Book Reviews

Scope: What a Book Review Is and Is Not

Book reviews vary widely. A review does not simply summarize book material, and should not be substituted for the original book. The purpose of a book review is to make known what a literary work purports to do and be, as a publication for both general and specialized readers. Essential components to be taken into account include concerns of subject matter and style.

A review is a critical essay, a report and an analysis. Whether favorable or unfavorable in its assessment, it should seem authoritative. The reviewer's competence must be convincing and satisfying. As with any form of writing, the writer of a book review is convincing through thorough study and understanding of the material, and opinions supported by sound reasoning; the reviewer achieves reader satisfaction upon by giving justice to the subject, the book being reviewed, and connecting it with vital human concerns.

A review may be limited in its scope due to length requirements, whether those are set by an instructor or an editor. How thoroughly and with respect to what aspects a book is reviewed also depends on instructor or editor preferences, or simply the attitudes and qualifications of the reviewer.

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Introduction