Writing a book review transcends summarising its contents and extends to the critical discussion of the book. It combines accurate analytical reading with a strong personal touch. It describes the contents of the page and analyses how the book tries to achieve its purpose expressing any reactions and arguments form a unique perspective. As, it is crucial to know how to write a book review.
A book review can be a primary source, opinion piece, and a summary or scholarly review. Books can be a review for magazines, newspapers, and printed periodicals. They can also be reviewed as class assignments or for book websites. The length of a book review varies from one paragraph to a lengthy essay. This type of review depends on the personal taste of the writer. Book reviews can be used for an extended essay to be closely or loosely related to the title of the book or to publicise their ideas on the topic of fiction or non-fiction work.
Some journals are dedicated to book reviews and are indexed in databases. Book reviews are also found in newspaper and scholarly databases
Preparation for your book review
Read the book while taking notes
If you are in a position to read the book severally, do it while you are taking notes. Repeating the reading process makes the review to see the aspects of the story, setting and character more clearly. Write down your notes, or you can use a voice recorder as an alternative to documents any thoughts or impressions you have on the book. They do not have to follow any organisation.
Think about the genre of the book
Consider how the book fits or does not fit in its genre. You can use external sources to become more familiar with the field of study and the genre of the book. For instance, if your book review is premised on the development of polio vaccine in the 50s, you can read other books that examine the same scientific issue and period of scientific development.
Identify the major themes of the book
A theme refers to the overall message that the book is trying to convey to the reader. It can also be the fundamental or the universal ideas explored in a book. Authors can have multiple themes in their books, especially if it is a work of fiction.
Pay attention to the preface, quotes or references in the introduction of the book. This content sheds light on the major themes of the book as well as its perspectives. One way to determine one theme of the book is to sum it up in a single word. Once you have the summary, you can stretch the single word into a message or a lesson.
Consider the writing style of the author
You have to determine if the style fits the book and the target audience. Remember that the genre is the category of writing and the style if the manner in which the author expresses or performs a subject. The author can present different points of view depending on the style he has used.
Think about how the author has developed his ideas in the book
Identify the areas that have been covered and those left out. Indicate the reasons for leaving it or including these areas. Looking for gaps in the timeframe or the character development of the book will assist you in critical thinking and how to write a book review. Take note of any well-developed elements of the book because they are essential in creating good points for your review.
Take note of the book’s format if necessary
Elements of the book’s layout, typography, binding, and so on can provide a good context for the book review. If the author provides secondary material like charts, maps as well as drawings, consider how they support the themes of the book.
Take note of any literary device
Think about the development of the plot structure in the story especially if the book is work of fiction. Note the characters, the plot, setting, symbols, mood, or tone of the book and their relation to the overall theme.
Think about the uniqueness of the book
Ascertain if it bringing in new information to the genre. The author might be trying to expand or challenge the existing rules, knowledge and norms of the genre consider how he achieves this through the book.
Assess the success of the book
Ascertain if the author was successful in carrying out the overall purpose of the book. Did the ending of the book satisfy you? Would you recommend it to anyone?
Crating the first draft
Start with the heading
Most of the book review starts with the heading that incorporates all the bibliographic information about the book. If you have not instructions about the heading from your professors, you can use the standard heading of the title, author, place of publication, date of publication and number of pages.
Write your introduction
Write it to grabs the reader’s attention to keep them interested in other details of your review. It should contain relevant details like the author’s background, their previous work in the genre is necessary. Indicate the major themes that you are going to deal with in your review. Give the readers an indication of your stance on the book.
You can open the introduction of your book review using several aspects like a historical moment, an anecdote, a surprising or intriguing statement, and declarative statement. Regardless of how you introduce your senses, ensure that they relate to the critical response to the book and ensure that they are short.
If you are not sure of how to write a book review, try writing the introduction last. This is easy to organise all the supporting points and your critical position. This will assist you to write your introduction last. This is a sure way of matching the introduction with the body of your review.
Write the book summary
After you have written your heading and introduction, you can write the summary of the books major themes and the main points. The summary ought to be short, informative and the point. You cause paraphrasing or quotes from the book as a means of supporting your summary. Every quote and paraphrase should be cited to avoid plagiarism.
Do not gives away crucial details or reveals the ending of the book in the summary. Do not also go into detail about what happens from the middle of the book onwards. If the book is part of a series, mention it to the audience and situate the book within the series.
Evaluate and analyse the book
After summarising the book and discussing the major ideas and themes, proceed to the critical analysis. This is the epicentre of your book review and as such, be as direct as you can. You can use the answers you brainstormed during preparations to formulate your critique. Show how the book has achieved its goal, how it compares to other books on the subject, particular points that were less convincing, and they lacked development and the personal experiences that relate to the subject of the book.
Every critical decision you make in your review should be supported by quotes and passages from the book. This reinforces tour point of view and gives the reader a sense of the writing style and the narrative voice contained in the book.
The general rule of knowing how to write a book review is that one-half to two-thirds of the review should sum up the main idea of the author and at least one third should give an evaluation of the book.
Finish your review
Conclude your book review with several sentences that sum up your critical analysis of the book. If you have argued your critical position well, your conclusion will flow naturally. Scan the strengths and weaknesses of the book and discuss whether you would recommend the book to other people. Your conclusion does not allow you to include any new information, facts, or evidence that you did not examine in your paragraphs.
Feel free to give a numerical score of the work. In other words, you can rate the entire work on a scale of 1 to 10.
Read and revise your review
If this is your first time to write a book review, it might not be as good as you would expect. However, you should not worry about that because you can revise and adjust your draft. If you are not facing time constraints, put the review aside or sometime and take a break. You will be able to look at it with fresh mind and eyes.
Check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes and correct them. Ensure all the quotes and references are cited appropriately in your review. If it is possible to get someone to review your work, do it before you submit. They will tell you if the introduction hooked them and if your discussion was consistent throughout your review. They will also tell you about the flow
Any necessary feedback that enhances the quality of your book review should be taken into account. You can submit your final draft.