Book Review Assignment
One almost universal assignment in a college
level history class is the critical book review. A review
demonstrates several key objectives of the course
: effective writing,
knowledge of a particular historical
event, an understanding of historical research, and an ability to think critically about the works of others.
written works. They offer a brief description of a book’s key points and provide an
ppraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the book.
Readers sometimes confuse book reviews with book reports, but the two are
identical. Book reports
commonly describe what happens in a work; their focus is primarily on giving an account of the majo
plot, characters, and/or main idea of the work. Most
often, book reports are a K
A book review gives readers a sneak peek at what a book is like, whether or not the reviewer enjoyed it,
and details on reading the book.
Typical book revie
from three to five pages.
exceed five pages, edit. No more than five pages.
writing assignment is
a critical review of the
Coming of Age in Mississippi
Before You Read
We will use MLA format for this
writing assignment. If you need assistance, see the UP Library website:
Library. Scroll down to MLA. Refer to the Citation Guide.
ay also use Purdue
OWL (online writing lab)
. See MLA Guide.
Before you begin to read, consider the elements you will need to be included in your review. The followi
items may help:
Who is the author? What else has s/he written? Has this author won any awards?
place to find information about a particular author is in the Contemporary Authors database by Gale. To
find it: from Lone Star College’s
Homepage, click on Library. Next, click Find. Then select Article
Databases; find Contemporary Authors. You will be asked for your LSC library card number. Once you
are in the database, fill in the author’s name; you will receive a lot of information
about the author.
It is a
that you use this source for your paper. Do not rely on
for author information.
You must document your research; use MLA format.
What type of book is this: fiction, nonfiction,
etc.? Who is the intended audience
for this work? What is the purpose of the work?
This is usually found in the preface, forward, or
introduction. An author’s purpose is important. You will more easily be able to determine if the author
, which is a primary objective of the assignment.
What is the main idea of the work? What makes it good, different, or groundbreaking?
Are there characters in the work? Who are the principal characters?
How do they affect the
Do you empathize with them?
Read the book!
Read critically. Identify the author’s thesis, the main argument presented in the book.
See how the author uses evidence and examples to support arguments. Does the author use pr
secondary sources? Consider the author’s style
and presentation. Is the book well
might think about taking notes as you read.
As You Read
As you read, determine how you will structure the summary portion or background structure of your
review. Be ready to take notes on the book’s key points, characters, and/or themes. Be ready to cite
significant details in the body of your paper.
use direct quotations in your paper.
“essence” of the quote, in your own words. U
se MLA format in “giving credit where credit is due”.
are critiquing someone’s work; give that person credit for the ideas.
When You Are Ready to Write
r work should be original, but should reflect what you gleaned from the book. In using the author’s
ideas, do document those ides. Use (MLA) citations/ documentation throughout your paper. That should
be a requirement in any college
level course. Do in
clude a works cited page.
Consider this outline
however, it is not a model that you
follow. Your paper must be in essay format, not showing this
My Writing Guide
for scoring guidelines. Your might want to be famil
iar with this bef
Background on the author
Author’s purpose in writing the book
II. Critical Summary
A. Determine the thesis of the book
B. Enough summary of content to support the author’s thesis
Find examples, “nuggets”
to support his/her thesis
III. Style and
the format outlined in my
ssist in your writing the paper
B. Pay attention to the “friendly reminders”
C. Type your p
aper. Use double spacing. Use a 12 point
use either Arial or Times New Roman.
D. Use MLA format for your documentation.
A. Historical contribution of the book
B. Overall worth of the book. As a “historian
, would you recommend the book to others?
Why or why not?
After writing, critique your own work.
Is there too much/
enough summary? Does your argument about
Do your “nuggets” support/enhance your critique
Do “proof” your work. Use
read over your paper.
The paper’s length should run between three and five
pages. If it is longer than five pages, edit it.
Remember, no more than five pages is acceptable.
Submitting the Paper
endar for due dates of the assignments)
1. You will need a cover sheet, to include: the paper’s title, your nam
e, your class (name and time),
the name of your instructor.
. Paper must be turned in
electronically, to the
, and to me as
a hard copy of
If you do
submit your paper electronically, you
grade will be halved!
Is this question part of your Assignment?
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