I rarely change my review with re-reads, mostly because the rating has as much to do with the reader as it does with the book. It symbolizes my opinion at a point in time, my feelings in that moment. I am not the same person I was five years ago, ten years ago etc. Each book, each experience changes me..”
This was my response for a post Erin did for “Top Ten Titled, Top Ten Books I Feel DIfferently About After Time Has Passed” Erin mentioned her ratings changed after re-reading a book, and it reminded me Why I Never Change my Original Rating of a Book. Let me explain…
Why I Never Change My Original Rating Of A Book
I used to re-read favorite books all the time. I would run my fingers over my bookshelf and pull out a book that gripped me emotionally, made me laugh aloud or introduced me to a genre I have come to love. Since I read over two hundred books a year, I don’t do this very often and to be honest the older I get the less I dabble in this. Too many books, not enough time and all.
There is a book that was an absolute favorite when I was in my early twenties. The writing was spectacular, the message moving and I could quote whole passages. In my forties I re-read the book and I found I had questions. Why didn’t these concern me before? Ugh, the main character is so immature and so on…than it was a five stars now it might not even gain a three. The book hasn’t changed I have. I carry a part of me into each book I read and it impacts my opinion.
We all know that sometimes when we DNF a book it isn’t so much the book as it is our mood. Heck I DNFed Codename Verify because it was too dark for me. Folks loved it and I am quite confident if I picked it up again I would probably enjoy it. The same holds true for books previously loved/hated. I loved the Twilight books but a re-read changed my opinion and I realized that part of what enhanced those books for me was reading them with my teenage daughters. It was the chats, shared experience, and anticipation of the next book that equally affected my opinion.
Sometimes when I do a re-read particularly of a classic, my rating might be higher because things click or a message resonates with me today. I don’t change my rating though, because that was how I felt and sometimes on a second re-read the familiarity influences. Does that make sense? My book ratings are a snapshot of me.
Changing ratings would open a Pandora’s box. I would feel the need to reëxamine all the books I have read. *Eyes TBR pile whips head around and looks at books read* Yeah..nope. Not gonna happen.
These days I prefer to re-read passages from beloved books. I have learned that like childhood memories of a place and time you cannot go back. That I am as much a part of the book as the words written within. The more I read the higher the bar, what emotionally affected me five years ago, won’t necessarily apply today. Where I am emotionally, spiritually and intellectually have changed. What was black and white in my twenties now has areas of grey. Life experiences, knowledge, lessons and books are constantly molding me.
Do you ever change your rating on a book you have re-read?