CRITICAL BOOK REVIEW GUIDELINES
1. Avoid wordiness; “verbosity is not a virtue.” Often an adjective or adverb can replace an extra phrase or sentence.
2. In general, use short sentences; don’t however be choppy.
3. Avoid the use of the words “just,” “great,” “really,” “truly,” “very,” and all other clichés and meaningless expressions like, “this was a really great book.”
4. Avoid using first person pronouns. You are reporting on the value of the book, not giving your personal opinion.
5. Correct all typographical errors before turning in the paper.
6. Include a title page
7. Staple the paper in the upper left hand corner.
Minimum of 5 full pages to maximum of 7 full pages. The title page does not count as one of the 5-7 pages.
The review should be a summary of the book’s contents (2 pages) and an analysis or critique of it (3 pages).
1. At the top of page 1, single-space a heading, including the author/editor, title, publisher, date, and number of pages.
2. State in 2 pages what the book is about. You do not have room to repeat what the author says. The principle to keep in mind is: “If someone who has never seen this book were to read my summary, would that person know what the book is about?”
3. The first sentence should contain a brief summary of the book, along with a comment on the author’s style.
4. Identify the book. Is it part of a series? A monograph? A biography? A collection of essays?
In 3 pages, analyze the book. Comment on such items as:
1. The author’s qualifications for writing. Is he/she competent and qualified?
2. The book’s thesis. What is the author’s point?
3. The book’s scope. How broadly is the main subject covered in the book?
4. The book’s relation to other literature on the subject. A rebuttal? A book supporting someone else’s view? An innovative view? Explain your reasons.
5. The book’s purpose.
6. The book’s sources. Primary or secondary? Has the author interpreted them correctly? Have major sources been omitted?
7. Whether the author has proved his/her point. Are you convinced? Why or why not?
8. The author’s bias.
9. The author’s mistakes in fact.
10. The author’s style. Is there a sentence worth quoting to illustrate the style, or to prove your point in another connection?
11. 3 insights from the book that you can apply to your personal evangelism efforts.
The last paragraph of the section should briefly summarize your impression of the book and its significance.