This brief style guide is designed to help both new and experienced reviewers understand what we’re looking for in the recursive book reviews. This is an evolving document, so please let us know if you have any questions about the process.

image of trees with questions marks

Evan Dennis, UnSplash


In general, we want to know: why should we, your fellow profs, read this book?

Your primary audience is your fellow profs who are interested in pedagogy–people who may not be able to read ALL the books about pedagogy, who want to know which book to read next. More broadly, your audience can include anyone interested in pedagogy and/or issues in higher ed, from fellow professors to administrators to students to policy makers.  

If you’re new to reviewing*, think about a book review as sharing a few key ideas with your readers by answering some guiding questions: what is the author trying to do in this book? How are they trying to do it? How well (or to what extent) do they do this? Are there layers of contextual meaning or links to context outside the book that readers should be aware of? What else should readers know about this book?

For new and experienced reviewers alike: if the book is not explicitly about pedagogy, but is about higher ed more generally, what are the links to pedagogy? Or, put another way, why should your fellow profs read this book? How might it help them in teaching or in understanding the larger educational & cultural contexts they teach in? Is there a specific audience within higher ed that would find this book particularly helpful? What did this book help you understand about teaching college? While you are welcome to talk about yourself in reviewing the book (please DO say “I” if you need to!), we do want the primary focus of the review to be on the book: its goals and how it meets those goals and why that’s important.

How we’ll edit your review: if you send a pitch, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. We’ll tell you to go ahead if we think it’s a good fit and will suggest a word count length. If we don’t think the book you want to review is a good fit, we’ll suggest others or ask you for more ideas. If you send a completed review instead of a pitch at first, we’ll tell you if we can accept it.

Once we receive a review, we will send edits: our editorial comments and suggestions will be geared toward clarity and strengthening the review. We might suggest certain edits and ask questions and we might make needed line edits. We will send you a copy of the edited review to make sure you understand our feedback and know how the final version will look.

A couple of ways to speed the process

  • Provide page or location citations for your source use, as this will help us check for accuracy
  • Let us know in your pitch if you would like us to get the book for you
  • Provide a short bio (a few sentences is fine) and a photo if you like

*GSU people: the editors will run a “how to write a book review” workshop if there is enough interest and a good common time.