Discussion- How Do You Rate Books?

I’ve really been thinking about my rating system here on My Friends Are Fiction. I don’t have a hard set rule that I follow to rate books but do it on a mixture of emotional impact and the skill of the writing. The longer I blog though the more I realize that sometimes this doesn’t work for me. I’ve read some books that though I didn’t enjoy them (due to the subject matter most often times) I can see that they are beautifully constructed. I’ve struggled on how to rate these books.

I asked Twitter -when rating books do you base it more towards your personal enjoyment or how well the book is written/constructed?. I loved the comments I received:

 

Twitter 4

Twitter 3Twitter 5Twitter 1

I had more comments but you get the point that from my non-scientific gathering of information most bloggers tend to rate using both their emotional connection and how the book is constructed and executed. I completely agree that if a book is poorly written it is very difficult for it to be an enjoyable experience. But, what about the books that are written beautifully but for some reason you fail to connect to the story-line? Maybe it’s because you can’t get behind the main character or the story line is something that personally turns you off as a reader…how do you rate it when you know that it is a good book but you just didn’t enjoy it?

Here are two examples of this from my own blogging experience. Because of the advanced hype and that eerie cover, I requested Gated by Amy Christine Parker. I read it and knew while reading that it was beautifully constructed and that Parker was a very skilled writer and story teller. Her research into cults was evident and I respected her for embarking on the topic. For me, I had such a hard time while reading it. I have a young son so the mother-daughter interactions really bothered me and I could not say that I enjoyed my actual reading experience. I was at a complete loss as to how to rate this book. I ended up leaving it unrated because I was so confused at the time.

Another, more recent example, is Red Rising by Pierce Brown. While I was reading I was swept away in the brutality of the society and world he created. I loved his vivid details and heart stopping action. But, I was very much bogged down as I read through the lengthy middle section that dealt with a lot of military strategy and was filled with violence (though tastefully done–for the most part). I  was able to decide on a rating much easier for this book and ended up giving it four stars though a large portion was not enjoyable to me, personally. I came to this rating after much debating on my part. I felt it deserved it because of the amount of time I spent thinking of the story, that I never once considered DNFing and my curiosity of the next book. Also, I was very impressed with Brown’s writing.

Sadly, I barely had any readers respond to my query. I was very interested in learning what they look for when they are trying to decide on a book to read. Of course, the star rating is only the jumping off (or concluding) factor of a review. What we write about the book and the details we use to express our views is the most important aspect.

I’d like to hear from you as either readers or bloggers (or both) how do you rate when reviewing? How does the rating effect your reading of a review or your impression of the book?

Comments

  1. says

    I always rate on how the book feels for me, as in connecting emotionally, enjoyments of the book and how good or bad the writing, plotting is. I always rate based on my opinion and I usually know by half way through a book what rating it feels like. Yeah, but unscienctific of me! Sometimes I struggle on how I feel about the book and then I reflect on it more objectively to be able to rate it properly.

    When I feel like the book would deserve better than what I think of it, I usually comment on it accordingly on the review, cause we all know sometimes we read a book in the wrong emotional moment to connect with it, or it’s a theme that don’t deal well with ourselves, and that shouldn’t put other people off the book.

    • says

      I’ve gotten to where I write my review and after I read it again and mull over the book I choose a rating. It’s so difficult with many books. The easiest are the 5 stars because those books I just KNOW it’s a 5 when I’m reading.

  2. says

    For me, it’s always been a mix. I’ll address both sides of it in my reviews, and I’ll usually point out if they don’t coincide with one another, and I’ll try to explain why. In the end, I try to look at the book as a whole and think about how much I enjoyed it. Sometimes, books aren’t written extremely well but had a big impact on me or left me feeling so strongly about it. I won’t play that down because it’s my opinion and it’s important too!

    I tend to not read reviews of books I haven’t read yet, so it’s hard for me to judge. I’ll generally look at the rating, and since some bloggers put little snipets of their reviews in a more prominent place or talk about the books, I’ll gauge it that way. Also, it’s also about my own personal interest! Everyone’s different, and I’ll try books that sound interesting to me and sometimes that seem to be rated relatively well.

    • says

      When I first started reviewing I based my rating on emotional impact and that was about it. I feel that as I’ve been reading more books that my rating is based more on a mix.

      I will glance over reviews for books I’ve not read and maybe scan a positive one and a negative to get a feel for the book (esp if I’m choosing if to read it or not).

  3. says

    Oh, look, that’s me! 🙂 My star-rating on Goodreads (and my grade rating on my blog) are based on how much I enjoyed the book and its appropriateness, since that’s a big deal to me. But in my final comments, I sometimes recommend the book even if I wasn’t a huge fan.

    • says

      I imagine every book will hit at least someone in a positive manner, but I imagine that people begin to get a grasp of each reviewers tastes and so can use that in helping to distinguish if a book might be for them or not. I know I do this too.

  4. says

    I did a peek into my review process last June when an author asked if I would change the rating I gave her book because she fixed the errors I pointed out. I gave her book a 3 and she wanted a 4 or a 5, but I felt changing it would be cheating since I’m not in the same mindset I was when I read it the first time.

    When I read a book, I look at a variety of things including the use of conventions (ie: spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc) and how it affects the overall piece. From there I look at the narrative and go through a series of questions (for example: if the book is first person, can I trust the narrator?) and then I look at writing as a whole with regards to the plot. Each book is different and treated as such. Some I might not go into detail when coming up with a rating, but I will say this…a book with poor use of conventions won’t get anything higher than a 3 from me. It doesn’t matter how much I loved the story, etc. I try not to be an emotional rater because there are some books that tug at the heart, but in reality aren’t that great.

    • says

      Oh wow, I’ve not ever had an author request that. I’m sure that was rather awkward. I don’t think I’d be able to change a rating either because it was based on the version you read.

      I love the way you break your rating consideration down. Can you trust the narrator is a big one.

  5. says

    I find it really hard to give books a numeric rating due to some of the reasons you point out. How do I rate a beautifully written book that I just don’t connect with? Or a completely mindless book that gave me a couple hours of sheer reading pleasure? Should book A get a lower rating than book B? I could drive myself crazy worrying about these things…
    I guess I could come up with some kind of complicated formula, but I haven’t. I have also thought of doing selected starred reviews, like PW, to give special recognition to books that I highly recommend.
    I pay a bit of attention to other people’s ratings, but mostly I read the substance of the review.
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    • says

      Same here Jen…just so difficult. Then when going through older reviews and seeing my rating it just seems inconsistent. I love the selected star review idea…I agree there are some books that scream for 5 stars.

  6. Alyn Y says

    I rate based on how well I connect to it. If I happen to write a review, I do mention that the book is well written but I gave it a lower rating because I couldn’t connect with it. I can think of a book or two that I think was poorly written but readers gave it very high rating because they loved the story line and characters. I was reading reviews on a self-published book yesterday and a few people gave it one star only because of poor grammar. One person gave it five stars and said that while the book did have poor grammar, it didn’t matter because you still get what the person is trying to say. Personally, I would have given it a lower rating because of poor grammar too. I understand mine isn’t any better but I expect more from anything that is published.

    • says

      I can’t give a book with poor grammar 5 stars no matter how much I love it just because that is such a huge part of my enjoyment of the book–how it’s written. Now that I am reading ARCs I have given those books leeway just because they are unfinished.

      With how we connect to a book it is such an unexplainable emotional pull there really is no way to predict nor explain when or why it’ll happen.

  7. says

    I tend to be an emotional rater, but do try to be reasonable. Like if a book had two big flaws, then the rating would be around 3 stars. I have this habit of rating my books right after I read them, and give it whatever feels right.

    Lovely post! <33

    • says

      When I rate right after reading it is mostly based on the emotional aspect (especially on how the book had me feeling when it ended). I know what you mean about whatever feels right. A lot of it is just based on that–which is unexplainable.

  8. says

    I think I’m definitely an emotional rater. It doesn’t matter how prettily written a book is, if I hated the characters or the plot, then I can’t justify a high or even medium rating. But I always try to explain why I disliked a book in my review, so readers can decide if they’d have the same problems.

    • says

      I read a book last year that was written well, had a great story basis but I hated the main character. Made it impossible to enjoy the book (for me). Others weren’t bothered like I was about the MC.

  9. says

    Ooh this is a great topic! I have trouble with this, too, sometimes. If I HATED the book and have to DNF it, but thought that it was actually well-written/conceived, I’ll usually give it 2 stars instead of 1. Or if I thought the book was written really well and enjoyed it, but for some reason didn’t LOVE it, I’d probably give it a 4 stars instead of a 5. And I always kind of try to explain why or why not certain parts of the book didn’t work for me in my review. Like if it’s a case of “it’s me, not you” or something.

    • says

      I’ve not rated DNFs yet or written reviews for them. I’ve considered doing mini-reviews and still haven’t decided yet if I will. I have read things and known it was me and not the book.

  10. says

    It’s definitely a mixture of both, but I will admit, sometimes I let my emotions take a little bit of the control.

    For example, Legend by Marie Lu, was a typical and unoriginal dystopian novel. (In my opinion, of course.) There was something about it, though, that had me flipping the pages like a madwoman. I ended up giving it 4-stars, despite the unoriginality, all because it kept me hooked.

    Basically, for me, I think it depends on each book I read. I have a different experience with each book, and that experience will determine how I rate it.

    • says

      I think it would be impossible not to let emotions take control. I’ve read Legend once and it didn’t strike me and I ended up not really thinking it brought anything new into dystopian ya. Somehow I missed that emotional draw others found in it. I actually plan on rereading it because I want to see if it will strike me differently this time around.

  11. says

    I was JUST talking about this today with my sister! It’s a weird thing, star ratings, because they mean something different to everyone. Even my sister and I feel differently about ratings! I’ll give every book the benefit of the doubt and attempt to like it…I also rate books usually 2, 4, or 5 stars. For me, 5 stars have to evoke the feels.

    • says

      That’s funny we’ve both been thinking hard on ratings! I typically try to go into a book wanting to like it and trying to see the positive and how it might appeal to other people if not me. I typically DNF a book if I am hating it so my ratings typically never fall below 3. I’m with you 5 stars are the books I can read over and over and feel all the feels for.

  12. Kayla DeGroote says

    It’s always been a mix of the two, though I lean more towards my own enjoyment of the book. A lot of people have made a good point with how a story is written and how that can effect your overall enjoyment. I try not to let the writing itself effect my opinion too much simply because there are so many different writing styles
    You’ve got the elegent and hands down captivating writing but then you’ve also got the more enlightening and relatable to you writing but then you’ve got the smooth writing with nothing super significant about it, and even with all these writing styles you could like their stories a lot (like want to give them 4 stars or something). Good writing style should definitely get bonus points, and when a book is beautifully written then don’t be afraid to bring it up, but I personally don’t hold the writing style too accountable for my enjoyment unless it’s the reason I can’t connect to the story–like if everything is expressionless and almost monotone. That’s just me though 🙂

    • says

      Great insight Kayla…I love reading how different people make the rating system work for them. I think I tend to struggle with informal writing more than formal. If the book has a ‘silly’ air to it some how I tend to come into it with a lower rating. I think because of my own personal style and taste. Sometimes I’m afraid it is unfair to the book. So much fun to read and consider this stuff.

  13. says

    The two are connected, for me. If I’m not sure how to rate a book, I simply leave it unrated. I used to stress about this a lot when I first started blogging, but it has become less important to me and takes a back seat to the review itself, which is a place where I can explain my feelings. I do still tag reviews by rating at the request of my friends who read my blog, Otherwise I would have probably gotten rid of it all together. Some people find it useful, though.

    • says

      I’ve left a couple unrated because I couldn’t decide on how I felt so in my review I just broke down what I liked and didn’t and explained why I didn’t feel I could give it a rating. I remember when you went away from the ratings in your review. Has it changed writing reviews or reading for you at all?

  14. says

    I agree that it is a mixture of both and think that it would be almost impossible to come up with a formula or a way of rating that would always stay the same.
    When I was in fourth grade we had to read Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I hated it. I thought it was the worst book ever and never wanted to touch it again. A couple years later I went back and read it again and now it’s one of my favorite books. I loved the topic it deals with and the way it is written and everything about it.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that if I change my own opinion of it over time then I’m sure other people do the same. I think some books just need to be read at a certain time in one’s life and others, no matter when you read them, you will never like them.
    At some point you may claim you hate a book and rate it very low and then you may come back and read it again and give it a higher rating, it depends on the time and the mindset and a million other things.

    • says

      Yes! I’ve also read books that I disliked (or loved) and then on a reread felt differently towards. I do think where you are in your life and your emotional mood while reading has a huge impact on if you will connect with the character and storyline. Great point!

  15. says

    I have a five star rating from Awful to Excellent. sometimes my review does not always seem to reflect the rating but that can be because it should be somewhere in the middle. E.G 3.5 * as opposed to 3 or 4 stars.

  16. says

    As a reader, I’m okay with a reviewer pointing out some personal thing that brought down their rating as long as they make it clear that it was just a them thing. Then it’s easy for me to say “I get that they didn’t like that aspect, but I don’t think it would bother me, so perhaps I’ll still read this one” or “Oo, I hate that too, good thing they warned me!” :D. I honestly read reviews much more for that vague “reading experience” feedback since I want to read books that I’ll enjoy and sometimes it’s hard to pin down exactly what made a book enjoyable or not. Plus, reviews discussing feels are much more interesting to me 😉

    • says

      As am I…when reading a review I always know that it is opinion and that everyone feels differently. I think that is what makes them helpful really because you get more insight into things that might interest/turn you off. I agree, the feel of how the book flows and the emotions it gives the reader is very interesting to read in reviews. That’s why with I love reading the reviews for mixed ratings books. So fun to see how each aspect hit different people.

  17. says

    I’ve been meaning to write a discussion post on something similar to this topic, I need to get off my butt and do that. It’s not about ratings so much as what we look for in a review in general, but I find the ratings question really interesting, too.

    Like most bloggers, I think a lot about how I want to rate a book, more than authors probably think. I will sometimes agonize over the difference in a half star, it’s pretty sad! I factor a lot of things into my rating: writing, content, merit, enjoyment being the top things I look for, and if I have a strong reaction to any one of those things (like loving it SO much emotionally, or thinking the writing was SO amazing), I may rate it higher than I normally would. Was that helpful? I don’t know, hah. But it’s honest. It’s a complicated and perhaps convoluted algorithm.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • says

      I would love to read that discussion post… I’m working on collecting some date (opinions) for that as well. I am intrigued with how bloggers rate and review and how the readers perceive them. I find the entire thing fascinating yet completely intangible because so much of it is based on ‘feels’ rather than an absolute pattern or structure. I completely get what you are saying about being swayed to rate higher based on if one aspect blows you away. I also spend forever trying to find the perfect rating. I feel that the rating sets the stage for what the review will say and people might base their reading of the review on the rating. I don’t know though.

  18. says

    Your timing is so weird! Just today I finished a book and I’m not sure how to rate it. Although I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, I still need to write my review, so that might change. The writing and construction are really brilliant, but it’s a murder mystery, which is fine, but it’s about child abduction and prostitution and not my thing AT ALL. So I’m going to struggle with the review, but I have to give it props for the skill of the author. It’s tough sometimes, but I think for me, the execution of the story slightly outweighs my emotional reaction.

    • says

      The longer I blog/review the harder it gets to rate. It seems that I’m constantly struggling with what I want to give a book (unless it’s obviously a 5 star). Oh gosh, child abduction and prostitution would not be my thing either. I’ve done the same thing though…and I could see how well done it was but impossible for me to enjoy. After thinking about this more and more I think when I started I based everything on emotional connection. Now it seems I’m basing it more (just by a bit) on construction and execution. Thank you for your thoughts!

  19. says

    Typically, I have a list of questions that I answer:

    “Did I like it?” <– biggest one, obviously
    "Would I read it again?"
    "Would I recommend it?"
    "Did the plot make sense? Was it too simple/overly-complicated/contrived/cliched/clever/interesting/well-paced?"
    "Was the premise original/creative/bland/cliched/rehashed?"
    "Were the characters well-developed? Were they one-dimensional/fully fleshed out? Did they have continuity/act in a way consistent with their character? Did I like/respect/love-to-hate/have a connection to the characters?"
    "Did the characters' relationships make sense?"
    "Did I like the writing style? Was it luscious/sparse/snarky/imaginative/lyrical/humorous? Can the author just tell a good/interesting story, or deftly wield the pen like a sword, or create ART and touch my soul through his/her gorgeous use of words?"
    "How was the dialogue?"
    "What was the book trying to say? Was there a message/moral? Did it feel like I was being bludgeoned by an after-school special, or was it subtly woven through providing food for thought and allowing me to come to my own interpretation/conclusions?"

    So, all those things factor in… which sometimes makes it REALLY difficult to rate a book, and sometimes insanely easy. It's all very subjective and varies from book to book. 😉 lol

    As far as how do ratings affect my view of a book… to me the actual reviews have more bearing on whether I'll buy a book, and I'll typically read a mixture of star ratings. Though if a book has more lower ratings as a whole than not on Goodreads or Amazon, I'll typically pass on it. 😛

    • says

      I love this! I think when I get stumped I’ll click on over here and read this again! I totally agree, it’s subjection and varies with each book. I think if I answer that first question (did I enjoy it) with a yes it might change the questions afterward a bit. Seems I get most confused when I didn’t enjoy large aspects but I can see the wider appeal.
      When I’m reading reviews I glance at the rating to know what to expect from the review and then head on in. If it’s a low rating I like to see the reasons why (or feels why). Thank you so much for your comment…seriously I will be using it to remind myself of questions when I get stuck again 🙂

  20. says

    I definitely rate emotionally. Did I bottom line like the book or not. If it is a well written book but the plot was slow and I was bored through most of it, then the rating and review will reflect that. If I couldn’t put the book down because I was so into the story, but maybe it could have used some editing and polish, I will rate the plot higher than the writing and that will affect my overall rating. Bottom line is I read for pleasure and enjoyment, and that enjoyment (or lack thereof) goes into the rating. Great topic!

    • says

      Being bored is def going to lower the rating. A lot of times I am not enjoying aspects but the pacing is still fast and I HAVE to know what will happen. Those are the real tough ones. I totally agree about reading for pleasure and enjoyment! That’s why I’ve started DNFing if a book is completely not for me. Thank you for visiting and commenting!

  21. says

    I’m kind of wishy-washy when it comes to rating a book, but first and foremost, I always take my enjoyment of the novel into account. If I was entertained, even if it wasn’t the best piece of literature I’ve ever come across, I’ll still probably rate it high because the most important part of the reading experience for me is whether or not I enjoyed the time I spent reading the book. The inverse is also true: if I was bored, even if the book was really well-written, I’ll rate it lower. I do take into account the writing, the characters (which often have a lot to do with my enjoyment), and other aspects of the novel besides how fun or thrilling it was, but above all, I need to like a book when I’m done with it.

    Another thing I’ve noticed about myself lately is that my reviews are less critical of the writing and focus more on the pleasure I took from reading the book. I used to be so analytical in my reviews, discussing character arcs, setting, writing, plot, etc., but for some reason, my reviews have become more feeling-based these days. But they’re still just as long, most of the time. 😛

    • says

      I am absolutely wishy-washy in my rating of books. Characters are huge in if I’m going to enjoy a book or not. No matter how amazing the story-line if I hate the MC I have SO much trouble with the book. I always hope that the character will grow on me or have some growth that will increase my connection but if that doesn’t happen I’ll rate lower and hesitate on reading an additional book in the series.

      Maybe we go in phases with rating? I’m thinking I might. Sometimes it seems I base things on my feels more and other times it’s on how well executed the book is (of course the character connection never changes for me).

  22. says

    <3 Love this post. I replied a little bit about it on twitter, and not going to say too much about it now either (A) But anyway. I rate books only on the way I felt about the book. If I hated the book, but loved the writing, I won't give it a high rating. I will be honest about my feelings for all of it. Well, most of the time. I think. Anyway. Loved reading your thoughts about it. <3

    • says

      Thank you Carina! I know we’ve talked about this on Twitter a few times actually. Your reviews always seem honest to me and that says a lot. It’s so hard to really put how you feel out there (esp knowing the author will see it–yikes). thank you for commenting and reading!

  23. says

    I think a bit of both for me, but they’re also tied together somewhat. If something about the writing etc that stands out or annoys me I won’t be able to enjoy the book or feel all the feels. So mostly I rate on how much I enjoyed it. If I was bored, irritated, connected with the characters, unable to put it down etc. Great post idea I know this is something that so many do differently!

    • says

      You know, something that I’ve noticed bothering me more often lately–weird slang that is specific to that book/world. I understand the why of it but most times it just really sticks out to me and pulls me out of the story. Of course, some authors excel at that but it seems if it’s badly done it’s BAD. Any book that I can’t put down deserves accolades for sure. I love reading your thoughts on this 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

  24. says

    First of all, let me give a big “Yikes!” to Jess’s comment about an author asking her to raise her rating!

    I’ve been veering more towards rating based on my enjoyment of a book rather than any other “merits.” As long as you’re able to explain the rationale behind your rating, I think either type works.

    • says

      Agreed! I started out blogging only by my emotional feel of the book…but lately I have found that more difficult. I think the best part of blogging/rating and the whole thing is that anything goes and there are no set rules. I think this frees us all to do what we feel is right and express ourselves.

  25. says

    Great discussion as this is something I struggle with. When I was ‘just’ a reader my rating would only be a reflection of my personal enjoyment, nothing more. Even if I could see that it was written really well, I just wouldn’t rate it higher if I didn’t enjoy reading it. Now that I have started my own book blog, I’m taking more time to think of what to rate it and I think about more than just personal enjoyment. But it’s still hard to decide sometimes!

    An example for me is Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I really enjoyed reading it and I could see it was written really well, but for some reason I could just not connect to the story. So I gave it 4 stars, even though I could see it was very well written. I just couldn’t give it 5 stars. If I connected to the story I definitely would have. Other times (I can’t think of an example, though) I love a book so much and have a lot of feels for it, I can give it 5 stars only because I personally enjoyed it so much. So yeah, I struggle with giving ratings but I always try to explain it in my review if I did not rate it very high but I think other people would . Or explain that my 5 star rating is mostly based on my feels for it.

    • says

      Exactly! I relate so much to this because I feel the same way. It was so much easier to throw a rating up there back when I just rated on GR and had no blog. Now, I really have to think about everything and take into account the writing, connection, full story arc, characters, etc. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  26. says

    For me, reading, reviewing and rating books is a very personal thing. Writing that I might find beautiful and elegant, another might find fluffy and outlandish. One person’s expectations of “good” worldbuilding might be higher than another’s.

    So even though I might comment on how I felt the book was written quite well, that doesn’t mean I enjoyed it. Take Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: I thought the writing was beautiful, if a bit purple. But beautiful writing wasn’t enough to rate the book highly (in my opinion), because so much else suffered for the sake of striking metaphors (like character development and worldbuilding).

    Reading will always be a subjective thing, and our opinion of the material will always be influenced by our life experience, personal prejudices and interests.

    Even ratings are subjective! I only hand out 5 star reviews when a book has truly touched me; when I know that it’s one I will think about often, long after I’ve finished reading it. Other people hand out 5 star reviews to most books they read because they enjoyed them, even when they acknowledge the book wasn’t overly memorable.

    So while I love a rating so I can make a quick judgment of how you felt about a book overall, it’s how you back up that rating in your review that matters (to me). It’s how you explain that the boring military bits in the middle didn’t really detract from your overall enjoyment, which is why you decided to give the book 4 stars instead of 3, for example 🙂

    • says

      Really wonderful comment–I totally agree with how personal our reading journey is to each of us. I think that’s when we find someone with very similar taste we feel even closer to them because they must be similar to us to ‘get’ the same things as we do.

      I’m with you about 5 stars…when I first started and when I was only rating on GR I was much more eager to throw around 5 star ratings. Now…not so much.

  27. says

    I have just started blogging, and I realize that this (rating) would be an issue. Your post is very timely.
    Anyway, I’ve been thinking about a rating system lately, and I believe we need to incorporate BOTH the response of the reader (me), and the technical merits of the text. What I’ll probably do is rate the book using, say, 5 criteria, then get an average of that.
    The key here is to be consistent in rating the book vs a standard.

  28. says

    Great topic, I was actually thinking of writing about it because it’s so hard for me to rate some books! I fail to give stars to so many because I don’t want people to think I’ve disliked it and discourage them from reading it, but the book maybe didn’t speak to me particularly and that’s why I would give it a low rating. It really depends on the moment I rate it and how connected I feel to the book and its story.

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