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A book review is a descriptive, evaluative account and discussion of a book written by a contemporary critic, often a scholar. According to L. King, a book review "can first of all indicate to the reading public some general idea of the contents and it can offer a critique, an evaluation of merit. These two functions are rather distinct and yet they belong together".

Indexes and abstracts, among other databases, will help you locate book reviews. In order to locate a book review you must have the following information.

  1. Author's full name
  2. Full title of the book
  3. The year in which the book was first published. Check the back of the title page for this information or consult the catalogue.
This is a selected guide to important sources in the J.N. Desmarais Library
related to finding and writing book reviews.
Proxy server accounts  are available to Laurentian University members who wish to use licensed products from off campus.
How to Begin
  1. Choose an appropriate database.
  2. Find a reference for a review and if the text is not available on-line, write down the name of the journal it is in, the volume, issue and page number(s).
  3. Type the full title of the journal into the catalogue to locate the periodical(s) in which the reviews appear.
  4. Consult several reviews of the same book for a more balanced assessment.
Important to Remember

When using any of the "print" sources in this guide, begin with the volume for the year the book was published. If a review is not listed in this volume, you should check at least two successive years. Reviews may be published a few years after the book's release.

Multidisciplinary Sources

Current Reviews

  • JSTOR [Coverage varies, typically to Present minus 3-5 years]  Under Item Type, select Reviews.
  • Lexis-Nexis Academic Click on Advanced Options, select Newspapers and then using the "Select a Segment" option, pick Subject and then type in Book Reviews within the (   ).
  • ProQuest Platform Databases.  Under Document Type, select Review.
  • Web of Science [1900 to present].   Search the title of your book and then, when you get results, in the Document Types section (left), limit your results to Book Reviews.

Older Reviews