Goodreads Quandry or On Criticism

The way goodreads labels their five star system is

* i didn’t like it
** it was okay
*** liked it
**** really liked it
***** it was amazing

It’s simple and intuitive, but it leaves much to be desired. There are great books that I don’t necessarily like, but I still find worth reading for some reason or another. For example, I don’t know that I “really liked” Lolita. But it is marked four stars on my goodreads account. I think Nabov set out to show us a warped mind, a thoroughly unlikeable narrator, a child we want to care for and can’t always bring ourselves to. He portrayed coercion and tyranny in dark, messy, and very human ways. It was a novel the world didn’t know we needed, and for that, I think the book has a rightful place among the classics.

Sometimes books are written or movies are made with a purpose in mind other than leaving the audience with a warm and fuzzy feeling. And then they need to be evaluated by whether that purpose is worth pursuing, and how well they fulfilled their purpose. Criticism larger than just plain gut reaction. In that way, a movie with an ending you aren’t happy with can still be something that you believe is an amazing film.

I am not sure how we fix the stars of goodreads, just know that likability is not my only concern as I rate.

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