Reviewing Nonfiction Books Kati Tvaruzka Education Librarian/Asst. Professor UW-Eau Claire, McIntyre Library email@example.com 715-836-4522
What’s in a book review? • INTRODUCTION • DESCRIPTION • ANALYSIS • AUDIENCE • YOUR RECOMMENDATION
INTRODUCTION • You have one sentence to catch your audiences’ attention • “This accessible manual, whose authors are affiliated with the SUNLINK Project, Florida's K-12 public school union catalog of library media resources, provides concise and practical applications for weeding school library collections.”* * from my review of Less is More: a Practical Guide to Weeding School Library Collections. Collection Building (forthcoming)
description • A brief overview of the book • Contents • Scope • Style • A “springboard” into your critique
description “… consists of seventy-one topics for weeding organized in general Dewey order… includes general weeding guidelines for that area by age of publication, rationale for weeding that particular topic, Dewey numbers to check for similar items, and finally specific criteria for weeding in that area… suggestions for replacing titles and a sample of items that deserve serious consideration from actual school catalogs are also included.*” * from my review of Less is More: a Practical Guide to Weeding School Library Collections. Collection Building (forthcoming)
analysis • Quality of information • Quality of illustrations • Access to information • Presentation
audience • For whom is the book intended? “This straight-forward, easy-to-understand work would be a solid addition to any school library, but will be of particular interest to those new to the field. It may not be of much use for the seasoned practitioner who has already made a serious commitment to weeding or for those who have already developed a weeding style and criteria that works for them.*” * from my review of Less is More: a Practical Guide to Weeding School Library Collections. Collection Building (forthcoming)
audience • Does the book/author do what it says it will do for this particular audience? • Your review should include this information
But how Do I review something I know nothing about? • You don’t need to be an expert – the author should be! • It will take some extra legwork
The extra legwork • Look at other titles on the same subject • Research the author • What tools does the book have? • Re-read the book’s introduction and jacket cover – promises kept or broken?
Pitfalls to avoid! • Read the book! Don’t try to shortcut! • A review is not a summary! • Don’t plagiarize! • Don’t try to cram in everything! Focus on one or two things that are most important.
Pitfalls to avoid! • Distinguish between the author's opinions and your own • Re-SEE, don’t re-TELL • Don’t give away plot twists! • Don’t give away the ending!