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Linguistics: Book reviews


It is very important to understand the difference between (literary) book review, literature review, and literary criticism.


If you want to learn more on this subject click HERE.

What is a literary book review?

A book review (or book report) is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit.

It is often carried out in periodicals, as school work, or on the internet. Reviews are also often published in magazines and newspapers.

Find more

The following guide has a chronological list of sources for book reviews.



To find book reviews in Orbis, view Selected Subject Headings


Additional resources:


Combined retrospective index to book reviews in humanities journals, 1802-1974.
Executive editor, Evan Ira Farber, managing editor, Susan Hannah, senior editor, Stanley Schindler. Woodbridge, CT. : Research Publications, 1982-1984. 10 v. SML, Starr Main Reference Room, Z1035 A1 C63 (LC)+ Oversize.


Combined retrospective index to book reviews in scholarly journals, 1886-1974.
Executive editor, Evan Ira Farber, senior editors, Ruth Matteson Blackmore ... [et al.]. Arlington, Va. : Carrollton Press, 1979-1982. 15 v.
SML, Starr Main Reference Room, Z1035 A1 C64 (LC)+ Oversize.

Examples of book reviews

Some examples of contemporary literary book reviews can be found here:


SIL electronic book reviews in Linguistics


The Linguistics Journal

Evaluating databases and websites

Remember to always evaluate a database or website before using it for research purposes.  Some evaluation criteria include:

  • Accuracy
  • Authority
  • Currency
  • Objectivity
  • Purpose

When in doubt, it is always best to ask a librarian or your professor for their opinion about a specific website.

How to find book reviews?

There are several ways to find literary book reviews.


Yale journal databases for literary book reviews:

General book review and journal databases can help you discover whether a book on literature has reached a broader scholarly and sometimes general audience, and if so, what the reception might have been.  These databases will of course overlap with the literary databases.

Academic Search is a general database covering all fields, including many important popular magazines.  To find book reviews in it, follow these instructions: when you connect, you will be in the default Basic Search.  Switch to Advanced Search.  In the lower left there's a section called "Limit your results."  Look in the "Document Type" field for "Book Review."  Then go ahead and enter your search terms, then run the search.  (Or if you prefer, enter your search terms and the add the book review limit before running the search.)

Indexes reviews from scholarly and popular English-language journals from 1965 to the present, primarily in the fields of general fiction and non-fiction, the humanities, and the social sciences. Search for the book title (not the review title). Some reviews will be available in full text, others will only be citations -- use the Yale Links feature to find the full text of the review in another database, or look up the journal in Orbis.

IBR indexes book reviews from publications around the world, primarily journals in the humanities and social sciences.  Therefore, in it you can also find reviews in foreign languages. The online version is updated continually, while the print version is updated twice yearly. It does not provide access to the full text of reviews, but again, the Yale Links button may locate the reviews you need in other databases. 



Newspaper databases for book reviews

Newspaper reviews have the widest readership, and some are highly respected.  In this section I've included general newspaper databases, and direct links to a few important review sources (even though they're covered by other Library databases).


Covers numerous newspapers and magazines in full text.  Unfortunately, it does not provide any way to limit the search to books reviews.

Covers numerous newspapers and magazines in full text.  To get to reviews, first click on the Newstab.  Then, in the "Sources" drop-down box, select "Book, movie, music, play and video reviews."

These reviews are accessible through a number of Library databases, but this is a direct link for coverage from 1985 onwards.  Remember that it covers only the NYTBR. If the book was never reviewed there your search will be unsuccessful.

Click on "Subscribers" to get to the search screen.  Be aware that this database covers only the TLS, and that currently it only covers 1909-1990, with a few gaps.  So if the book was never reviewed there or it's too recent, your search will be unsuccessful. But all is not lost: more recent issues of TLS are covered by some of the Library's other databases, including Book Review Digest, Book Review Index, Academic Search and others.

To find literary book reviews in foreign languages, consult the following LibGuides (developed by others):