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A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit. It is often carried out in periodicals, as school work, or on the internet. Reviews are also often published in magazines and newspapers . Its length may vary from a single paragraph to a substantial essay. Such a review often contains evaluations of the book on the basis of personal taste. Reviewers, in literary periodicals, often use the occasion of a book review for a display of learning or to promulgate their own ideas on the topic of a fiction or non-fiction work. At the other end of the spectrum, some book reviews resemble simple plot summaries. To write a book review you just write the key events in the body.


The earliest known "book" (or scroll) reviews were produced in ancient Athens circa 140 BC. Reviews were first published in periodicals in 1665, when the Journal des sçavans was started in Paris.[1]

As a teaching toolEdit

A book review is assigned to secondary and post-secondary students to help them to develop analytical skills. First, the reviewer has to summarize the content, regardless of the type of novel, a historical or critical book. In the subsequent narration, the goal of the book reviewer is to discuss the content of the book and provide analysis of what he or she had read, and deduce if the author managed to reveal the core, whether he or she kept to the thesis or properly achieved the purpose of the book. The last thing the reviewer has to do is to speculate on the topic himself or herself. The book reviewer should also undertake through their own research to discuss the theme, assess the author's ability to express and explore this theme, and provide an opinion of the novel.

The determination of the book review is to communicate to the reader's mind the ideas and sensations the reviewer experienced while researching the content. In this way, the reader knows what the author sought to transmit, or what the reviewer experienced while reading. The reviewer, then, takes three roles: reporter, in informing the third party of the events; analyst, in making judgments based on experience; and sideline observer, in pretending to act as the reader should by expressing their own opinion, desires and expectations.


Unlike the language in a monograph, that in a textbook must not be technical and jargon must be avoided. The reader will be a student, not a peer of the scientist who wrote the book. Technical terms will be used, of course, but each should be carefully defined at first use. The function of the book reviewer is to determine whether the subject of the text is treated clearly, in a way that is likely to enable students to grasp and to appreciate the knowledge presented. The textbook reviewer has one additional responsibility: If other texts on the same subject exist--which is usually the case--the reviewer should provide appropriate comparisons.

As professional workEdit

Book reviews require special skills and oblige the reviewer with precise responsibilities. The professional reviewer does not just have to read and scrutinize the text, but to realize concealed, implied meaning the author obviously had dropped hints about. Skilled book reviewers' explanations make the reader feel confident in their perception of the book or change it entirely. The reviewer must also state the main points of the reviewed book. While some aspects are less meaningful, others have to be marked out as prerogative issues. The task is even more complicated as the writer could unintentionally imply the idea the reviewer of the book can notice.

Then the book reviewer has to decide upon the author's point's validity. The reviewer has to be the judge and say, “Did the writer persuade the audience, or was his/her evidence insufficient and weak?” The reviewer here makes a judgment on the adequacy of the book topic to the content. The book review also evaluates the expertise of the content's authenticity. By comparing the reviewed book to other materials in the given category, the reviewer work implies potential danger for those writers who admit plagiarism. If the reviewer finds the book authentic and, perhaps, unique, the points and attitudes of the reviewer are discussed. rsrn should maintain.

Finding reviewsEdit

There are many special journals devoted to book reviews and they are indexed in special databases such as Book Review Index, but many more book reviews can be found in newspaper databases and in scholarly databases such as Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index and discipline specific databases. Some book reviews are available online.


Principally, book reviews are good sources for evaluating the quality of books. Sometimes, however, the amount and content of book reviews have been considered problematic. Katz (1985-1986) found that there are too few critical book reviews. This is also documented by Novick (1988) in the field of history. Typically, book reviews in scholarly journals are of a much higher quality than those in newspapers. Nielsen (2009) proposes a theoretical and practical framework for scholarly or academic reviews of dictionaries that is intended to improve the quality of reviews in terms of academic standards.

See alsoEdit


Chen, C. C. (1976), Biomedical, Scientific and Technical Book Reviewing, Scarecrow Press, Metuchen, NJ.

Ingram, H. & Mills, P. B. (1989), “Reviewing the book reviews”, PS: Political science and Politics, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 627-634.

Katz, Bill (1985-1986). The sunny book review. Technical Services Quarterly, 3(1/2), 17-25

Lindholm-Romantschuk, Y. (1998). Scholarly book reviewing in the social sciences and humanities. The flow of ideas within and among disciplines. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.

Miranda, E. O. (1996), “On book reviewing”, Journal of Educational Thought, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 191-202.

Motta-Roth, D. (1998), “Discourse analysis and academic book reviews: a study of text and disciplinary cultures”, in Fortanet, I. (Ed), Genre Studies in English for Academic Purposes, Universitat Jaume, Castelló de la Plana, pp. 29-58.

Nicolaisen, J. (2002a), “Structure-based interpretation of scholarly book reviews: a new research technique”, Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, pp. 123-135. Available:

Nicolaisen, J. (2002b). The scholarliness of published peer reviews: A bibliometric study of book reviews in selected social science fields. Research Evaluation, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 129-140. Available:

Nielsen, S. (2009), “Reviewing printed and electronic dictionaries: A theoretical and practical framework”, in S. Nielsen/S. Tarp (eds.): Lexicography in the 21st Century. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins 2009, 23-41.

Novick, Peter (1988). That noble dream. The "objectivity question" and the American Historical Profession. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Riley, L. E. & Spreitzer, E. A. (1970), “Book reviewing in the social sciences“, The American Sociologist, Vol. 5 (November), pp. 358-363.

Sabosik, P. E. (1988), ”Scholarly reviewing and the role of Choice in the postpublication review process”, Book Research Quarterly, Summer, pp.10-18.

Sarton, G. (1960), “Notes on the reviewing of learned books”, Science, Vol. 131 (April 22.), pp. 1182-1187.

Schubert, A. et al. (1984), ”Quantitative analysis of a visible tip of the peer review iceberg: book reviews in chemistry”, Scientometrics, Vol. 6 No. 6, pp.433-443.

Snizek, W. E. & Fuhrman, E. R. (1979), ”Some factors affecting the evaluative content of book reviews in sociology“, The American Sociologist, Vol. 14 (May), pp. 108-114.

Spink, A., Robins, D. & Schamber, L. (1998), “Use of scholarly book reviews: implications for electronic publishing and scholarly communication”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science, Vol. 49 No. 4, pp. 364-374.


  1. E.O. Miranda. "On Book Reviewing." Journal of Educational Thought 30 (1996): 191-202.

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