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Book Reviews

Finding book reviews

Book reviews are brief overviews and critiques of a book. They evaluate a book's merits or significance in the field by commenting on the author's writing style as well as the book's themes, accuracy, and other outstanding features. The reviewer might also compare it to similar books.
Book reviews may help you to understand a book by doing one or more of the following:
  • summarize the plot and analyze themes and symbols (fiction books)
  • summarize the debate which the book is contributing to (non-fiction books)
  • critique the book's methods, evidence, and conclusions (non-fiction books)
  • compare the book with similar books
  • discuss the author's writing style
  • give important biographical details about the author and his/her reasons for writing the book
A book is usually reviewed in the year that it is published, or the following year or two. Book reviews are published in journals, magazines, and newspapers. Depending upon where they are published, reviews can be written by academics, librarians, journalists, writers, or practitioners in the field and may appear in a variety of lengths and styles.

To locate book reviews, you need to know the following information:

  • author's full name
  • title of the book
  • year of copyright or publication
This "bibliographic information" is found on the book's title page and on the verso (the back page of the title page). You can also use the TRU library catalogue to locate or verify this information.
Although the indexes all vary slightly, they will all provide a complete citation (journal name, volume number, issue number, date, and page(s)) that you will need to find the review.
If you need assistance in locating book reviews, interpreting citations, or finding reviews in the library, please come to your campus library's Information Desk for help.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The book reviews that are found through online booksellers such as Amazon.com are NOT scholarly sources. The editorial reviews that are from publisher publications (i.e. Booklist or Library Journal) are aimed at librarians and booksellers.