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Book Reviews: Book Reviews

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Literature Criticism vs Book Review

Literary criticism, as defined in the Oxford Dictionary of English, is "the art or practice of judging and commenting on the qualities and character of literary works." 

"Criticism" doesn't necessarily mean to criticize or find what is wrong with a work.  Literary criticism helps to explain or interpret a novel, a poem, a play, a story -- any work of literature,

A book review is a form of literary criticism. This can be a simple description (like an amazon purchase review), a personal opinion review (like a Goodreads entry), or an in-depth analysis (based on content, style, and merit).

Academic book reviews are thorough descriptions with a critical analysis and evaluation of the book's significance in relation to other works on the topic.

For college, if the assignment includes writing a book review, be sure to academically address the subject matter instead of just providing a 5-star rating. Discuss the author, the material's strengths and weaknesses, and assess content for relevance, effectiveness, and value. 

Assigned book reviews offer thoughtful practice in carefully analyzing complex scholarly texts and assesses your ability to effectively synthesize research.

Tutorials & LibGuides

Citation Styles

What is the book about / summary? Does it cover the topic adequately? How does this book/topic fit into current research? What does the author argue?  Ideally, you will summarize the argument early on.  Who is the author/editor? What is their field of expertise? How does this book relate to their past work?  If there are relevant biographical details about the author- mention them.  How does the author support their argument? Do they provide convincing evidence? Do they engage with counterarguments? Try to find at least one strength (i.e. something the book does well) and one weakness (i.e. something that could be stronger) to write about.  Has the book helped you understand the subject? How has the book added to current knowledge?  Who  should read it and why?