Book Review Grading Guide - shows students how professors will grade for content and style and gives the student tips on writing book reviews.
Research Paper Grading Guide - shows students how professors will grade for content and style.
SBC Style Guide - shows students how to format essays and papers.
Purdue Online Writing Lab - is an excellent resource for referencing in MLA style.
See MLA help online for extensive examples and instructions on citing all types of works.
- author (brief statement)
10% Purpose of the book
- structure of book
- contents explained
- development of author's argument
- author's intentions accomplished?
- argument convincing?
- impact of book on reader
Tips for completing a thorough book review:
1. Read the book
Read the book carefully. Pay particular attention to the following features, if present:
- Preface – in which the author may state how and why the book is written
- Introduction – in which the author explains the purpose, methodology and underlying assumptions of the book.
- Conclusion – in which the author sums up the argument.
- Structure – the titles of individual chapters and their order.
Keep pen and paper by you as you read, making notes that will aid you in writing the review. Note passages with which you agree or disagree, and with which you might want to interact in the review. Note quotes which you might want to include.
2. Write the review
The target audience for a book review is not your professor, who knows the book well already, but someone who has not yet read the book and is considering doing so. Your task is to advise this potential reader whether or not to proceed.
As you write the report refer both to your notes and to the book itself. Your review should include the following:
- Bibliographic information: include all bibliographic information using correct MLA style.
- Introduction: the opening paragraph of any assignment is the most difficult to write, and a book review is no exception. This should be a brief paragraph which introduces the author, the book, or the subject. You might give a brief statement about the author, about the course for which you are writing the report, about the wider scholarship in which the author is participating, or about a matter of current affairs that makes the book particularly appropriate. You should find the author's preface especially helpful in stimulating your thinking.
- Statement of purpose: the purpose of the book. Why did the author write it? How does the author see the book fitting into the wider scholarship?
- Analysis: explain the structure of the book, then explain its contents. Describe the development of the author's argument. While your analysis must cover the whole book, this section should not be overly long, for it is the next stage (evaluation) that is the most important.
- Evaluation: a critical appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the book is the most important component of any review. Does the book accomplish the author's intentions? Is the argument convincing? Is the book a significant contribution to the field? You must back up your position with reasoned argument. The review is not a platform for your own views, but for the evaluation of the author's views and logic. It is therefore important that you try to approach the task without prejudice. Your evaluation should include the impact of the book upon you.
- specific topic
- grabbed attention
- thesis statement
45% Quality and quantity of understanding of subject field
20% Coherent development of topic
- distinct points
- smooth transitions
- logically organized
- supporting evidence
- effective wording
10% Scope and integration of bibliography
- summary statement
5% Format of the paper
- title page & outline
- footnoting & bibliographic outlay
10% Grammar & Construction
- Spelling & punctuation
- Paragraph construction
- Sentence structure