What does @@@ mean?

True enough — nobody asked. Somehow, though, I feel obliged to explain the meaning of the ratings I feature on the book reviews in this blog.

First of all, I don’t recall ever awarding anything lower than @@@, or 3 out of 5. Not that I haven’t encountered books that would deserve it — it’s just that I don’t finish reading those books. I only review books I’ve read from start to finish.

Here, then, is what I mean by the ratings:

@ = Fuhgedaboudit! This book should never have been published.

@@ = Not the worst book in the the world, but I couldn’t get through it.

@@@ = Reasonably well written, enjoyable in some ways, but not a candidate for a National Book Award.

@@@@ = I really liked this book. It may have fallen short of greatness, but it’s a great read. Definitely worth checking out.

@@@@@ = This book is either extraordinarily well conceived and well executed, or it makes an important contribution to our understanding of ourselves or the world we live in, or both. A must read.

Now you can’t say you didn’t know.

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Mal Warwick