Ratings should be taken with a grain of salt, because they are a little loosey goosey. This is a subjective rating system, based on my likes and dislikes, although my subjective judgment usually correlates to objective criteria. That is, if a book is poorly written, has clunky dialog, flat characters, or plot flaws, I am probably not going to like it and will give it a low rating. On the other hand, if a book is technically good and I enjoy it, I will give it a high rating. These subjective and objective notions meet in a muddled middle in my 3/5 rating. I give a lot of books 3/5 because I was entertained and glad to have read them, but did not think they were all that well-written. But a 3/5 rating can also mean I thought the book was excellent from an objective standpoint, but I did not care for it personally (most Henry James novels come to mind). With those general ideas in mind: 5/5 means it is an all-time favorite; 4/5 means I liked it and either would recommend it generally, or at least think it worthy of general recommendation, even if no one takes me up on it; 3/5 means either that I enjoyed it for what it was or think it is a "good" book, but would probably not recommend it; 2/5 means I did not like it; and 1/5 means I really, really disliked it. Half a point added means my judgment is on the borderline, with one exception: 3.5/5 means that I liked a book and would recommend it to certain people who I think would enjoy it, either because they like that type of book or some other particular reason, but I would not make a general recommendation. No rating does not mean 0/5. It just means that I read the book too long ago to remember it enough to rate it, I am not qualified to rate it (poetry, for instance)or I simply forgot to rate it.