Fairfax Corporation, Group of men and women gathered around a trolley full of books at the Municipal Library, New South Wales, 20 June 1930, nla.obj-160503553  

How do you find book reviews?

  • Book reviews appear in newspapers and scholarly journals. To locate these you can use a title search of a particular periodical, such as Australian Book Review.
  • Start with the Library Catalogue
    • select the Browse alphabetically tab
    • choose subjects from the drop-down list
    • Type your keywords in the search bar


Selected works:

Where can you find online book reviews?

Find these databases in the National Library's eResources

AustLit provides authoritative information on creative and critical works of Australian literature and on more than 700,000 Australian authors and literary organisations.

In the AustLit database, see the Anthology of Criticism, under the 'Reading' tab, for full-text articles about selected authors and their works.

Australian Book Review Online has a national scope and is committed to highlighting the full range of critical and creative writing from around Australia.

Newspapers are a good source of book reviews; recent articles can be found online through individual newspaper websites, such as the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and the Courier-Mail

Factiva is an archive newspaper database, with full-text articles going back to the 1990s, depending on the newspaper. Search newspapers by title or country under Source and enter a specific date range under Date.
Registered members of the National Library can access these databases from home

Case Study

Book titles

My book group is reading Susan Johnson's Life in Seven Mistakes.  Can we find out why this title was used for the book?

1.  This is a relatively recent publication (2008), so we could search for online reviews and interviews with the author. We can use Factiva to search for newspaper reviews.

2.  We know the published date is August 2008, so we can limit the search for a year, from 1 July 2008 to 1 July 2009. This gives over twenty reviews, with some featuring interviews with the author. The following extract from an interview with Susan Johnson is from the Courier-Mail, Brisbane, 9 August 2008:

"As I went along I realised I was going to be writing a whole life virtually from birth to death in various guises with members of this family,'' Johnson says. "I started to think about the whole notion of the seven ages of man and around the idea of life as a big mistake."

(The novel has, as one of its epigraphs, the quote from Shakespeare's As You Like it: 'And one man in his time plays many parts, His act being seven ages'.)

"I had a notion very early that we all go through life and we make these choices and decisions and we're acting in a rational mode, but in fact my experience of existence is that our choices and how we live are acted out on a deeply irrational level and we don't know how we live."