book is really good, but for some reason, I don’t put it on my favorites shelf. Then, for days after reading it, I can’t stop thinking about the story or recommending it to dozens of people, or I want to reread sections over and over again. I cave a few days later and place it on my favorites shelf. You’d be surprised how often this happens; this is how it went for The Wrath and the Dawn, The Winner’s Curse and Crimson Bound, and a majority of the 4 star books on there. I mean, The Wrath and the Dawn even earned a spot on my top 10 post of 2015, and it wasn’t even on my favorites shelf at first!
A book can be 5 stars and have the complete package: stunning plot, fun characters, gorgeous writing. There’s lots of books that fit that bill: Wolf by Wolf, The Darkest Minds, and The Truth About Alice, to name a few. The one thing these books all have in common? They aren’t very memorable to me. Of course, they had everything that makes a 5 star book to me, but now that I’m thinking about them, there isn’t something that I’m completely in love with about them. They’re good, but they don’t have that something *extra* so give them that push onto the favorites shelf. For example, Throne of Glass has an amazing character, Celaena Sardothien, and every time I think of that series I remember one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. But when I think about, say, The Darkest Minds, I remember liking it when I read it, but I can’t think of anything that really stood out to me.
That’s how I can have a favorite book with 4 stars. I’m willing to overlook some flaws if there’s things I love about the story, like with Crimson Bound. I didn’t like the main romance between Armand and Rachelle, but holy hell, I loved Erec! I acknowledge that it’s a 4 star book, but it’s still so good!
Many people might say that these are their “guilty pleasure” books, but I think we should stop using that term and be proud of what we like! Own it, people, because you shouldn’t be ashamed of what you read. I’ll admit it: I love the Twilight series, and the movies. If I can admit this, in a public place (and things never disappear on the internet) then you can proudly show off those “guilty pleasure” books.
I guess it all boils down to how you rate a book. Are you willing to overlook some flaws in your favorite book, or do you only pick your favorites from 5 star books? If that’s so, how do you decide what 5 star books are your favorite, or all 5 star books your favorite books? For me, a favorite book is a book I could spend forever reading and I’d never get tired of it. It might have flaws, but they pale in comparison to the stunning story at hand.