|Ratings are described on the Book-note ratings page.|
Scienticity is our report on how science-y the book is. We don't necessarily want to see a book that is wall-to-wall science, but we do like to see a scientific perspective. Does the author create opportunities to shed light on the murky inner workings of science, or do such chances slip by without notice? Does the author appreciate the boundaries between science and pseudo-science and make them clear to the reader? How fundamental is science to the book's gestalt?
Some books are easy to read, some hard. Some books one can read quickly, others one moves through at a decidedly slower pace. Sometimes difficult concepts make it tough going, but that difficulty can be considerably smoothed at the hands of an eloquent and articulate author. With this category we try to assess how challenging the book is to read, rather than merely exasperating. The higher the score, the easier the book is to read. Lower scores mean harder to read, yes, but that may not be so bad -- look to the notes for clarification on this category.
Comprehension and communication: how thoroughly did the author understand the subject at hand, and how clearly did the author communicate that understanding? Did the book have depth, or was it superficial? Was the author's expression clear and penetrating or muddled? How much wisdom did the book have to offer, and how well did it accomplish it?
Some books are fun to read; some books are a chore to get through. Some books stimulate new thoughts in the reader; some don't. Some books make clear the author's enthusiasm for the subject; some don't. Some books are beautifully presented and pleasant to hold; others make the act of reading a struggle. After we put it down does its voice persist in our thoughts or is it quickly forgettable?
Charisma, meaning gift or charm, usually describes an ineffable quality in some people that makes them pleasant, fun, or stimulating to be around; we use it to describe a book that is pleasant, fun, or stimulating to read.
Considering the four ratings in the other categories, this gives our impression of how worthwhile it was to have read the book and how much we'd like other people to read it. If we had all these books to read again for the first time, which ones would deserve top priority?