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My Quirky Book Rating System

The elusive sixth star and titles deserving of my award

Brig Berthold
8 min readMar 19, 2022


I have a compulsion for reading. Books contain experiences and I love to rate my book experiences.

Ratings serve many purposes. My favorite function is having a sorting system for recommendations. I love it when someone asks me which book they should read next. If they read the book I suggest then we have more opportunities to connect! I also love receiving recommendations from my friends.

I also rate my books as a way to illustrate my tastes, preferences, and appreciations during a particular period of time. I can scroll through my list of books I’ve read and see the rash of Vince Flynn novels or business books. In that way, it’s a sort of visual journal of my life.

Rating System (1–5)

My rating system is pretty simple, with one really important shift away from the norm. Here’s how I roll:

  • 0 Stars “Well..?”
    This sometimes happens to me. Like, how does one rate the Bible or the Tao Te Ching? Or something that is truly important but not necessarily enjoyable? These get zero stars from me. I just haven’t decided how I feel, yet.
  • 1 Star “Ugh, NO!”
    One-star reads are books I didn’t understand. I couldn’t appreciate it in any way. I literally hated the experience, if I even finished it.
  • 2 Stars “Meh. That wasn’t for me.”
    If I give a book two stars, I can probably appreciate why other people like it even though I didn’t. It wasn’t for me, literally. It was written with someone entirely different in mind, and that’s okay. I sometimes wish I had that time back but it does give me a bit of insight into people who dug that book; that’s worthwhile.
  • 3 Stars “Yeah that was decent.”
    Three-star books are enjoyable. They might have a small plot hole or underdeveloped characters. They could have pacing issues or I wasn’t engaged the whole time. But otherwise, and in spite of certain issues, I may give a book like this three stars. Most of the books I read hit this level.
  • 4 Stars “Okay, that was really good.”
    I was engaged the whole time. All genre conventions were accounted for. The characters were compelling. Even if I, as a reader, wasn’t the intended…



Brig Berthold

I am a father, widower, and veteran. Co-host of the Baseball Together podcast and author of Sidekick: A Pregnancy Field Guide for Dudes.