Thank you for your interest in reviewing books for Wisconsin English Journal! For ideas, see the attached list-of-current-publications. Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive, and reviewers will have to acquire titles independently from the publisher or a library.
Think of the review as a vehicle for examining and discussing issues raised, with an eye toward the benefit of those who might not presently have time to read the book but who nevertheless need to learn more about its basic approach. Reviewers should inform these readers about the merits and/or shortcomings the book may have. From information based on a well-written review, the reader may conclude that this book is either indispensable or inconsequential.
Introduction. As you begin, provide a complete bibliographical entry of the book in APA style at the top of the first page. Then, briefly introduce the book, the author, the intended audience, and other matters that you deem germane.
Brief Summary. This is a crucial step because the thesis contains the reason why the author wrote this particular book (there may be dozens on the market with similar subject matter). The thesis will state the author’s basic presuppositions and approach. The critical nature of the book review will then grow from the reviewer’s conclusion that the book does or does not achieve the author’s stated purpose.
Critical Evaluation. The main body will be concerned with thesis development. That is, did the author achieve the stated purpose? In this section the reviewer will inspect each chapter to see how the thesis is (or is not) developed. Many critical book reviews will contain both praise and criticism, carefully weighed and balanced against one another. Be specific in your evaluations. Don’t just tell the reader about the publication; tell and show the reader with concrete examples and specific, cited references.
Conclusion. This final section should include the major strengths and weaknesses of the book and evaluate its value for readers who may be interested in that particular field of inquiry. Your primary purpose in this section is to respond both positively and negatively to the book’s contents and presentation. Central to this is the basic question of whether or not the author has achieved the book’s stated purpose.
To submit a book review, follow WEJ‘s submission guidelines.