As I See It

The Poet’s Book reviews are frequently written reviews by: The poet himself, here on these pages as part of the publicity process for a book shortly after publication or republication. We tell it as we see it.

Courtesy of The-poet's Author's page


The Poet's Book Review

Book review

A book review is a critical assessment of a book. It describes and evaluates the quality and significance of a book and does not merely summarise the content.


We seek to identify:

·         Author's content and purpose

·         Structure

·         Audience



·         Accuracy

·         Up-to-datedness of the information

·         The sources used to justify the author's stance



·         What issues does it raise?

·         What issues are omitted?

·         The effect of the book


·         Our recommendation

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How we structure and format our reviews

Before reading, WE:

Write some questions based on the list below:

·         Why has the book been written?

·         When was it written?

·         What is the scope of the book?

·         Who is the intended audience?

·         How accurate is the author's content?

·         How (well) is evidence used?

·         Are there any omissions?


Find out about the author:

·         Qualifications

·         Background

·         Affiliations

·         Other works (if any)



Locate some other sources on the same content/issue and/or the same genre to provide you with background and other views. 


During reading We: 

Pay attention to introduction and preface as this is where authors often present the reasons for their book, their perspective and those of any other contributors.

Look at table of contents and book structure. This gives us a quick overview of the contents; looking at any pictures/diagrams, tables/graphs, in the chapters shows us some of the strategies the author has used to get the meaning across. These contents may give a clearer indication of the intended audience as well. For example the information in tables may be very technical, indicating interpretation will be easier for those with some prior knowledge.

Do not skip abstracts and summaries. These are a quick way to get an overview of the book (from the author's point of view).

Take notes and highlight major points, the sources used, and the logic of the argument presented.

Note whether the information is new. Is the author refuting earlier works, building on another author's ideas or rehashing an earlier piece of work?

How easy is it to understand the author's point of view? If it is difficult, what is the reason?

After reading We:

Use our notes to evaluate the book. Use our other sources too. Decide what recommendation we would make to readers about the different aspects. Including its readability. 


Structuring the book review

Most book reviews are between 100-500 words, though an academic review may go up to 1500.

At the start, put the complete bibliographic information:

Title in full, author, place of publication, publisher, date of publication edition, number of pages.

Note: A published review will usually include price and ISBN number.

Our introduction will usually include:

·         our overall impression of the book

·         a statement about the author

·         a statement on the purpose of the book

·         a statement of the significance of the work

·         a comment about the relationship between this work and others by the same author, the same subject and the same genre

The body of our review develops the points we want to make:

·         greater detail on the author's thesis and a summary of the main points

·         evaluation of strengths, weaknesses, contribution or bias

·         the evidence that is the basis of your critique

The conclusion (last paragraph) includes:

·         our final assessment

·         restatement of overall impression

·         (re)statement of our recommendation

No new information will be included in the conclusion.


Reference list: this is put at the end as usual.