SPR Q&A: How to Write a Book Review, Part 2

Book reviews are a staple of academic journals. They help to spread the word about new books on the market, provide valuable spaces for evaluation and critique of published work, and also give emerging scholars an opportunity to dialog with published works.

In the blog post below, journal Editor Stacey M. Johnson walks through some of the key considerations for graduate students hoping to write a book review for SPR.


So, you want to write a book review for SPR? Read this first!

I love book reviews. I love reading them and I love publishing them in SPR. If you are a graduate student, I think book reviews can be an efficient way to get publications for your CV for a few reasons.

  1. As a grad student, you are already reading, evaluating, and analyzing tons of books as part of your studies! And a number of those books are likely to be newly published and ripe for formal review in a journal.
  2. As a grad student, you are likely engaging in exciting, cutting edge research that brings a fresh perspective to your discipline. That is exactly the expert eye that a good book review brings to a text.
  3. And finally, book reviews tend to follow conventions that make writing them less arduous than other kinds of writing. Among those conventions are a limited word count and a summary of the book’s chapters that takes up a good part of the whole.

If you decide you are up for writing a book review for SPR, there are two ways to get your hands on a book to review.

  1. Here at SPR, we have relationships with some publishers and are always looking to cultivate more and better relationships. Sometimes a publisher will offer us a free review copy of a new book that we can pass along to a grad student for review.
  2. Other times, a grad student will approach us here at SPR and tell us about a new book they want to review, but do not have a copy of. In those cases, we can approach the publisher and ask for a review copy to be sent to us. We can’t always get a free review copy, it depends on the publisher, but we do our best.
  3. And in other cases, grad students review books they already have and are reading for other purposes. For example, if you are reading for your dissertation research and get a just-released book on your topic to include in your literature review, that is a great opportunity to ALSO review the book in a formal journal publication in addition to including it in your existing work.

If you are curious about how to actually go about writing a book review, check out Part 1 of this series here for more guidance. And if you are already in the process of writing your review and finding yourself stuck, Part 3 of this series is for you! Also, you can always or reach out to us with your questions. We’re always happy to coach, encourage, and give advice!


If you are interested in writing a book review for SPR, leave a comment below or reach out by email to spr@aatsp.org!


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