Write a short review of a book
A Journal of Chicano Studies. The article was updated in Cite as Belcher, Wendy Laura. Why Write a Book Review? Writing book reviews is not only the easiest and quickest route to publication, it is a good way to improve your writing skills, develop your analytical skills, learn how the journal publishing process works, and get to know editors. Indeed, scholars in smaller fields sometimes get together and assign books for review so that every book published in their field is reviewed somewhere. If you are doing more than two book reviews a year, you may be spending too much time on book reviews and not enough on your other writing.
Choosing a Book Think about what kind of book would be most useful to you in writing your dissertation, finalizing a paper for publication, or passing your exams.
Since book reviews do take time, like any writing, it is best to chose a book that will work for you twice, as a publication and as research. Alternatively, some recommend that graduate students focus on reviewing textbooks or anthologies, since such reviews take less background knowledge and editors can find it difficult to find people willing to do such reviews. Although the traditional book review is of one book, editors will often welcome book reviews that address two or more related books--called a review essay.
Choose a book that 1 is in your field, 2 is on a topic for which you have sound background knowledge, 3 has been published in the past two or three years, and 4 has been published by a reputable publisher i. Books on hot topics are often of special interest to editors.
It can also be rewarding to pick an obscure but useful book in order to bring attention to it. To avoid complications, it is best not to review books written by your advisor, spouse, or ex! To identify a suitable book in your field: Look up the call number of the favorite book in your field and go to the stacks of your university library. Do a shelf search around the call number to see if anything similar or related has been published in the past couple of years.
Go to any book database—your university library on-line, WorldcatAmazon. Read magazines that review books before publication—such as ChoiceLibrary Journal, or Kirkus Reviews —to get a sense for interesting books that will be coming out. You can get copies of books for review before they are published. Editors especially like reviews of just published books. Read those academic journals that list books recently received for review or recently published in their area. Ask faculty members in your department for recommendations.
What are the parts that make up the whole? Choose one or a few points to discuss about the book. Kids in the age range would like this book. This book is very interesting. Do you think bugs are creepy? I love that I could see into her mindset teview read exactly what she was feeling when she thought out situations.
Once you have identified several books, locate copies and skim them. Pick the book that seems the strongest. Do not pick a book that has major problems or with which you disagree violently. As a graduate student, you do not have the protection of tenure and may one day be evaluated by the person whose book you put to the ax. If you really feel strongly that you must write a negative review of a certain book, go ahead and write the review. Academia is, after all, quite oedipal and young scholars do sometimes make their reputations by deflating those who came before them. Just realize that going on record in such a public way may have consequences.
Choosing a Journal Identify several leading journals in your field that publish book reviews. One way to do this is to search an on-line article database or something like Book Review Digestif your library has access. Using several key words from your field, limit your search to book reviews and note the journals where the results were published. Before starting to write your review, contact the book review editor of one of the journals. This is important standard practice; in particular because most journals do not accept unsolicited reviews.
This e-mail need not be longer than two sentences: I am currently writing my dissertation at Stanford on the history of the field of [name of a field related to book]. Publishers frequently send books for review straight to journals or, if the book editor directly contacts them, straight to you. If you get a free book, make sure to write the review. If the book review editor says yes, they would like a review of the book from you, make sure to ask if the journal has any book review submission guidelines.
In particular, you want to make sure you understand how long their book reviews tend to be. If the book review editor says the book is already under review, move on to your next journal choice or ask the editor if they have any books on the topic that they would like reviewed.
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You are under no obligation to review a book they suggest, just make sure to get back to them with a decision. Sit at a desk with pen and paper in hand. If you have read in this active way, putting together the book review should be quick and straightforward. Paper and pen provides a little friction to prevent such drifting.
Take particular note of the title does the book deliver what the title suggests it is going to deliver?
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Some questions to keep in mind click the following article you are reading: Does the book do what it says it is going to do? Is the book a contribution to the field or discipline? Does the book relate to a current debate or trend in the field and if so, how?
What is the theoretical lineage or school of thought out of which the book rises? Is the book well-written? What are the books terms and are they defined? How accurate is the information e. Are the illustrations helpful? If there are no illustrations, should there have been?
Who would benefit from reading this book? How does the book compare to other books in the field? This can provide you with useful context. Making a Plan Book reviews are usually to 2, words in length. It is best to aim for about 1, words, as you can say a fair amount in 1, words without getting bogged down. Some say a review should be written in a month: This will keep you on task and stop you from straying into writing an academic essay.
Classic book review structure is as follows: Title including complete bibliographic citation for the work i. One paragraph identifying the thesis, and whether the author achieves the stated purpose write a short review of a book the book. One or two paragraphs summarizing the book. Allowing a great deal of time to fall between reading the book and writing about it is unfair to you and the author. The point of writing something short like a book review is to do it quickly.
Is the book a contribution to the field? Does it add to our knowledge? Should this book be read and by whom? Do not cover everything in the book. Judge the book by its intentions not yours. Since a book is only to pages, it cannot possibly click the richness of any topic. If the book purports to be about ethnicity and film and yet lacks a chapter on Latinos, by all means, mention it. Another tic of reviewers is to focus too much on books the author did not cite. If you are using their bibliography just to display your own knowledge it will be obvious to the reader.
Keep such criticisms brief. It is best to paraphrase or use short telling quotes within sentences. Other For further advice about writing for publication, see Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success by Wendy Laura Belcher Sage, Writing the Academic Book Review I no just click for source teach this coursebut you might want to think about teaching please click for source, so I provide the information here.
This workshop aids students in actually writing and publishing a book review for a peer-reviewed journal.
At the click at this page session, students receive instruction on why graduate students should or should not write book reviews, how to choose a book for review, how to chose a journal for submission, how to read a book for review, how to plan and structure a book review, and five common pitfalls of reviewing.
Students also form small groups to discuss the book each plans to review. At the second meeting, students bring a draft of their book review for exchange and feedback.
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At the third meeting, students arrive with a final version of their essay to submit to an editor for publication. This workshop is sometimes offered by a particular journal with the editors serving on a panel the first night to provide students with specific advice for submitting reviews to their journal. A Journal of Chicano Studieswith the editors Chon A. Noriega and Alicia Gaspar de Alba.