House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization: i)Scanning the Table of Contents. This can help you understand how the book is organized and will
aid in determining the author’s main ideas and how they are developed – chronologically, topically,
ii)Looking for other book reviews. If you use these, be sure to reference them in footnotes.
2)Include some biographical information about the author.
a)What is his background? Why did the author write on this subject rather than on some other subject?
b)What is his reputation, qualifications, influences, biographical, etc. – any information that is
relevant to the book being reviewed and that would help to establish the author’s authority.
c)Can you discern any connections between the author’s philosophy, life experience and the reviewed
d)Who is the intended audience?
3)How is the book as read? What is the author’s style? Is it formal or informal? Evaluate the
quality of the writing style by using some of the following standards: coherence, clarity,
forcefulness, conciseness, fullness of development, fluidity . Does it suit the intended audience?
Is it readable? Enjoyable?
4)How did the book affect you? Were any previous ideas you had on the subject changed, abandoned,
or reinforced due to this book? How is the book related to your own course or personal agenda?
What personal experiences you’ve had relate to the subject?
5)How well has the book achieved its goal?
6)Evaluate the book for interest, accuracy, objectivity, importance, thoroughness, and usefulness to
its intended audience. Show whether the author’s main arguments are true. Respond to the author’s
opinions. What do you agree or disagree with? And why?
7)Illustrate whether or not any conclusions drawn are derived logically from the evidence. Explore
issues the book raises. What possibilities does the book suggest? What has the author omitted or
what problems were left unsolved? What specific points are not convincing? Compare it with other
books on similar subjects or other books by the same as well as different authors. Is it only a
reworking of earlier books; a refutation of previous positions? Have newly uncovered sources
justified a new approach by the author? Comment on parts of particular interest, and point out
anything that seems to give the book literary merit. Relate the book to larger issues.
8)Check the back matter. Is the index accurate? Check any end notes or footnotes as you read from
chapter to chapter. Do they provide important additional information? Do they clarify or extend
points made in the body of the text?
9)Summarize (briefly), analyze, and comment on the book’s content. State your general conclusions.
Pay particular attention to the author’s concluding chapter. Is the summary convincing? List the
principal topics, and briefly summarize the author’s ideas about these topics, main points, and
conclusions. Use specific references and quotations to support your statements. If your thesis has
been well argued, the conclusion should follow naturally. It can include a final assessment
or simply restate your thesis. Do not introduce new material at this point.
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