What are the guidelines for writing a book review?
Writing a Book Review:
1. Check with your professor for the specific requirements of the assignment. Be sure to follow his/her instructions as well as the standard procedure for writing a book review.
2. Read the book! It may also be helpful to read other reviews of the book (on Amazon, or from reviews published in scholarly articles). This can highlight some things you may not have noticed (or may have forgotten) about the author or the text that you want to include in your own review. Be sure to cite any work that is not your own.
3. Write your review, providing a BRIEF summary and your overall opinion of the book. Be sure to include:
1. Citation information. Always start the review by including a full reference to the work you are discussing, and be sure to cite page numbers as you mention things from the book in your review. (For more on citation, visit the Learning Commons citing tutorial page).
2. Adequate information about the book. (You should pretend your audience has not read the book and needs a quick recap—sharing a bit about the author, the book’s thesis, and the way the author argues it).
3. Your personal critique of the work. Seek to answer questions like:
a. What did you like or dislike?
b. Did the author show a certain bias?
c. Were there things the author failed to mention or should have discussed in greater detail?
d. Did the author leave questions unanswered, and if so, did that make the book better or worse?
e. Did the author’s personal background seem to suggest that he or she was an expert in the topic? What kind of impact could this have had on the quality or reliability of the material they presented?
f. What other resources have you read regarding the topic in the book? Does this author agree with what others are saying? Does he or she offer up new information or a new perspective? (If you mention other authors or works, please be sure to cite them using the style preferred by your professor).
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