U.S. O.T.O. Grand Lodge
Other U.S. O.T.O. bodies
Book Review Writing Guide

We welcome book reviews from both members and friends of the Lodge—you do not have to be a member of O.T.O. However, we want reviews written from the point of view of a Thelemite, and that is our single restriction. You may choose to review any book you want, but we are mainly interested in the following topics (either fiction or non-fiction): magick, Aleister Crowley's works, biographies, social commentary/politics, religion/spirituality/ritual, history, psychology and altered states of mind, occult/secret groups (real or otherwise), sexual arts, spiritual practices (yoga, tarot, etc.), qabalah, alternative medicine, and myths & legends (Author, the Grail, etc.). However, a good rule of thumb is to pick books that you think will be of interest to other Thelemites in general.

Submissions must include the following:

• Book Title, including sub-titles
• Author(s) and/or editor(s) (full names)
• The review (minimum of 300 words)

You may also choose to include:
• a one or two sentence blurb for the front page
• Publisher (not the city)
• Designate paperback or hardcover
• Number of pages
• Edition (if beyond the first)
• Date of publication
• an image of the front cover

You may submit it by mail (typed only) to:
P.O. Box Box 81873, Austin, TX 78708
or preferrably by email (Word document) to the Reviews Editor.

Please note: the Reviews Editor reserves the right to make grammatical and factual changes to any submission.

Guide to writing reviews

If you are new to writing reviews, here are some tips that might help.

0) First, some guidelines for writing negative reviews. We will publish this type of review for two reasons: either it pans a book that is popular—and might therefore be a suprise to the reader—or it is funny. Humor goes a long way when you are destroying someone else's work. Other tips:
• if you use negative descriptives, keep them witty and on topic;
• provide good reasons why the book is so bad;
• keep the review on the short side; and finally,
• offer alternatives and why they are better. A negative review of a popular book can be a great way to write a positive review of not-so-popular quality works.
Here is an example of a well-written negative review.

1) Begin with basic information: what type of book it is (fiction, non-fiction, textbook, etc.), genre (mystery, biography, adventure, etc.), field of interest, and the author's central subject matter, purpose, or thesis.

2) Add some details. For fiction, describe the setting, main characters, and basic plot. For non-fiction, describe the primary concepts, context, areas covered, and methods of communicating ideas.

3) Give us your opinions. How did the book affect you? What did you like or dislike? Did you learn anything new? What did you think of the author's writing style (engaging, dense, accessable, funny, etc.)? Have your opinions about the topic changed? How is the book related to your own course or personal agenda? Point out strengths and weaknesses. How does this book compare to others in the same genre? This is a good area to put in some quotes from the book to illustrate your opinions.

4) Finally, tell us your final judgement of the book. Readers want to know if the book is worth their time, so make your opinion on this clear. You can also summarize what you think the book accomplished and if more is needed. Lastly, describe who might benefit from reading this book—scholars, magicians, beginners, etc.