How to Write a Good Book Review
Book reviews are brief summaries and evaluations of the books students have read. However, summarizing and evaluating books can sometimes be tricky and confusing. When writing an art history paper you do not have to include so many details, while even a simple review may go beyond just writing because you are supposed to read the whole book, analyze its cover, research about the author and so on. This article will help you organize your book report and include all the necessary pieces of information in it.
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
- The name of the author and the title of the book. Make sure you spell it correctly. It might also be necessary to find some other books written by the same author to be able to compare them with one another if relevant
- Define the genre. Whether it is poetry, romance, fiction, non-fiction or detective, you should correctly state it in your review
- Study the hard copy. The cover is more important than you might think. It is helpful to analyze if the cover influences the overall impression, and outline how exactly and why. Study the preface and introduction as well
- Outline the key characters, events, and ideas. Of course, you cannot fit every single idea from the book in your review, but you need to introduce the key points to let the reader understand what exactly the book is about.
- Follow your professor’s instructions. It is crucial for any paper, but especially for book reviews. Your instructor might have some special requests for word count, providing ISBN, etc. A typical book review is limited to 2-3 pages; however, it can be either longer or shorter than that as per your supervisor’s request
- Give a brief summary at the beginning. Start your paper with outlining the key points of the book. Summarize enough information to make the reader interested. You are not supposed to give a detailed description of a book in your review; tell the reader what the book is about, who the main characters are, and what happens to them. Lead your readers to the main action of the book without going into much detail. Remember, that the summary is generally around half the length of the entire paper, so leave enough room for your thoughts.
- Give your opinion. When writing your thoughts, take into account that they should be easy to follow for those who have not read the book. After having written the summary and establishing the background, make sure to concentrate on the main ideas provided. Therefore, it is essential to come up with a comprehensive yet brief summary in the first place. You should give your comments on whether the book is easy to read or not, what peculiarities the author’s writing style has, whether the author was able to express the main idea clearly or if there were any questions left after having read the book. You can also compare this book with other written output of the same author or similar genre. Do not hesitate to support your ideas with facts and logic, and give quotes if appropriate. It might be necessary to include the price of the book in your review as well.
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