Thursday, July 3, 2008

Well howdy (subtitled: How to write a book review?)

I hope all is well out there for everyone who reads this on occcasion (to those of you who don't, I hope all is terrible). Another birthday has passed this week (I turned 24 on July 1...I'm getting old) and that means new cool books. Two of my favorites are Warren H. Carroll's first volume in his History of Christendom series (this one is titled The Founding of Christendom). The other book I got was Ben Witherington III, What have they done with Jesus. I just finished a few books - one being Mike Aquilina's The Mass of the Early Christians, and another on which he was an editor titled The Great Life: Essays on Doctrine and Holiness in honor of Father Ronald Lawler, O.F.M. Cap. As well as reading Orchard and Riley's The Order of the Synoptics: Why Three Synoptics?

I'm mentioning these books because I want to be able to move into doing actual book reviews on the blog, but....I don't know how. Obviously I know how to write a book report from school, but when I sit down to write a book review for the blog I feel like I'm working without a framework and I don't like that. So, this is a post to see if anyone will divulge their book-reviewing secrets. Where do you start? What do you do while reading? How do you divide it up?


Charles said...


Although I have not written a ton of reviews (I think around six), I suggest that a book review basically has four major components.

1. Introduction. Here you introduce the author and sometimes the topic addressed in the book. If you are reviewing a commentary, the topic is self evident. But if you are reviewing a book addressing a topic such as the new perspective on Paul then a brief introduction might be appropriate.

2. Summary. Here you summarize the organization and contents of the book.

3. Evaluation. This is where you interact with the material of the book. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the work?

4. Recommendation. Do you recommend that that the reader of your review read/purchase this book? In your recommendation you might also note who you think might most profit from the book (laymen, theological students, scholars, pastors, etc.).

I usually keep these four categories in mind when I am reading the book.

Clifford B. Kvidahl said...


Here is a link to a paper by Joel B. Green of Fuller on how to write a book review. Hope it helps brother.


Cheryl said...

I've been reviewing books of various genres for about two years now. Most of them you can find here:

I recently read a great book about reviewing titled, "The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing" and I would highly recommend it. You'll find a review for it on the site I posted above.

Good luck!