Explanation of my review color coding


In addition to writing a full review for each book or article, I also make a summary judgment about whether each is worth reading. My criteria are mostly intellectual: Did the writer back up his arguments? Did he ignore important information that undermines his thesis? Was he fair? Was he intellectually honest? I also consider clear and compelling prose to be essential in a good book.

My summary judgment is indicated with two colored dots next to the listing of the title of the book on the index page. Here are what the dots mean:

Excellent -- This book is essential for anyone interested in the subject it addresses. A joy to read and a pleasure to recommend.

Worthwhile -- This book has some notable flaws, but these are far out-weighed by the book's virtues.

Readable -- (1) This book has virtues and flaws that balance each other out; or, (2) This book made no strong impression on me one way or the other.

Fatally flawed -- This book has some virtues, but these are overwhelmed by its methodological shortcomings and/or factual mistakes or omissions.

Garbage -- This book has no redeeming values that make it worth the time to read.