Lots of students read books but don't know how to write a book review. It's actually pretty simple! When you have made your evaluations and judgments of the book at hand, then you should have no problem scaling up and down throughout your notes to bring your perspective into view. In simple terms, read the book, take lots of notes about your impressions of the book, outline your arguments, and ultimately form them into a formidable book review.
What is a book review?
A book review is a critical assessment of a printed work. Reviews put into account journals, books, novels, articles, categories spanning literature, science, technology, politics, art, architecture, fashion, shows, fine dining, and many other types of writing.
A book review really just takes a stance on a particular aspect of the work and supports that stance with evidence. A vital component of a review is that it's an assessment and not just a book synopsis. And with this, you go into discourse and talk about the book's author with his or her readers. One can disagree or agree and pinpoint where the work is good and where it lacks in terms of analysis, organization. Your personal assessment should be made apparent in concern towards the book at hand.
Usually, a review is short and to the point, not commonly going over 1000 words, except when you might have lengthier writing assignments. But no matter what, the writing should be concise. Although the narrative voice, topic, and style are often different, a few aspects generally remain the same. The reader should be able to get a clear synopsis of the book; the topic explored its overall meaning, thesis, and motive. Next, it should be critical. Your reactions, what stands out as impactful or swaying, how it gave a better understanding of the problems. And lastly, the readership's critical reception and how they felt or will feel after having read the work.
How to write book reviews is actually quite a bit different from the usual types of academic writing because you are using the writer's argument at first, then forming your own throughout the course of the review. Your arguments need to flow and come together in a step by step process and format in order to make the thesis come out right. How to write a good book review is partially reliant on how well you mix your own perspective with that of the author's.
What to include in a book review
The steps to writing a book review are made easier with the use of an outline. This will help you to stay grounded and prevent you from straying into the territory of academic work.
What to include in a book review is as such. You can start off by pointing out the writer's aim at the same time, making your own perspective in the midst of the review. The point of view really is reliant on the style of the review. Let's say the readers are more fascinated by the work on its own. If this is the case, then you might want to exemplify the author's work, making their book more distinguished. Suppose you want your personal argument and opinion to constitute the review. In that case, you can also make the outline to support your own assessment while also keeping it objective and aligned with the book itself. This is also how to write book reviews. Up next, we will simply just demonstrate the many ways on how to organize the book review structure and how to piece it all together accordingly.
Here's what to include in a book review:
- The title page with the entire bibliography citations, full title, author, place, and date of publication, which edition, pages, etc.
- A thesis paragraph or thesis statement (depending on the length)
- A short book summary, preferably a paragraph or two in length,
- A paragraph on the good points and one on the bad points, and one of your own evaluation of the book's good and bad qualities.
How To Start A Book Review
Ask yourself these questions before writing. What is the thesis? If the writer wanted you to gain one thing from the book, what would it be? How would it measure up to the world? What's the book subject, does the author incorporate it? Does the author support their argument, what evidence does he or she use, and was it good enough to make that argument? How does he or she structure this argument? Does it make sense, yes or no? What has the book done to help you come closer to an understanding of the subject? Is it worth the read?
Most reviews are quick and to the point; a lot of writers start off with a pithy little opening or storyline that concisely gives their point of view. When you think about how to start a book review, you can begin your intro in a wide variety of ways based on the perspective and the readership. The intro should have the author's name, the title of the book, and the overall theme. It should also have meaningful information regarding who the author is and what's their place among others in the genre.
The book review introduction should have a kind of map, so to speak, that helps your readers navigate what is to come. In the art of fiction and novels, the writer can emphasize the time, its impactful relevance to that time, how unique it was, or what contribution it made or is still making today. Also, remember that the intro needs a thesis as well.
Analysis and Evaluation: Book Review Main Body
The main body is to back up your opinion, supporting your own thesis, and why you think this. Make these points in relation to your thesis. What's the author's style? How were you affected by the book? Did it change you? Did the book do what it meant to do? What was the author's narration, and was it convincing with supporting evidence? Also, do you think the audience was satisfied?
The book review's main body is the analysis and evaluation, which has to be set into paragraphs with an argument for each one. This can be somewhat difficult because although you should be relating the book in its entirety, certain aspects, critiques, and proof per paragraph can be put together for a better overall understanding. This is partially to say that you actually don't need to go through the book from start to finish. You can piece together your paragraphs by themes or other book elements. If you want to do a bit of compare and contrast to other books, then make it quick so that we keep the book we are reviewing under focus. Don't quote too much, and always cite the exact page in parentheses. Also, you can paraphrase the author instead of direct quotes.
Regarding the summary, it will help you figure out what you want to write when you know what your argument is. So write the summary of what you know before you begin the actual draft. Let's say you don't know the material very well. In this case, you should summarize the reading so your ideas will fall into place. This will help organize things together. The book review summary should be brief, as the analysis takes first priority. Throughout the making of your evaluation, you'll need to back your opinions with actual proof drawn from the book. Therefore parts of the summary will be made all over the review. The adequate quantity of summary is pretty reliant on your readership.
The necessary amount of summary also depends on your audience. For example, Grad students might want just to summarize the contents of the book. It should be noted that you must tie your audience and the review together. Let's say the task wants the argument along with the thesis and verification; you should make your summary shorter. The book review summary can introduce the work or be proof to whatever point you are trying to make, just make it short. Remember, it's the argument that takes first priority here. And with the body being as important as it is, you will know how to write a good book review if done well.
How To End A Book Review
Draw it all to a conclusion and state your thesis again. Do not introduce new things into your argument in conclusion. You can make new ideas that stretch beyond just the book if they support the thesis somehow. The book review conclusion has to smooth out the book's good areas and bad areas to make the overall assessment. Does the body help draw all of this to a conclusion? How to end a book review really relies on how well the review's former parts were written and put together. Just make your thesis again and summarize by hitting the main points again briefly. Quotes can be used for this as well. The conclusion really should be your time to make the final point and indicate the importance of this point, and maybe even engage the reader towards your point of view. Give off a good feeling at the end; make it positive and impactful.
Book Review Format
The book review format is up to you whether you want to do MLA or Chicago. For the purposes of this review, we'll show you how to do Chicago style. Margins no less than 1 inch on all sides. Spacing double spaced. Font standard Times New Roman or courier 10-12 pt. On the top of the page, page numbers should start from the second page if using a cover page. The main body, book titles in italics, and titles of chapters in quotation marks. And finally, use block quotes and footnotes.
Book Review Tips
In order to write a good review, some book review tips would be handy.
- A long intro can be daunting; keep it short and sweet.
- Try not to make comparative literature. The reader can be thrown off by this. Of course, your own take is much needed when writing a good book review.
- Opinion matters. One should always refer to the template guide in order to write for clearer understanding.
- Writing a book review takes a certain level of criticism, so don't be afraid to be critical.
- Be positive, not just critical.
- Review the novel, don't just pick things out of thin air; review what is actually there in the book.
- Finally, really try to enjoy the book even its shortfalls.
These steps will surely help you when writing a book review. Now you can write your own!