As you may notice in visiting this site, we do not rank or score books with letter grades or numbers or stars – either white or gold ones. We simply recommend books, of whatever genre, or do not recommend them. The most precious resource we have in life is time, and so we attempt to make a determination here as to whether a particular book is worth your time.
If you don’t see a recommendation at the end of the review, the book in question is not recommended. When we do recommend a book it will fall into one of three categories, as follows.
Recommended - This is a book, fiction or non-fiction, which may contain up to four or five writing flaws which were not corrected in the editing process. However, it is clear on the whole (and by a margin that clearly exceeds 51%) that this is a book that will justify the time you devote to it.
Well Recommended - A book in this category may contain two or three flaws or editing omissions, but it’s exemplary and likely to rank in the top quartile (top 25%) of books on the market.
Highly Recommended - Books like these are likely in the top 10% of those released in the current and prior calendar year. They may contain one or two errors but are nevertheless close to perfection in both content and presentation.
Some books will fall into the Recommended or Well Recommended category because they are well written, but Highly Recommended books tend to require a junction of great writing with a great theme and near-flawless execution. Finally, we are considering adding a new category, Essential. Essential books are novels or non-fiction books released in prior years that should be a part of any well-rounded reader’s experience. Two examples that immediately come to mind are In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and Independence Day by Richard Ford. The latter was the winner of both The Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. (“It is difficult to imagine a better American novel appearing this year.” Publishers Weekly, 1995)
Independence Day was reviewed on this site on October 30, 2009 (“American Tune”).