Book Review Checklist

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I remember having to write book review reports and so whether you’re writing them for a school homework assignment or to meet a professional deadline, here’s a Book Review Checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything out. Use to make sure that you’ve got everything covered and let me know if something’s missing that should be added to this checklist.

Preliminary Material

  • Is the title of the review clever/catchy?
  • Does the review supply basic publication data (i.e., author, title and subtitle, publisher’s name, year of publication, number of pages, number of illustration, price of book)?
  • Is the review geared towards a particular audience?

Opening

  • For a narrative opening:
    • Is the story interesting?
    • Is there enough narrative detail?
  • For an interactive opening: 
    • Is the opening successfully interactive (does it get the reader to mentally participate in a specified activity)?

Author

  • Does the review include background information on the book’s author?
  • Does the review include, if appropriate, comparisons and connections with other similar works by the same author? By different authors?
  • Does the review establish the book within its field (in relation to other books on the same or similar subject matter)?

Style

  • Does the review discuss the author’s style?
  • Does the writer use quotation to give examples of the writer’s style?

Book Summary and Critical Evaluation

  • Does the summary avoid a chapter-by-chapter format?
  • Does it clearly focus on one or two main points of (scientific) interest?
  • Does it focus on aspects of the book that would be of special interest to readers interested in science?
  • Does the review present the science clearly, in a way that non-experts can easily follow (i.e., does it translate the science)?
  • Is the summary detailed?
  • Is the summary critical – making clear what the reviewer likes, appreciates, or admires about the book?
  • Does the summary cover other, secondary points of interest?
  • Does the writer use analogies (etc.) to help summarize and explain the science?
  • Does the writer define any key scientific terms?
  • Does the writer use quotation to help present the summary?
  • Is the quotation used appropriate (i.e., does it help)?

Usability

  • Does the review make clear for whom the book is best suited (its intended readership)?
  • Does the review make clear form whom the book is not suitable?
  • Does the review stress what makes the book especially usable/reader-friendly?
  • Does the review use quotation to help make the book’s usability/reader-friendliness clear?

Negative Criticism

  • Is the review negatively critical of the book?
  • Does the review discuss faults or weaknesses of the book?
  • Does the review use quotation of illustrate or explain any faults or weaknesses of the book?

The Final Paragraph

  • Does the final paragraph work as a mini-version of the review?
  • Does it make clear what the reviewer likes best about the book?

Technical Matters

  • Is the review proofread and error-free from all spelling and grammar mistakes?
  • Are all the quotations anchored?
  • Does the review summarise the important points of the work?
    • For fiction: consider plot, character, setting and theme.
    • For nonfiction: consider focus and factual information.
    • For poetry: consider style, language, and theme.
  • Does the review incorporate a rating system with a key that explains the ranking?
  • Have facts been checked carefully for accuracy?

About Joanna

Checklistables.com Co-Founder
Joanna Miller

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