On My Mind: Favourite Books Without 5 Stars

Someone on Twitter asked me for my favourite books and I, like most other readers, was left speechless. Which ones were my favourite books? I had to check my Goodreads ‘Favourite’ shelf as a reminder. I noticed that not every book I love love loved has five stars. Why is that? Can you absolutely love a book and not give it five stars? Can you rate a book five stars and not love it?

Perfect imperfection

I’ve been a perfectionist until my teens. After that I learned to see the beauty of imperfection. Something doesn’t have to perfect to be beautiful. That goes for people, media, and objects. Sometimes it’s the imperfections that make something more beautiful. I’m not looking for the perfectly crafted sentence. Most times I don’t even enjoy it. Characters shouldn’t be perfect; they’re the least interesting people. Their journeys are also more interesting if there are obstacles and failure. But letting your character fail three time before they succeed also feels too much like a formula.

Most of my favourite books are the ones I enjoyed, regardless of how good it is. Yes, good books have a better chance to become a favourite, but I’ve read critically acclaimed books that just didn’t click. I didn’t like Dracula, or The World According to Garp. I’ve read the Twilight saga multiple times. People hate them with a passion, but it’s still one of my feel good books and I’ve taken a lot from them.

A book doesn’t have to be perfect to be good or enjoyable. I loved Harry Potter, but rereading them now, I see they weren’t perfectly written. There might be plot holes in some of my favourite books, I don’t know. Maybe the character doesn’t experience the growth he would’ve had in a ‘good’ book. But it’s the things that we connect with, no matter how small, or insignificant to others, that we love a book. Just like with humans.

Feelings can’t be measured in rating

I often can’t express my feelings well. They’re as irrational as can be. I can love or hate something without being able to describe why. That still doesn’t invalidate my feelings. Maybe it also has something to do with the fact that love blinds us. That doesn’t just happen when someone falls in love with a person. We fall in love with books or movies and we’re blind (or more willing to accept) the flaws it has. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is a great movie, but not a masterpiece. I still love it.

Maybe it’s been years since I read the book and I forgot all of the bad points while remembering all the good, the romanticizing of a book. It happens. Some of my childhood favourites aren’t as good as I remember (like Harry Potter, while others just get better as I get older and understand them more (The Night Circus or American Gods. There are so many reasons to love a book, even if they’re not perfect.

What about you? Are all your favourites five star books? Do you have a favourite read without a five star rating? Leave the titles in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “On My Mind: Favourite Books Without 5 Stars

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    Every single reader has a different reading experience, so I completely understand where you are coming from. Often a favourite book can be because of its theme while another book can be for its lyrical writing and the images it creates in the reader’s eyes.

    I like Harry Potter and The Twilight books too. But I also like books about the World Wars and spys plus I like urban fantasy and romance. Mostly a book resonates with the mood I’m in when I’m reading it.

  2. Delly says:

    I honestly love this post <3 You can definitely love books that you wouldn't rate at 5 stars. An example for me is Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. The series is amazing but I knew that other people would find book one slow. It is a fantastic premise, great world building and character building but slower because of multiple POVs. It has to be written that way. Books don't have to be perfect for us to love them as you say. Maybe I identify as a flawed character so fall in love with others :-p

  3. El says:

    I love this post! And honestly, I think a good number of my all-time fav books aren’t 5 stars. I never really thought about it though. Love your explanantion, too. I think it’s the same for me. I have a couple books I love to the moon and back only because they make me feel so incredibly comfortable and warm, but I still couldn’t give them 5 stars due to some issues. Doesn’t change my enjoyment necessarily though

  4. Alli says:

    I have some favorites that don’t have five stars. I’m rather stingy with my five star ratings! But I also don’t think five stars needs to be “masterwork of literary fiction.” I’ll give genre books five stars if I think they’re worthy of five stars for that particular genre.

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