• Use the following checklist as a guide for writing critical book reviews.
1. What does the book cover? (i.e., this is the summary part.)
2. Who is the author, what are his or her potential biases, a nd who is the intended audience
(i.e., this is the background part.)
3. What are the major points that the author makes in the book? Please understand that
an author did no t spend sometimes years to write a book, research a topic extensively,
gather opinio ns and stories, etc. just to hear hims e lf or her self talk. She or he uses
arguments to persuade you, the reader, of something. In other words, it is unlikely to
be meaningless writing .
4. Do you think that the arguments and ideas pres ented in the book are cor rect? Do you
accept them? Why or why not? Speciﬁcally, does the author substantiate his or her
points satisfactorily with information, logic, examples, etc.?
5. Do the author’s ideas agree with your experience and knowledge?
6. If you have read material from other resources (news articles for the c urrent event
assignment, for instance) on the same general topic, how does this book compare? It is
important to realize that knowledge evolves and thus, a book might be outdated; hence,
you must keep a critical mind while reading.
7. Are there special features about this book which interest or disturb you, such as unusual
information or new ways of look ing at an issue?
8. Are there questions raised fo r you in this book which the author does not answer?
9. Are there additional comments you should include in order to make the esse nc e of this
book understood by someone reading your review?
10. Does the thesis of the book make you reconsider what you knew? One can argue that if
an argument does not persuade you to change in some way, then it is pointless. Typically,
reviewers will structure this kind of review by expressing 3-5 remarkable ways in which
the book aﬀected them. Note that there is a diﬀerence between a book that aﬀects you
and a book that teaches you. Sometimes, the diﬀerence is subtle, but it is worthwhile
to distinguish these two qualities.