Tips for Reviewers

The Library is a place for members to connect over great books and big ideas, to deepen understanding of each other’s experiences and broaden our knowledge of the world.  Members are encouraged to recommend books or review prior recommendations.

You don’t have to be a great writer or scholar to contribute.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

Summarize the key points –  What are the big ideas? Give more detail than your readers would find on book jacket, less than a book report.

Give some context –  Knowing a book was published by a libertarian think tank, for example, or written by an author known for her right-leaning social media presence, helps your readers understand where the book is coming from. Let members know how the book fits into a larger set of ideas, events or intellectual traditions.

Share what resonated with you – Put yourself in your review.  What inspired you to pick up the book in the first place? What challenged you or expanded your perspective?  Did you have a strong reaction, positive or negative, to the ideas or the writing?

Strive for balance – Reading and reviewing are opportunities for members to continue conversations across ideological differences. Try a book with a perspective different from your own.  Add a review that respectfully challenges the conclusions of a prior reviewer. Or pair up with another member who experienced the book differently to write reviews that reflect your different opinions.