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Biology (and other Life Sciences).

FORMATTING REQUIREMENTS FOR BOOK REVIEWS

  • 3-5 double-spaced pages with 1-inch margins and in a standard 12-point font.
  • List only your name and a simple title (e.g.,“Book Review: “A TroublesomeInheritance” at the top of the first page. This should take up 2 lines,maximum.
  • Include your Works Cited/Bibliography at the end. This will not contributeto your total page count. See Guidelines for References later in thisdocument for preferred formatting.
  • Quotes may be useful in writing a book review, but keep them to brief,especially relevant passages that strongly support a specific point you aimto make. Use quotes sparingly, or, even better, avoid them altogether.

BOOK REVIEW GUIDELINES

For your book reviews, you should aim to provide a critical analysisof each book.This could be an analysis of a book as a whole, or you may choose to focus on just asection of the book. This is not a simple summary of a book, but rather a criticalassessment of the author’s goals, whether or not they achieved them, and theoverall effectiveness of the book (or the section on which your review focuses).

An excellent guide for writing a successful book review can be found here:

https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/writing-book-reviews.html

Critique v. Summary: Please keep in mind that, although a good review will includea summary, it should be minimal. In the book review writing guide listed at the linkabove you will find this quote: “There is, of course, no set formula, but a generalrule of thumb is that the first one-half to two-thirds of the review shouldsummarize the author’s main ideas and at least one-third should evaluate the book.

Check with your instructor.” As your instructor, I am telling you to flip that advice:only one-third of a review should involve summary, while two-thirds should focuson critical evaluation of the book.

Outside Sources: You also need to do a bit of outside research for the reviews youwrite. Each of your book reviews for this course should include 3 peer-reviewedsources.

Examples: Selected examples of book reviews will be made available.(I’ll uploaded right after) In the meantime, visit the following link (and scroll down to thesection “Book Reviews”) to read free, open-access reviews of a controversial bookentitled A Troublesome Inheritance, by Nicholas Wade:

http://www.bioone.org/toc/hbio/86/3.

These may be particularly useful, since theyare academic book reviews and published in a peer-reviewed journal (HumanBiology). Notice how the authors of these reviews use outside sources to back uptheir critiques. The book reviews you write for this course will not be as long or asdetailed as most of these examples, but they should follow their overall form.Importantly, as you will be writing academic book reviews, you should focus on thescience and information conveyed in each book and not its entertainment value

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