How To Write A Good Book Review
A book review is a summary of a book that you have read. You should review all aspects of the story. A book review is therefore written after reading because without reading the book it is difficult to figure out what it is all about and the review will, therefore not make sense. A wide reader will have an easy time in book review writing. This article highlights the guidelines for review writing.
Content of this article
- Structure elements
- Tips for writing
- How to conclude
1. Preparation for writing a book review
- Most people do not know how to write a book review. The following are the guidelines to writing. First, know some information about the author, like some of his other books and some basic knowledge as it opens up your mind on what to expect as you begin reading.
- Read the chosen book when very alert. As you read, make sure that you take down notes. The notes written should be relevant and important. Ensure that you document the very important parts of the book such as the theme, characters and what the plot is.
- Make sure that the notes written are detailed to avoid referring to the book too much when making the draft copy.
- Establish what the major themes of the book are. A book has about two or three major themes. Relate the themes to the contemporary society and understand why the author decided to pick on those themes. Be keen to see how the themes blend with one another.
- As you read, notice the weak points of the book. This could be character building or plot. Any weak point in the book should be highlighted to ensure that it is not left out.
- Highlight the uniqueness of the text. Why do you find the book unique in its way? What separates it from all others of the same genre? It takes a keen eye and a vivid reader to know why a book is unique.
- Based on your assumption, why do you think that the book is a success? It is derived from your opinion. It might be a success or a failure.
2. Structure of a review
There are different book review structures. The key review tips to consider are as follows. Whichever the format used, these should be inclusive.
1. Making a draft
The first step to writing a successful book review is always to make a review draft. It is a rough outline for a book review. It includes gathering up the notes taken and making a body out of them. Place the notes in chronological order and write in prose form what you think should be included in the book review. Being the book review introduction, it is written without making any corrections. The draft is the skeleton of the review and gives an overview of how the final copy should be. Know the book review structure to use.
2. The heading
The heading is written in bold and capital letters. Write the name of the book and the author.
In the introduction for a book review, explain who you are. In a paragraph, states that the review is about a book you have read. Start with a couple of sentences that describe what the book talks about. However, do not reveal any plot twists or character plays. In the introduction write about the author and his other works. Reveal whether or one needs to read a particular book to follow or not. The introduction should not contain any spoilers. The introduction lays the foundation for the review.
The summary includes details about the book. While writing the summary, book review outlining should be observed. It shows how you feel about the book, how it is written and how the story is told.
3. Tips for good writing
The key book review tips to consider in book review writing are:
• Character development
Tell who your favorite character was and why. Why did the character stand out for in the book?
Did the characters feel real to you and why? How well did the characters grow in the book? Explain to your readers what you think about how well the author developed the characters in the book. Show a pattern of development from the start.
Did the author keep you guessing? A good book is one that has suspense till the end or was the story predictable. Explain how well the author brought out emotions like happiness or sadness. Explain what your favorite part in the book was. You can quote phrases in the book that you found to bring out the best. The phrases should be written in italics and quoted. Was the story captivating to keep you turning the pages? If you got bored or lost at a point, explain why and what you think should be done about it.
The theme is what the book is all about. Some of the most popular themes are:
The prologue of the book gives an overview of what to expect in the book. As you read, identify whether or not the author stuck to the intended theme. Did you feel the relevance of the theme or did it come off as just another book? This is what sells the book.
4. How to conclude a book review
In a book review conclusion, the writer can state whether or not they have any books they have written. Give a possible link to other book reviews done.
This is the conclusion of a book review, and it explains what you did not like about the book. It could be ending or the story. Was the conclusion to your liking? Or would you have preferred if it ended in a particular way? For example, would you have preferred a happy ending and not a cliffhanger? Compare the book to others of its kind and state the differences. It allows the reader to see that the review was based on a large pool of books.
Ensure that the review outline is the recommended one. Recommend the audience you think would find the book interesting and why for example the youth, couples or entrepreneurs. You can also rate the book.
Let's look at a book review example
As discussed in our article explaining how to write a book review, book reviews are very different from book reports. In order to illustrate what a book review is, we have provided a book review example for your reference.
Here is an example of a book review opening
"The Devil's Company, a treat for lovers of historical fiction, sees the return of Benjamin Weaver in his third exciting romp through the varied and sometimes surreal landscape of 18th-century London. Weaver is an endearing protagonist, a former pugilist and investigator for hire whom we first met in David Liss's A Conspiracy of Paper (1999)."
In just a few short lines, reviewer Frank Tallis has told us about the genre, setting, and main character of this novel.
He concludes the favorable review by saying, "Historical fiction is mostly smoke and mirrors. Modern writers really don't know what it was like to live in the past—no matter how much research they do—so the success of the enterprise depends largely on creating a convincing illusion. Liss rises to this challenge with great skill in this accomplished, atmospheric and thoughtful novel."
This book review example illustrates another important question to be addressed in the review: how does the work compare to others similar to it? Does the book contribute to a particular field or genre, or is the book lacking in quality compared to the works of other writers?
Now that you have an idea of how to write a book review, try one of your own. Don't forget to send it in for an English grammar check. Good luck!
Image sources: Fineas Anton/Unsplash.com
Writing a book report can be a difficult task that requires you to deal with a large amount of information in a relatively small space. But don't be discouraged—in this article we outline how to prepare for your book report and in our later article we discuss how to write a book report.
Writing a book review is not the same as writing a book report or a summary. A book review is a critical analysis of a published work that assesses the work's strengths and weaknesses. Many authors strive to have their books reviewed by a professional because a published review (even a negative one) can be a great source of publicity.
We have already provided students with useful tips on the importance of taking notes when reading a novel for a book report. Now it's time to put those notes into action and start writing a book report.
Back to Advice and Articles