Book Review

REL 200 – Book Review

The following list are books that you could review for the book review. But you may also pick a book of your own choosing as long as it pertains to some aspect of a

world religion.

Primary Sources:

The Tao Te Ching – by Lao Tzu
The Bhagavad Gita
The Upanishads
The Analects – by Confucius
The Rig Veda

Secondary Sources:

Beyond Fundamentalism – by Reza Aslan
A History of God – by Karen Armstrong
Second Person Singular – by Sayed Kashua
God is Not One – by Steven Prothero

These are only suggestions and there are many more you can select. Just send me an e-mail with author and title if you choose one of your own and I’ll let you know if

that is a fitting title to review.

Book Review Instructions

A book review should:

1)    describe the major theme or themes
2)    tell how it applies to and is relevant for our topic/s of study in this course
3)    give your reaction

In discussing the major themes of the book, tell briefly what the book covers.  Mention the major ideas.  As far as you know, does the author revise earlier views on

the subject?  What reasoning or evidence does the author use to support the interpretations?  Discuss specific examples.

Reviews of major works can be found using the JSTOR database (available through the Steely Library Database).

1See my review on Blackboard for an example—keep in mind that yours does not have to be as technical as the one I wrote.

Discuss your reaction to the book.  Do you agree with the author’s view? Is the writing and central thesis convincing?  Where is the book strong?  How is it weak?  Is

the book well written?  Boring?  Worth reading?  Above all, be honest and critical.  Demonstrate that you read the book through your own personal reaction.

Format: In the top left-hand corner you should include your name, date, course number and instructor name.  Length is two to three pages, double spaced (or 500 to 750

words). After this, the review should begin with a bibliographic heading centered on the page using this format:

In Praise of Doubt: How to Have Convictions Without Becoming a Fanatic By Peter Berger and Anton Zijderveld (New York: Harper One, 2009).

Good papers will:

a.    be well organized and clearly written
b.    show an accurate understanding of the book and clearly present that content
c.    support your points with critical thought and scholarly sources
d.    use good grammar, punctuation and spelling

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