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How To: Find Book Reviews


What is a Book Review?

Book review. A short article summarizing and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of books, typically those new to market.

Types of Book Reviews

In general, a review helps the reader assess contemporary reaction to and reception of a written work. Different types of reviews serve different purposes and are aimed at different audiences.

Popular review. Popular book reviews are written in plain language for general audiences and are typically aimed at consumers deciding whether to purchase the title in question.

Critical review. Critical reviews tend to be lengthier than popular reviews, and while still aimed at a general audience, are usually written by someone with expertise in a particular field. These reviews are used not only for purchasing decisions, but aid the reader in assessing how well a particular topic might be covered.

Scholarly review. Scholarly reviews are typically written by academics with subject expertise and published in scholarly or peer-reviewed journals. these reviews are interesting in their own right in that they give more substantial coverage of the work as a whole and engage the review's reader in a discussion of the relevance of the work to its discipline.

Searching for Book Reviews

To find reviews of specific books, do a search pairing:

  1. The title of the book, AND
  2. The author's last name
  3. Use of the "Book Review" content type or article type (if one exists) in the database you are searching

Additional tips:

  • if a book's title has more than one word, place the title in quotes as a phrase
  • search for only the main title-- leave off any subtitle
Example Search for a Work of Non-Fiction

Search for Jodi Dean's 1998 work, Aliens in America: Conspiracy Cultures from Outerspace to Cyberspace.

  • search string: "Aliens in America" AND Dean

Example Search for a Work of Fiction.

Search for a review of the 1996 work, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

  • search string: "Infinite Jest" AND Wallace

Sources for Current Reviews

Sources for Older Reviews