English Literature: Finding Book Reviews

  • Last Updated: Nov 30, 2022 2:36 PM
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Book Reviews

Book Reviews can often provide useful criticism and analysis of literary works.

Book reviews can be a huge help in the following instances

  • If the work has not been written about extensively in the academic journal literature, there still may be significant  & detailed reviews. 
  • If the work was considere "popular" rather than literary when it came out. Often these have reviews from that time, but are not covered in MLA till much later.  Example Wide Sargasso Sea was published in 1966 but no criticism appears in MLA till 1980.  However, there are several reviews published in 1966-67.
  • If the work is a Children's or Young adult book - these titles have more reviews than literary articles.
  • If the work is a Poetry book - these are often reviewed more than they are written about in the academic journal literature, especially for minor and contemporary poets.  
  • If you want information on the contemporary reception of a particular work. 

Use the Tools Below to Find Book Reviews Based on the Work's Publication Date 

Books Published 1983 - Present

For books published between 1983 & The Present ~ Use The Online Database - Book Review Digest Plus

To access Book Review Digest Plus : 

  • Go to the Library's Webpage.
  • Choose the Databases Tab in the center box.
  • Pull down the list and choose Book Review Digest Plus

To Search Book Review Digest Plus : 

  • Type in the title of the Book you want to find Reviews of  
  • Change the Field Option to TITLE
  • Click on the item in the list that represents the book itself - not individual reviews  
  • Scroll down and click on the link listed as "Reviews of this Title"

Example : 

Books Published prior to 1900

Books Published Between 1900 - 1982

For Books Published between 1900-1982, you must use the Print Index Book Review Digest. 

To locate the Book Review Digest:

Go to Seymour Library, First floor.  Go to the reference desk, and then facing the reference desk turn left to go down the North Aisle.  You will see a shelf of books on the right about 3/4 of the way back.  Here you will find the Book Review Digest.  

To Use the Book Review Digest

  • Determine the Publication Year for the work you want to find reviews of ~ Often googling "Publication date of ...." is the easiest way to do this.  If you can't find it, check WorldCat and sort by Oldest date or ask a Librarian.
  • Pull the volume of Book Review Digest for that year.  
  • Look up the author of your work alphabetically.  
  • Under the author name - Look for the title of the Work, If your work or author is not listed, look in the following year.  Sometimes it takes a bit for the reviews to come out and be indexed.
  • The Reviews will be listed underneath.  
  • To Decipher the Entry -
    • Each review will have the following elements
      • Author of the review
      • Journal Title Abbreviation
      • Volume number
      • Year
      • Page Numbers
    • Look up the Journal title abbreviation in the list in the front of the book.  
    • Jot down all the information.  
  • To Get the Review
    • Look up the Journal title in the library catalog.
    •  If it is listed, click on the journal title to get the info on what years we have.  
    • If we have the year needed, Check to see if our subscription is Online or In Print.
      • If In Print, Go to the Bound Periodicals section the basement to find the journal.  The journals are arranged A-Z by journal title and then by year and volume#.  Find the Volume you need, and turn to the correct page.  
      • If Online, click on the link and navigate to the year, volume and page.
    • If we don't have the year needed, then go to your  Illiad account.  Choose New Article Request, and fill in the information requested with the information from the Index.