the book reviews examples

the book reviews examples

Analyzing the Art of Book Reviews: A Comprehensive Guide

1. Introduction to Book Reviews

Book reviews intertwine all areas of scholarship, or rather all areas of scholarship run through the incisive pen of the book reviewer. In strictly psychological terms, the review critic’s ‘catharsis’ – or the healing effect of honestly and critically displaying his feelings for himself and his readers – offers a useful foundation for speaking of the ‘aesthetics’ of reviews. Similarly, the actual dedication to the reader reflects a ‘pragmatist’ approach to the craft of writing a review. No one ever intends to read the book reviews; one usually stumbles upon them while reading the news. However, very few book reviews are ever read in full, much less the actual books themselves. Hence, the reviewer’s task is to keep both the browsable nature of the book’s review and its deeper possibilities in check in order to thumb through it, striking the right balance between the brief nature and the necessary flexibility of the conversation about the book. The reviewer must ask if the real work in the book review is to be aware of this duality and exploiting it in favor of refining the balance between servitude to the reader and the festivities of the text.

The book review is an underrated art form, and oftentimes considered an afterthought in terms of literary criticism. Reviews, however, play a crucial part in the success of a book and an intriguing relationship exists between the facts of a review – the veritable parts of a book review – and the more subjective nature of the emotions that they evoke. Scholars in the varied fields of literary criticism, history, social psychology, and more agree on the importance of the review, and writing a review historically denotes an important stage in the critical development of anyone intending to pursue literary studies. Through the deep examination of five contemporary book reviewers, this study seeks to lay down a comprehensive guide on the studying of the book review. The prominent reviewers under repertoire were selected for reviews written in The New York Times.

2. The Elements of a Well-Written Book Review

Here, in the first section of Modules 2 through 4, we further unpack what makes a book review unique and what the art of book reviewing is all about. Specifically, since a good book review scrutinizes what is between a book’s two covers, we focus on the two elements of this world that can make a book great: content – the written composition itself and the mathematical or statistical techniques used; the fundamental message a book intends to convey; and prose – the written expression within the book.

In Module 1, we considered why scholars write book reviews. We saw that a book review often influences others to read the book. We also found that it is not sufficient to simply evaluate a book relative to the quality of work we expect from an established scholar, or with respect to our individual likes or dislikes. Instead, we learned that one needs a clear roadmap of a book, and that to write an acceptable book review one must use this roadmap to trek through both the book’s contributing points as well as its setbacks. So when analyzing any book, be sure to extort its strengths, but also be sure to eulogize its weaknesses.

3. Types of Book Reviews and Their Characteristics

Book reviews can also be classified into other categories: comprehensive, very detailed, lengthy, and substantial, detailed, long, and very full, sketch, short and brief, sometimes digests. Funny, bizarre, hostile, vindictive, vulgar, or charming, courteous, warm, praiseworthy, but often pedantic, dry, repetitive, overdone or boring, beneath standard scholarly level. Academic and popular, large and small circulation, specialized and diverse, commendatory and laudatory rather than critical or negative, or written as reviews or criticisms.

There is a basic classification of book reviews into two types: 1) descriptions, summaries, or surveys without lively, factor, comparative, evaluative, interpretative, theoretical, or research value; and 2) research or report endeavors. The first type is mostly identifying and informing the reader, the second form is usually analytical or acronym, developing explanatory frameworks, soothsaying, making policy suggestions, sometimes proposing and testing hypotheses. There is a market or type of journal for both classifications of book reviews, in both social science and scientific, popular and professional, purely academic or applied, and scholarly and semi-scholarly journals.

4. The Impact of Book Reviews on Authors and Readers

Advertising staff constantly explore it and see it as the most effective advertising tool for selling a book. Regulatory authorities see it as the expression of freedom of the press (in Germany, for example, the maximum price that may be charged for books is limited by a law that goes back to 1888! As a result, a limit is also placed on the maximum discount that a retailer may announce publicly). Bookstore chains invest considerable sums in their opinionated bookish employees (not exactly with the aim of improving literary taste among the reading public, but rather of producing the direct or indirect connection between books and profit). The potential wrath of the powerful four – existing or future – gatekeepers of our society (publishers, booksellers, advertising industry, media) weighs heavily on a review.

They are the troubadours of modern society who lure us – with empty rhetoric – into buying a book. If we believe their claims, they awaken us and whisper an advertisement for a book. At least, that is how most readers interpret their overblown language. The simple fact that book reviews are widely read and significantly influence book sales is relatively unknown. The passionate side of writing – those pleasurable hours spent with notebook, typewriter, or keyboard – seems to appeal to only a few, special readers. The commercial aspect of the writing process usually shies away from publicity – other than the figures in the author’s royalty statements. However, it is the driving force behind commercial publishing. There is almost no professional writing that is not ultimately faced with the prospect of a book review that will be less than harmless.

5. Conclusion and Future Trends in Book Reviewing

We have proposed a taxonomy for book reviews in the form of evaluating the different aspects of characters, plot, writing, theme, and originality. The change in the presentation of the questioning addressed to the reader reflects the global preference for questions. We also found that readers and book reviewers, more concerned with certain topics, such as women’s situation, are now interested in more masculine ones. With the departure of the movie celebrity, people are now turning to an interest in professions other than the writer. The detailed knowledge of these elements allows one to explore book reviews in a more detailed manner, finally paving the way for the development of new algorithms and applications based on stylistic and genre characteristics to attempt to implement an automatic book review. Among the future work that we envisage is the compilation of databases that only consider some forms and, for example, mention only some of the characters of a book. For this, the knowledge of our tools will be crucial.

In conclusion, the analysis of book reviews is an essential first step in making this literary genre accessible to digitization and further research into genres that underpin reviews, from novels to scholarly monographs. Unlike newspapers or media reviews, book reviews offer both positive and negative criticism, exceptionally valuable for book publishers. Book reviews may not be one of the most high-profile genres of literary art, but they are in many ways one of the most valuable types of literary expression. This research is the first to provide an extensive empirical analysis and guide for further automatic investigation into book reviews. The analysis performed at the level of the sentence demonstrates the different expression of elements such as plot, character, writing, theme, and originality. Source reader response theory and reader-response criticism is corroborated, with the reader occupying a mediating role in the narrative, plot, and character through questions addressed to the reader.

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