How to Write a Book Review critical book review is not a book report or a summary. It is basically a reaction paper in which you point out strengths and weaknesses of the material, and how it helps -- or misleads you -- in understanding the content of your course. Here's a general outline to follow in order for you to take adequate notes as you read your book: A. Selection's topic, author and author's background Questions to ask: Who is this author? Is he or she considered an expert in this topic? (Click here to find out how to search for information on an author. ) Does the author's background, time, or place affect the conclusions reached? do you find an obvious bias? What is the author's point of view or frame of reference (usually found in the introduction or opening paragraphs)? B. Selection's thesis and specific examples from the text.
Questions to ask: What is the author's major hypothesis; what's the purpose for writing this paper -- what's the hook? What are the most important pieces of evidence to support it? C. Your (and / or other reviewers') objections / contrary views. Questions to ask: What is the quality of the evidence -- convincing? adequate? are the sources recognized by others in the field? Are there other works on the same or a similar topic? Does any of the author's information (or conclusion) conflict with other books you " ve read, courses you " ve taken or just previous assumptions you had of the subject? How might you resolve any conflict? D. Selection's impact on you and other potential readers. Questions to ask: Were any previous ideas you had on this subject changed or abandoned due to this book? were they reinforced? Would you recommend this book or article to others? Why?