Books provide an in-depth treatment of a topic or subject. The length of a book means the author can include more information and cover more issues than can be included in a journal article. Scholarly books (or monographs) are published after about 2-3 years of research and writing by the author, and time spent by the publishers and editors reading and proofing the text, checking the references, and printing and marketing the book.
There are features of scholarly books that will help you grasp what the author intends. The first of these is the "Introduction" Here, the author tells you what are the main goals s/he has in writing this book, outlines the content of each chapter, and explains why this book is important. There is also the sources used in writing the book. These maybe presented towards the end of the book in a bibliography, or at the end of each chapter in a section labeled notes, or further readings. These sections will tell you which scholars and materials were used to help form the author's ideas and conclusions. Lastly, there is usually an index which will help you find specific instances of a concept, person, place, or event mentioned within the book.
Baylor Libraries doesn't own all the books published. To find books on your topic that we don't own, use WorldCat, which will list books in libraries in the United States and around the world.
Original tapestry from the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, NYC.
The Cambridge Companions to Literature and Classics series provides scholarly essays on a wide range of books and authors. I've linked to several specific titles below, but please look at the entire collection online and search for the title of the author or specific work you are interested in researching.