how to start a book review

how to start a book review

How to Write an Effective Book Review

1. Introduction

From high school into college, writing papers is a must. Even if you have a job, you will still have to write a paper at some time. Most people do not know it, but writing papers is a useful skill, and it is a shame that many people disregard it. With this book, I will make you more efficient at writing papers, make you dislike writing less, and increase the quality of your papers.

The college experience is not the same for everyone, and it is not the same experience wherever you go. Some people may enjoy writing and may be good at it. They may have an easy time writing a paper the night before it is due and have it come out perfect. If that is the case, then my hat goes off to you. This book may not be for you. But for those of you who may not have had the easiest time writing, or for people who take hours to write a paper that should only take one hour, this book is going to change the way you write.

The concept of this book is to get you to no longer regard your college and high school career with dread. This book will not make you enjoy writing more or make writing any easier. In fact, it may do the opposite. But it will make writing papers more bearable, make you more efficient at writing papers, and teach you a thing or two about what you write about.

2. Choosing the Book

Understanding what the author’s purpose is something can be quite elusive for a reader. Often it is very difficult to determine if a certain event or detail is important. At the same time, it can be hard to determine what is real and what is foreshadowing. In order to glean as much as possible from the book, these details should be recognized and thought over, even if they are not fully understood at first. Finally, one should always compare the book to real life or events in history; this is often the most surefire way of understanding an allegory and it also leads to a greater appreciation of a book.

There are some very important things to consider when reading a book. To begin with, it is very important to take everything as it comes; if you don’t understand something, ponder on it a bit – the meaning will usually come to light later in the book. At the same time, it is important to be aware of plot details: if you space out while reading – the effect I often get from reading textbooks – an important detail may be missed. So, one might want to read over a confusing part while it is still fresh in his mind. It also helps to keep a basic outline of the plot in mind as you progress; this way, if something seems out of place you will realize it.

3. Summarizing the Plot

Summarizing the plot becomes significantly easier when you have divided the book into smaller sections. While you were taking notes, if you noticed any quotes that would be good to include, also mark those down. When you are getting down to write the summary, the first thing you want to do is review your notes. It also helps to have an outline because having an outline makes the writing process a lot simpler. Starting with the introduction, lay out the thesis of the review and then the main ideas that support the thesis. Then, list the main ideas of the introduction and body of the book. For each main idea, it is vital that you paraphrase or quote the information that is relevant to the idea. Remember to keep track of what happens and does not happen chronologically in the book. Try to avoid putting things that do not happen in the order they happened and if there is a part that is too hard to summarize, omit it. This method seems to work best as a high school or college level study aid.

4. Analyzing the Themes and Characters

What is going on here? Themes are generally the big picture ideas about life that are being conveyed through the story. A story may have many themes or it may revolve around one specific theme. In order to uncover the theme of a book, you need to engage in higher level thinking. Theme is the main idea, or what the author is trying to teach you about life. You may have to keep asking yourself, “But what is the author trying to say about that?” A book about a specific event or dealing with a specific emotion is one thing, but what does the overall outcome of the story say about the events or emotions involved? This is where you have to reflect on the story and put yourself in the character’s place to empathize with what is going on. Finally, the theme will usually relate the events in the story to the reader’s own life. This is how the book and message can have a lasting effect on someone.

Analyzing the themes and characters is an important aspect of a book review. This is a challenging and fulfilling aspect of understanding a book. At the core of every book is a message or an overall theme, the reader must simply find that core. The theme of a children’s book is usually explicit, stating the events or emotions involved and the lesson learned. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

5. Providing a Personal Evaluation

When we classify a book character’s personality, actions and reactions are understood. A key job for a reviewer is to know the character and be able to explain the character. To tell how the character reacted to a situation and backed it up with dialogue exchange is a good way for a reader to understand what really took place and why it is so important. Then you can ask questions about a character’s actions when they are in an interesting situation. For example, “Why did he go and do that?” or “What was his motive to lie about what had happened?”. This is also a good way to explain in a review about a plot or subplot. If a character does something that affects the story, it’s usually because of an event that has taken place and has some sort of importance. By doing this, it helps the one who reads the review understand the storyline of the book and what it may lead to. This method can also be applied to clarifying the actions of other characters and events in a story. The final thing that can be done to explain a character is making a comparison to another character that may be in a similar situation and getting the similarities or differences between them. By doing this and telling the end of the book, it can successfully be justified that you know the character and what they are really doing.

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