How do you know if a book is good?

Finding out whether a book is “good” is very subjective. One reader might consider a book great while another despised the whole novel. However, there are a few ways to get an idea of whether a book is worth reading. Here are some of the ones we want to share with you, alongside how you can find this reflected on our website:

Ratings and comments
Websites like Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble allow users to rate and review books. Checking the average rating and reading through the comments can give you an idea of what other readers thought of the book. On our website, we have included the Goodreads rating within every book description, and have placed all books with ratings above 4.2 in the Highlights category.

Why use goodreads?
Goodreads obtains its ratings from its large community of users. Goodreads calculates each book’s rating by aggregating ratings and reviews. The rating is based on a weighted average, which takes into account the number of ratings a book has received, as well as the overall rating. In addition to user-generated ratings, Goodreads also includes ratings from professional reviewers and publications. These ratings are often displayed alongside user-generated ratings to give a full picture of the book’s reviews.

What is a good rating?
On average, books receive 3.9 stars out of 5 on Goodreads. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has over 5 million ratings, and despite being a very highly regarded book only has a 4.3 stars average. Not many books have over 4.5 stars, therefore this indicates that books with a range of 3.9-4.5 stars are very highly appreciated.

Awards and Accolades
Books that have won major literary awards or received critical acclaim are often considered good. The Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Man Booker Prize and the International Booker Prize are just a few examples of prestigious literary awards. On our website, we have filtered out all authors that have been either nominated or won any of the above-mentioned prizes under the Critically Acclaimed category.

Read book reviews
Reading reviews from reputable sources like newspapers, book blogs, and book review websites can give you an idea of what other readers thought of the book. Therefore, we provide in the description of each book some comments from reputable book review sources, not exclusively but including:

  • The New York Times Book Review
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Kirkus Reviews
  • The Guardian
  • The Los Angeles Review of Books

A good way to discover new authors and books, that you might not have otherwise come across, is to look for recommendations. You can consult website like the Bookpage, or at the end of each book webpage you can find our tailored recommendations for similar books. You can also always follow us on Instagram for our weekly book reviews or write us an email! We would be happy to hear from you.

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