Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hooper, Brad. Writing Reviews for Readers’ Advisory: a Booklist Publication.

With a chapter by Joyce Saricks. American Library Association. 2010. c.109p. bibliog.. appendices. index. ISBN 978-0-8389-1017-7. $45.00.

Based upon his many years of experience writing book reviews and presenting review writing workshops, Hooper (B.A., European History, and M.L.S., Master’s of Library Science, Eastern Illinois University; graduate work, European history, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; author of The Short Story Readers’ Advisory (2000), The Fiction of Ellen Gilchrist (2005), Read On … Historical Fiction (2006), and The Fiction of Alice Munro (2008)), an Adult Books Editor at Booklist, the flagship review journal for public and school librarians, which is published by the American Library Association, has provided a concise, how-to manual for writing reviews. Used mostly by librarians, prior to the time that publications are published and afterwards, by librarians, other professionals, and members of the general public, reviews are instrumental resources for providing readers’ advisory, building library collections, and promoting libraries, institutions, and publications. Varying in length, they are distinguishable from criticism and written annotations and are comprised of two crucial elements: a section telling readers what the publication is about and another setting forth why it is good and/or not-so-good. Consisting mostly of eight chapters, each averaging ten pages, the author’s book covers most aspects of reviews and reviewing. In the first three chapters, which are introductory and provide the overall context for writing reviews, Hooper covers marketing through reviewing, distinguishes reviews from criticism, and discusses the two kinds of reviews, pre- and post- publication reviews. In the main part, comprised of chapters four through six, the author then presents the components of nonfiction and fiction reviews, the features of good reviews, and the characteristics making good reviewers. In chapter seven, Hooper provides advice and guidelines for organizing and leading review writing workshops. Chapter eight, a contribution by Joyce Saricks (B.A. University of Kansas; M.A., Comparative Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.A., Library Science, University of Chicago), a professor, librarian, author, and authority on readers’ advisory services in public libraries, covers a subtopic of writing reviews, writing audiobook reviews, which has unique aspects due to the format of the publications being reviewed. In two appendices, Hooper further supplements his text by discussing writing annotations and his favorite reviewers and their reviews. Filled with much useful, excellent, and pertinent information, tips, advice, ideas, and many examples of Hooper’s published book reviews, this concise, thoughtfully- presented, nicely- organized, general, and sufficiently well- documented, nuts-and-bolts, how-to book, by an experienced professional, with a chapter contribution by a noted expert, will appeal to librarians, writers, book review bloggers, and others interested in writing book and audiobook reviews for websites, book clubs, newsletters, newspapers, magazines, professional journals, and other publications. It is recommended for public and academic library book collections. Review copy. Availability:, Barnes &