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Scholarly Book Reviews

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Researching Book Reviews
What is a Scholarly Book Review?
A scholarly book review is a critical
assessment of a book.
Book Reviews Are Not Formal Critiques of
Literature
Scholarly book reviews are
published 6 months to 2
years after the book’s
publication.
Reviews summarize the
book’s content.
Reviews evaluate the overall
content of the book.
Critical essays usually
appear long after the book’s
publication.
Critical essays focus on a
close reading of a work such
as, a theme, character,
language, or theoretical
approach.
Literary Book Reviews
There are two types of book reviews:
пЃ¬
Reviews of creative works (e.g., novels)
пЃ¬
Reviews of secondary works (e.g., criticism
of creative works)
Book Reviews of Creative Works
This type of book review assesses the:
пЃ¬ themes or subplots.
пЃ¬ function of each character in the novel.
пЃ¬ characters' relationships to one another.
 comparison to the author’s other work
Book Review of a Creative Work:
Example
Book Reviews of Critical Studies in
Literature
These types of book reviews critically evaluate the:
пЃ¬
significance of the book’s thesis and theoretical approach
пЃ¬
strengths and weaknesses of analysis, method, and research
пЃ¬
approach or perspective
пЃ¬
extent to which the book contributes to existing scholarship
Book Review of a Critical Study:
Example
See the course web page for examples of
scholarly books reviews.
Advantages of Book Reviews to
Researchers
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
Place work in context to other similar works
Identify key scholars and critics
Discuss controversies, debates, and
disagreements within an area.
Determine whether the book contributes to
the critical canon.
Who Writes Scholarly Book Reviews?
Editors of literary journals seek reviewers who
are experts in their field, meaning that they
have contributed significantly to the field
through scholarly publications.
Most of the these experts hold advanced
degrees and teach at colleges and
universities.
Scholarly Book Reviews
Scholarly book reviews are published in two
venues:
пЃ¬ Journals
пЃ¬ Cultural magazines
Scholarly Book Reviews
Scholarly press
Cultural Press
Book Reviews: Cultural Press
The cultural press, a part of the popular or
mainstream media, is not strictly considered
scholarly. However, some cultural press
periodicals often publish fine assessments of
literary works.
Book Reviews: Cultural Press
The following cultural press magazines will be
acceptable for class projects, provided the reviews
are lengthy and detailed.
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
Times Literary Supplement
New York Review of Books
New York Times Book Review
New Yorker
Other Book Review Formats
пЃ¬
Review essay: discusses an array of books
on a specific topic
пЃ¬
Literature review: discusses new and
previous works focused on a specific topic
Example of a review essay:
Literature reviews can be either:
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
be the focus of an journal article or book
chapter.
embedded in a critical article.
Example of a literature review:
Locating Book Reviews
Book reviews can be found in:
пЃ¬
Book review indexes
пЃ¬
Periodical databases
To search for book reviews for your author’s
creative works or related secondary works,
go to the course homepage.
Book Reviews: Summary
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
Evaluates the worth of a book
Differs from a formal literary critique
Provides valuable information to researcher
Reviews found in 3 formats: article, or as part
of a review essay or literature review
Locate book reviews in periodical databases
and book review indexes
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