FIND... Book Reviews and Critiques

Librarian's Corner

  • About
  • Steps to finding a book review
  • Databases
  • Print indexes

Book Reviews - About

A book review, or critical review, is an evaluation of an author's work in which the reviewer delineates the success or failure of the work in the light of the author's purpose. A review does the following:

Tells what the author does.
Tells how well he/she does it (reviewer's opinion).
Gives examples from the work to support the evaluation.
Presents an evaluation as free from bias and prejudice as possible so that the reader of the review can form his/her own opinion of the work.
Compares the book with others of similar nature.

Almost all college level English composition textbooks contain information about writing book reviews. For example,

Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers, call #PE1408.T696 LRC-R
The Little English Handbook, call #PE1408.C587 LRC-R

To find other discipline related and general books on writing book reviews, such as those listed below, use the library catalog.

Biomedical Scientific & Technical Book Reviewing, call #Z1035.A1C46
A Short Guide to Writing a Critical Review, call #PN98.B7A4

Try a keyword QuickSearch in the Library Catalog:
book reviewing. Click GO.

Steps to Finding a Book Review

Books reviews are generally found in periodicals (journals, magazines or newspapers). To locate a review, search a database or look in a print index and then locate the full text of the book review.

  1. Have the necessary information, such as:
    Complete title of book
    Author's full name
    Date of copyright
    Edition of book
    Whether it is a reprint (If not a first edition, you may need to know the original copyright date.)
  2. Search a relevant database or look in an appropriate print index.
  3. Get the review article.
    In a database:
    • Click the HTML, PDF, or other full text link for the article review.
    • If full text is not available, click "Check for full text" (or similar link) to see if the article is available elsewhere in the library. Look for the years and volumes that you need. Identify the format (online, microform, print). If the years/volumes you need are in microform or print you will need to record the call number. Microfilm and print periodicals are located in the Periodicals area, LRC-4th floor.
    In a print index:
    • Identify where the book review can be found then record the citation information: periodical title, date, volume/issue, and page number.
    • SEARCH: A-Z Journal List > type periodical title > follow links to full text

    If the article is not available at ORU
    , you can request it through the online Interlibrary Loan (ILL) link in the database or online ILL form.


Some databases allow you to limit the search to book reviews. When choosing a database, subject specific databases related to the book topic may contain more reviews and greater depth than a general, multidisciplinary database such as Academic Search Premier.

Note: Not all databases will contain full text. See: Find Article

General Subjects

Academic Search Premier, Masterfile Premier, or Newspaper Source. 

  • On the Refine Search tab for Document Type choose Book Review (or similar).
  • Enter the author or title of the book in the Find text box. (Use quotation marks to search the title as a phrase.)


Religion / Theology

ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials for reviews of scholarly theological books.

  • On the Refine Search tab for Publication Type choose Review.
  • Enter the author or title of the book in the Find text box. (Use quotation marks to search the title as a phrase.)



Christian Periodical Index (for reviews of more popular materials)

  • Click the Index tab.
  • For Index to Search, choose Document Type (DT).
  • Mark the check box for Review.
  • Enter your term, such as an author or title.

Education Research Complete

  • In Advanced Search, for Document Type choose Book Review.
  • Enter the author or title of the book in the Find text box. (Use quotation marks to search the title as a phrase.)


  • In Advanced Search, for Publication Type choose Book/Product Review.
  • Enter the author or title of the book in the Find text box. (Use quotation marks to search the title as a phrase.)

Alternative Resources - For Synopsis/Annotations

Books in Print (BIP)
If you are unable to find a book review, searching Books in Print may be helpful. There are no signed book reviews but most book records include a synopsis and some include multiple reviews.

  • Type your search.
  • From the list of records, use the BIP Legend icons that precede the book title to identify which titles have Reviews and/or Synopsis.
  • Click the title to access the full record.


  • Click the Title Reviews tab, if available.

Print Indexes

For older books, except for theology since ATLA Religion Database goes back to1949, you may need to use the bound print indexes in the Reference Room (LRC-R) or Periodicals area index shelf (LRC-P). When using a print index:

  1. Look in the volume with the year your book was copyright, or in the following two or three years.
  2. Locate the "Book Review" section.
  3. Look up by title or author.

Many of the following volumes of bound indexes in the ORU library cannot be accessed online. Older volumes of these titles may be available in the same call number section in the main library collection.

Title and Call Number

General Sources of Book Reviews

Book Review Digest (1905-1992), call #Z1219.C95 LRC-R
Book Review Index (1965-1993), call #Z1035.A1B6 LRC-R


Christian Periodicals Index (1956-2000), call #Z7753.C5 LRC-P
Index to Book Reviews in Religion (1986-1991), call #Z7751.I52 LRC-P (Supersedes the book review section of Religion Index One after 1985.)
Religion Index One (1949-1985) Book Review Section, call #Z7753.A5 LRC-P

History, Humanities, Political Science and Sociology

America: History and Life (Part B, Book Reviews) (1974-1993), call #Z1236.A48 PT.B LRC-P
Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals (1886-1974), call #Z1035.A1C6 LRC-5
Index to Book Reviews in the Humanities (1961-1988), call #Z1035.A1I63 LRC-R

Children's Books

Children's Book Review Index (1965-1992), call #Z1037.A1C475 LRC-R
Children's Literature Review (1976-1993), call #Z1037.A1C5 LRC-R