mla format book review example

mla format book review example

The Importance of MLA Format in Book Reviews

1. Introduction

The book review is quite a common assignment in graduate and undergraduate liberal arts courses. To ensure success with this assignment, an individual must be aware of its two distinct purposes. As the importance of book reviews quite often and revealingly reflects, the student is disposed very often to employing the tactics of close reading described in how to write a scholarly book review and then situates his or her questioning within the deeper context of the understanding of the secure transmission of knowledge from one era to another. Any student writing or the students being asked to engage in meta-cognitive writing can benefit from the self-questioning process involved in creating a “discovery draft” to accompany their book review. The purpose of writing a summary is to make an informed understanding of the source after examination. This involves taking notes about the source’s main points as well as key conclusions. Writing a summary enables the reader a solid background he or she needs to develop comprehensive critique. By telling the reader a situation where you discovered the work you are reviewing makes an informative summary an effective part of your preparation.

2. Understanding MLA Format

The MLA format is wonderful for quoting material. When you want to borrow information from another source, this source is required to be listed on the corner of the dialogue box. After typing in your quote and debriefing (unless your teacher is really lazy), all that needs to be done is to stick the information you have gotten off the source in parentheses somewhere in the same vicinity. Next you just put the source from which you drew the information at the end of the report. Mentioning simple! And if you plan to use quotes from more than one source, you can just number the page in the upper right corner (last name included) and call it a day. Now was that so bad?

The key to writing well is constantly revising. Your teachers, that’s right, the crusty old guys who don’t seem to notice anything but grammatical errors, have all been trained on the MLA (Modern Language Association) format. How can this help you? It was designed to standardize written work on all topics, thus providing a reliable format for citing source material. By adopting one of the teachers’ pet peeves, you will free yourself of any kind of accusation of plagiarism. It’s like a note from mom to excuse you from work when you didn’t even need it – with the added benefit that you didn’t have to obtain it in any underhanded manner. An A1 class conspiracy!

3. Applying MLA Format to Book Reviews

The people out there looking for a way to format their book review according to the MLA standards can breathe a sigh of relief. When it comes to the actual writing of the paper – that is, the content of the book review – it’s not so difficult to write. After all, you are simply summarizing the work of another author. Your only goal is to clear up the confusion that the author has created. Since it is a book review, not a book report, you probably don’t want to reveal the ending. As for the introduction to the review, you should provide the basic idea of the book. This is providing the title, author, and a brief summary of the plot. These are the basic facts that provide. This should be only a few sentences. The introduction should not be any longer than this. The second part of the book review paper should analyze the author’s presentation. This should be a critical assessment of the author’s work, in which you assess the success of his/her presentation. You have to answer the following questions: How did the author build up the argument? What were his/her assumptions? What kind of evidence does the author provide to defend the arguments? This can be 4-5 paragraphs.

4. Benefits of Using MLA Format in Book Reviews

First and foremost, the only reason why any graphics should be placed on a book review is to aid the reader in finding information more easily. MLA formatting advises the use of graphic information. They can be any type of illustrative item including tables, graphs, illustrations, and photographs. They can have annotations, explanations, labels, and captions to help the reader understand the content. Graphics should enhance the book review, not substitute for it. Graphics should serve a purpose that cannot be accomplished through words. If the graphics are removed from the text, the review should not lose any important information. An example would be a graph displaying some statistic – while the statistic must be included in the text, the graph can more clearly display the data to the reader. Any images from outside sources (including the book being reviewed) must be cited; failure to do so can result in the graphics being considered plagiarized. The citation appears beneath the graphic, but is still formatted according to general MLA style. Failure to cite an image is as much plagiarism as failure to cite text. Quotation concerning graphics: “A rudimentary way for authors to imply to their readers that their work is valuable is through providing understandable and attractive graphics. Graphics can vary from tables, to graphs, to illustrated concepts. The key here is providing visual representation for the reader.” Step 10: Evaluating and Citing Graphics and Visuals in Book Reviews.

5. Conclusion

Work cited entries are also very important to the book review. It has become a common custom to borrow an idea from someone, and then use that idea to develop new ones. Each author deserves to know who has taken his ideas to a new level, and this custom brings those ideas to light. The work cited entries are an MLA feature that denote what has been borrowed. By listing the page number in parentheses after a statement, and then recording the actual book page in the work cited, an author is provided with the exact location of the idea in need of recognition. This is a highly organized system, and very useful to the author of the book and the reader of your review. At a glance, it shows the author where his work has influenced others, and it shows the reader exactly what has been borrowed. No other citation format is as purposeful or efficient.

If your book review is to be effective and true to the actual content of the book, it is required that you use the format that is most acceptable to your audience. This format shows your understanding of the book, and your respect for the author who put the ideas into the published work. By using MLA format, you provide a helpful and respectful service to the author. In using this format, you record the original publication date, the title of his work, the place of publication, the publisher, and the date when you accessed the work. This level of detail shows the author you have given his work a close reading. His work has meant something to you, and you have done your best to understand it.

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