Book Review - An Easy Guide To Write A Review
Are you in school or college drowning in writing assignments, tests, homework and work?
You must have loads of assignments piled up since our professors love assigning a new task in almost every other class.
Book review is one of these assignments that makes students panic.
This article is for students who want to learn how process and strategies of writing a book review
1. What is a Review?
A review can be performed on a piece of writing, an event, object, or a phenomenon. It is a critical evaluation of books, novels, articles in the new york times, movies, literature, policies, architecture, fashion, art and even restaurants and exhibitions.
In this particular article, we will focus on book reviews.
Moving on, a review is where you make an argument; it isn't merely a summary, but the most significant aspect of a review is that it is like a commentary. You start a dialogue and discussion with the author and the audience.
Unlike a book report, you have the liberty to give your opinion and whether or not you agree with the writer. Highlight the strengths and weaknesses in the writer's knowledge, judgment and how the text was organized.
Your opinion about the text under analysis is the most important element, so state it clearly. It is similar to any other academic writing such as essays, where you construct an argument and provide strong evidence in the body paragraphs.
Do not confuse a book review with a book report. If your teacher has assigned you the task of writing a report then give our article writing a book report a read.
Coming back to book reviews...
The first thing in a review is a brief summary of the overall content. It gives the readers, the perspective and describe the purpose of the topic and present the argument.
Secondly, another crucial detail that a review offers, is an in-depth analysis of the content at hand.
This is where you discuss your reaction and feelings, what you thought was interesting and held significance, whether or not it was effective and had the power to persuade, and how your understanding of the issue increased.
Lastly, in addition to providing an analysis of the work at hand, you also suggest whether or not the audience will like and appreciate the work.
2. Writing a Book Review
Students find writing a review to be a rather daunting task. They feel inexperienced and unqualified when someone asks them to give their opinion about a particular thing. How can they criticize the work of the great Margaret Atwood or Jacqueline Woodson when they haven't written a single novel themselves.
You might feel like you are no expert, but you have to become one for your reader, which in this case is your professor. The truth is that everyone has opinions and has something to say. When you have finished reading a book or watched a play, it's impossible not to form your own point of view.
Your professor doesn't expect you to match the author's intellectual level, but what is expected of you is a reasonable judgment and analysis after careful observation.
Before you begin reading, ponder over the title of the book, try to figure out what it says. To get a further insight into the book it is important that you read the preface. This will help you understand the scope of the book and the author’s intentions for writing it. Going through the table of contents also helps show how it is organized.
2.1 How to Write a Book Review: Process
When it comes to writing a review, there isn't a definitive way or method. However, critical thinking about the text under analysis is necessary, prior to writing.
It's safe to say that it is merely a two step process. The first step is developing an argument and the next step is writing a draft, supporting that argument about the work under consideration.
Before diving into the writing process, consider the following questions:
- What is the main argument or the thesis of the book?
- What idea does the author want the reader to get from it?
- Has the book been successful in accomplishing something?
- How does the book compare to the world familiar to you, how do you relate to it?
- The main topic and subject. Was it addressed and covered effectively?
- What approach was used to cover the subject--- was it chronological, descriptive, etc.?
- Did the author support his/her argument and how?
- What supporting evidence was used to prove the argument?
- Was this evidence convincing, if not, then why?
- Did the author's take on the topic conflict with your beliefs or something that you might have read before?
- Was the author's argument capable of persuading you? How was the argument structured?
- How did the book increase your understanding on the topic and whether or not would you recommend the particular book to your readers?
- What is the field or genre?
- What is the point of view of the author?
- Do you agree with the point of view?
- Was the ending convincing?
3. Basic Structure of a Book Review
Following is the book review format that you need to use in order to make writing easier.
There are different ways of starting your book review; some begin by an anecdote or a catchy hook.
Make sure to add the following details:
- The name of the book and author along with the main theme.
- Include necessary information about the author, as mentioned earlier.
- The context in which the book is written.
- The thesis statement of the book.
- When working on a fiction, then you won't be able to find arguments, but you can talk about the novelty or originality. Also, mention your own thesis statement.
The body comprises a brief summary of the content and provide your assessment while backing it up with supporting evidence.
Divide your analysis and evaluation in different paragraphs. It doesn't have to be in chronological order; you can arrange these paragraphs by themes and methods.
Make sure not to quote excessively and when you do, put the quotations in inverted commas.
Don't introduce new ideas towards the end of your review, instead, restate the thesis and leave the reader with a final judgment. Justify your opinion by mentioning the book's strengths and weaknesses.
Finally, remember that you are reviewing a book that has been written not the one you wanted the author to write. While it is okay to mention and point out failures, don't criticize it for not being what you wanted.
3.4 Book Review Example (PDF)
3.5 Book Review Template (PDF)
4. Fictional Book Report
When you are asked to write a fictional book review, consider the following points.
General questions to think about:
- What was the main idea or concept of the story?
- Who were some of the more significant characters?
- Were these characters believable?
- What was the purpose of the main characters or how did they contribute to the main story?
- Did these characters encounter any problems or a bad experience?
- Which character did you like the best and why?
Based on your personal experience:
- Were any of the characters relatable to you?
- Can you remember a time when you did the things they did or feel?
- If you were in their place would you have done the same thing?
Present your viewpoint:
- Did you enjoy the book?
- Which part did you enjoy the most?
- Your least favorite part or chapter.
- If you were to write this book, what would you have changed?
Present your suggestion:
- Do you recommend people to read this book?
- Will everyone enjoy this book, or a particular type of individual?
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