how to write a book review

how to write a book review

How to Write a Book Review

1. Introduction

This book is a step-by-step guide to help you learn how to write a book review. It also explains what a book review is and the differences between a book report and a book review. This handbook is meant to help you begin the process of thinking about a book. The aforementioned will be accomplished by providing a review of the story, setting, and characters. Finally, the book wraps up with an explanation on how to submit it to various websites and periodicals. How to Write a Book Review has been a favourite genre amongst students of various academic levels for the longest time. This is simply because it is a chance to combine what they are studying about and have new tools with types of writing. This book will touch upon the points on the main purpose of a review, the different types to choose from, as well as how to write a review that will persuade the reader or audience. Now your next question would probably be ‘what constitutes a good book review?’ One must remember that a book review is not a book report. The biggest difference is that a book report is a summary of the contents whereas a review entails your opinion of the book backed with various details from the book. Also, book reports tend to be assigned in various academic levels whereas a review is published and read by many people. This book is going to help you in learning how to write a great book report and even resort to writing one for money.

2. Understanding the Book

Understanding and dissecting a book may take a while. Be patient. Read at least twice and take notes to ensure you have not missed anything. Remember, a book can seem completely different once every bit of it has been understood. Everyone has their own opinion on a book. That is the true beauty of literature.

These are all straightforward points related to the book. Since you are trying to provide an understanding of the book, it is necessary to be thorough in each description. If you simply cannot generate a good understanding, sometimes an alternative method is to get someone else to explain it to you. In all honesty, some books are just not worth reading and reviewing.

To provide a thorough understanding of the book, write about one fact about the author’s life and how that influenced the book. Bring out the setting of the book. What was it like and did it have any bearing on the story? The setting is often a vital factor in the plot and the way we envision things. Describe the time period of the story. Was the story factual taking place during the author’s lifetime? Was the time period relevant to the story? Next, write about the characters in the story. Who was the protagonist and antagonist? An in-depth description of the characters and their roles is necessary for understanding the book. What were the character’s major accomplishments throughout the story? How did the characters influence the plot? Make a list of events and then explain how all the events led up to the climax. What was the climax of the story? Often the climax is the most exciting portion of the story. It is a turning point in which the protagonist’s fortunes change for better or worse. What were the results of the climax? How did the story end? What has the author learned from the story?

3. Constructing the Review

Main issue when creating a review is developing an opinion. It is a personal response and although it is acceptable to use other people’s opinions. In general, a review should have its own voice so it is wise to refrain from using too many quoted passages and giving in to the temptation of imposing someone else’s ideas on the work. To gain the sense of a book, it is advised to read it more than once. First readings offer a basic understanding of the plot and the principal characters. On the second and further readings, you will gain a better understanding of the book which is essential in generating an opinion and producing a review. A good knowledge of the genre of the book is also pertinent. A review of a science fiction novel will have vastly different criteria to a historical romance. Make sure you are clear on what those criteria are before passing judgment. Briefly jotting down a basic mind map or outline can be a useful way of organizing one’s thoughts on a book. Consideration should be given to each component of the book and evaluating how it contributed to the whole. This will make the review more coherent and give the reader a better understanding of the reviewer’s opinion. Rough notes can also act as a useful reference when writing the review.

4. Writing Style and Tone

In conclusion, this book is not difficult to write a review for, but the review will be such that the book advises the reviewer not to write. It is full of good ideas expressed in confusing terms and writing an honest review of it would consist of complaining about how impractical all of the advice in the book is, i.e. “you just can’t win!” So, do we recommend that you buy this book? Well, we didn’t buy it, we took it out of the library. We think you should do the same. Then again, consider the fact that you have probably taken this book out through inter-library loan, which means you are taking it away from our professors, who needed it more than we do. Think of this book as a way to stick it to the man. High school students and the general public should avoid this book at all costs.

Marc and Rob are spot-on in their critical analysis of readability. They state that “typical academic articles on Canadian literature by professors are difficult to read and are often dismissed without being read by the general public and students”. This is so true, that one must wonder if it were an attempt at dry humor on their part. Their suggestion that complicated language in book reviews is a by-product of a desire to demonstrate the reviewer’s intelligence to his peers is entirely correct. Unfortunately, we can be dinged ourselves on this account in our book review of the Academic’s Handbook for reasons unknown so we have no choice but to agree with them again.

This is the authors’ first study exploring the writing of book reviews within academic circles, and as such it offers a general overview of the genre from a Canadian perspective. While its information is useful, it is a little dated. The section on “Tone” offers a list of adjectives for use in reviewing literature and explains through definition how they might alter the tone of a review; this is perhaps the most useful tool in the entire book, but it is bogged down by the lengthy discussions that precede and follow it about positive and negative bias in reviews. The author’s six strategies for writing book reviews are helpful, though somewhat limited and jargon. Finally, the checklist provided at the end of the book, especially the one for revising a review, is a most useful tool.

5. Conclusion

For non-fiction/textbooks: I will explain what the specific purpose of the book was with a general summary of the book’s content. I will then move on to what kind of people would benefit from reading the book and finish up with my personal comments on the book’s success in fulfilling its purposes. Step three of my general book review will also be applied to a non-fiction review. For reference and textbook reviews, not much will change. I will give a brief summary of the book’s content with some pros and cons added to it. Then I will explain how helpful the book was and who could benefit from using the book. At this point, I will also mention what other materials this book could be used in conjunction with. I will compare it to the other books and finish with a final verdict as to what kind of people would benefit from buying this book. How-to guides and self-help books will be reviewed similarly. A general summary of the content will be given and I will explain the type of person that would benefit from reading the book. I will then talk about the style of the book and further examine its helpfulness and compare it to similar books on the same topic. At the end, I will give a final verdict and possibly make a suggestion on what should be improved for next time.

Thus, writing a review of a recently published book is fairly simple and quick if the book is straightforward and falls into the category of what you are used to reading. Since most of my reviews are for specific audiences, I have a general format for most categories in fiction.

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