Book Review Program Details

Thanks for agreeing to write a review for the book you received at the last meeting. I would like to give you some information regarding the reviews. The current set of reviews is for O'Reilly and Manning. In order for our group to continue to receive books from these publishers, we need to complete all the reviews in a timely manner. If you complete the book within the next 2 months, then the book is yours and you will go onto the list of 'preferred reviewers' - which means that you will have first pick of the books next time. Otherwise, I will ask you bring it back and I will have someone else review it.

Once you have completed your review, please post it to our mailing list/forum: austinjug@yahoogroups.com and if you have a book from Manning, then cc Helen Trimes. If you have reviewed an O'Reilly book then cc Marsee Hanon.

Here are a few guidelines from one of the publishers regarding reviews, which may help you get started:

Manning review guidelines:

Topics to Consider:

  • Is the title accurate?
  • What level of experience is needed to we use the information in the book? Who will find it most useful? Is there an existing, canonical book that already covers the same ground?
  • Is the book readable as well as technically accurate? Is the language stilted, or natural? Are examples easy to follow?
  • Is the depth appropriate?
  • Are the illustrations appropriate and well executed?
  • Do any extras come with the book, like a CD-ROM of additional information or code samples?
  • What's missing from the book? Would it benefit from illustrations, a better index, a final chapter on practical applications?

Notes on style & mechanics to bear in mind:

    Readability and flow are important. Strive for correct spelling, grammar and punctuation in your review, but don't torture yourself over minutia. Be extra-careful with the name and author and the title of the book. Write conversationally but seriously, as you might in a topical letter to a friend. Make sure to include the ISBN #, publisher, and other details (like a link to Amazon.com) that will help readers locate the book for themselves.

    Also, you don't need to praise the book if it is bad, just write a truthful review. If it is bad, give detail about why it is bad, and vice versa. Reviews are typically a couple of paragraphs, so that people get a general feel. This is not a book report. I'd rather that you finish the review then try to offer a complete critical analysis and not finish. Your feedback is important to the group and is greatly appreciated. I'll send out a reminder email before the next meeting to check on your progress.

Ernest Hill

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The Austin Java Users Group does not endorse the
opinions of its members who participate in book reviews.

Their opinions are their own.