Thank you for your interest in writing for the Global Readers’ Club!
Here are some guidelines to help you on your way.
Picking a Book
GRC brings reviews of books that are concerned with society in its broadest sense. Reviewed books do not have to be strictly “academic” but could also be biographies etc. However, GRC rarely brings reviews of novels unless the reviews make a clear argument about society or politics.
There are basically two ways of picking a book to review. Either pick a book you have already read and find interesting, or identify an unread piece which you might be interested in. In the latter case, the publisher of the book will often be willing to supply a review copy. In both cases, please contact one of GRC’s editors before beginning to write your review or contacting publishers. This is to ensure that the designated book has not already been reviewed or is in the process of being reviewed by someone else, and to make sure the book fits within the scope of GRC.
Things to Include in Your Review:
- The name of the publisher
- The year of publication. If the book is a new version of an older book, include the original publication year, e.g. “2001 ”.
- The total number of pages, e.g. “pp. 229”
- A catchy title
- A short biography of yourself as you will be added to the GRC member list. For inspiration see: https://globalreadersclub.com/grcs-members/
- If you have a good idea for one or more pictures for your article, please include them as well. Do however take copyright into your considerations. Consider having a look around: https://pixabay.com for inspiration. Alternatively, you can have a look at government websites’ press photos.
Language and Format:
- Most reviews will be between 800-1500 words. This is a rather wide margin and stems from the basic fact that good reviews can be both short or long. Just remember that if you go for a long piece, it has to be justified by the points of the review – not by the actual length of the book. If you only have one or two major points to make, go for a shorter and more concise review. When in doubt, shorter is usually better.
- Avoid contractions (I’m, he’ll, isn’t etc.)
- Spell out abbreviations the first time they appear and try to generally limit their use
- Citations are marked by “citation marks” and should be followed by a page number e.g. (p. 2), (pp.72-73)
- Avoid using too many citations. Especially if the language of the book is cumbersome. It is much more interesting for the reader to read your take on the book.
- GRC reviews do not have academic references or a reference list. If you want to make reference to another work, please spell out the name and author of the book in the text.
- Add subsections with new headlines throughout the text to structure it and break it up. There should not be more than four or five paragraphs between each headline.
- Thoroughly proofread you piece before submitting it!
Most reviews will follow this structure:
A paragraph or two that hooks the reader by presenting the theme of the book in a catchy way. The introduction should also state which year the book was published if it is an older piece and provide information about the author (nationality, occupation, is he/she known for something in particular?). A good way of rounding off an introduction is to tease your own opinion of the book. This opinion will be elaborated at the end of the review.
The descriptive section will be the longest as it presents the overall structure and arguments of the book, usually structured chronologically or thematically. It is okay to include a number of quotations in this section but remember that you, not the author of the book, is writing this review so don’t hide behind citations! Also, bear in mind that you cannot possible include all the points of the book, so choose the ones that are the most interesting and significant, and leave out the rest.
The central argument of the book
Having presented the contents of the book more broadly, pinpoint the central argument(s) of the author. What is he/she really trying to tell the readers? This can be integrated into the descriptive section as long as the central arguments stand out clearly to the reader.
Theoretical or empirical contributions of the book
What can we use the book for? This section is especially applicable to more academic literature which will either present new theoretical or empirical insights, but it is also useful for other works.
Comparison with other literature
A great way to describe a book is by comparing it to similar works. Show how the book is similar or differs from other book on the same theme. You could also compare the book to other works by the same author. This section is not mandatory but it can often help to sharpen the profile of the book.
This is really what it all comes down to. Did you enjoy reading the book? What stood out to you? Does the author make convincing arguments? Why/why not? Who might like this book and who definitely would not? Readers of your review will be looking forward to your opinion as the climax of the piece. Don’t disappoint them by being too vague.
If you find the final section tricky, consider reading one or two other reviews of the book. This will provide you with some interpretations and opinions which you may then argue for or against. Remember to make reference to these other reviews if you end up using their arguments.
We look forward to seeing your review and wish you the best of luck!
/ The Global Reader’s Club