How to FIND... Book Reviews and Critiques

Librarian's Corner

  • About
  • How to Find a Review
  • Search ORU Databases for Reviews
  • 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.

How to Find 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.

Step 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.)

Step 2: Search a relevant database or look in an appropriate print index.

Many databases allow you to set limits such as "review" or "book review." In general, as you begin your search in a database, limit your search results to Publication Type: Review (shown below), or Document Type: Book Review, if available in the database.

EBSCO Book Review Limit

After your have done a search and have a list of results, use the Source Type category in the left sidebar and limit to Reviews. Just check the box.

EBSCO Review Limit

Step 3: Get the book 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 to Z Journal List > type periodical title > follow links to full text
  • If the article is not available at ORU, you may request it using the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) link in the database or the online ILL form.

Book Reviews - ORU Databases

New York Times Book Review
Full text; 1986 - present

As shown in the examples below, 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 How to Find... Articles

General Subjects

  • As you begin, in the Search Options box, select Document Type, Book Review.
  • Enter the author or title of the book in the text box.
    TIP: Use quotation marks to search a title as a phrase.
Religion / Theology

ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials
Includes more than 430,000 full text reviews of scholarly theological books.
Christian Periodical Index
Includes more than 84,000 linked full text reviews of more popular materials.

  • On the Advanced Search window, type the title and/or author.
    TIP: Use quotation marks to search the title as a phrase.
  • Under Search Options for Publication Type choose Review.
ATLA Book Review

Education Research Complete
- Includes more than 1 million full text reviews.

Same as above for other general subject EBSCO databases.

Or, as shown right:

  • Click the Thesaurus link (top menu).
  • Under Browsing: Education Thesaurus, type book reviews.
    Mark Relevancy Ranked.
    Click Browse. for Document Type choose Book Review.
  • Mark the checkbox for BOOKS — Reviews. Click the Add button. The descriptor "BOOKS -- Reviews" is entered in the test field. Click search or add more key terms, the title, and/or author(s).



Book Reviews, Education Research Complete

Book Reviews - Print Indexes

For older books, except for theology since ATLA Religion Database goes back to 1949, 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 with Full Text (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