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A book review is more than just a summary of a book’s contents. It involves some evaluation of the purpose and approach of the book and its contribution to its field or area of research. You might be asked to write a book review in order to help you develop skills in identifying an author’s argument or standpoint, and in assessing the context in which the text was written.
Book reviews can vary in their purpose, focus and length, so do check your assignment brief and criteria for what your lecturer wants you to include in the review.
Whatever the length or format of your book review, you will need to think critically about the text. This short guide gives some prompt questions to start this critical thinking process:
Make sure your judgements on the book are carefully reasoned using specific examples from the text, not just your personal preferences or likes and dislikes about the book. See this guide for short extracts of how to make a reasoned judgement about a book:
You might be set an individual book review as preparation for a longer literature review assignment. However, a literature review is not just a series of book reviews stitched together. See our top tips for more on what is required in a literature review.