Reviewing Specific Types of Books
The type of book being reviewed raises special considerations as to how to approach the review. Information specific to the categories of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry can be found under the "Form and Technique" heading of this guide. Below are further questions to consider, based on a book's category:
- Does the book give a full-length picture of the subject? Focus on only a portion of life?
- What phases of the subject's life receive greatest space? Is there justification for this?
- What is the point of view of the author?
- Are idiosyncrasies and weaknesses omitted? Treated adequately? Overplayed?
- Does the author endeavor to get at hidden motives?
- What important new facts about the subject's life are revealed in the book?
- Is the subject of the biography still living?
- What source materials were used in the preparation of the book?
- What training has the author had for this kind of work?
- What particular historical period does the book address?
- Is the accound given in broad outline, or in detail?
- Is the style that of reportorial writing, or is there an effort at interpretation?
- Is emphasis on traditional matter, like wars, kings, etc.? Or is it a social history?
- Are dates used extensively and/or intelligently?
- Is the book likely to be out of date soon? Or is it intended to stand the test of time?
- Are maps, illustrations, charts, etc., helpful to the reader?
o Who is the author, and what right does he/she have to be writing on the subject? o What contributions to knowledge and understanding are made by the book?
Travel and Adventure
- Is the author credible? What is the author's purpose for writing the book?
- Does the book contribute to knowledge of geography, government, folklore, etc.?
- Does the book have news value?
o Children's Literature
- How effective are plot, pace, style, and characterization? Strengths? Weaknesses?
- Is the ending worthwhile? Predictable?
o What is the age/interest group for which the book is intended?
o What is the overall experience/feeling of reading the book?
o Is the book illustrated? How? By whom?