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4 Major Considerations
- General information: All book reviews should contain some key information for the audience. ...
- Expanded plot or content summary: This varies according to the publication or outlet—some want more, some want less. ...
- Personal reactions and/or analysis: Your review should detail how the story or book affected you. ...
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Writing a book review or recommendation is not too difficult! Just make sure you include the following: 1) Go to the Book “Reviews & Recommendations” tab at the top of the blog. 2) Scroll down and click in the box named “Leave a Reply”.
Mar 02, 2020 · General Tips for Writing a Book Review Keep it Streamlined: Pay attention to length and make every word count. Lengthy, rambling reviews are confusing and time-consuming to read. Keep your readers with you by getting to the point.
- What This Handout Is About
- What Is A Review?
- Becoming An Expert Reviewer: Three Short Examples
- Developing An Assessment: Before You Write
- Writing The Review
- in Review
- Works Consulted
This handout will help you write a book review, a report or essay that offers a critical perspective on a text. It offers a process and suggests some strategies for writing book reviews.
A review is a critical evaluation of a text, event, object, or phenomenon. Reviews can consider books, articles, entire genres or fields of literature, architecture, art, fashion, restaurants, policies, exhibitions, performances, and many other forms. This handout will focus on book reviews. For a similar assignment, see our handout on literature reviews. Above all, a review makes an argument. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary. It allows you to enter into dialogue and discussion with the work’s creator and with other audiences. You can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in its knowledge, judgments, or organization. You should clearly state your opinion of the work in question, and that statement will probably resemble other types of academic writing, with a thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Typically, reviews are brief. In newspapers and academ...
Reviewing can be a daunting task. Someone has asked for your opinion about something that you may feel unqualified to evaluate. Who are you to criticize Toni Morrison’s new book if you’ve never written a novel yourself, much less won a Nobel Prize? The point is that someone—a professor, a journal editor, peers in a study group—wants to know what you think about a particular work. You may not be (or feel like) an expert, but you need to pretend to be one for your particular audience. Nobody expects you to be the intellectual equal of the work’s creator, but your careful observations can provide you with the raw material to make reasoned judgments. Tactfully voicing agreement and disagreement, praise and criticism, is a valuable, challenging skill, and like many forms of writing, reviews require you to provide concrete evidence for your assertions. Consider the following brief book review written for a history course on medieval Europe by a student who is fascinated with beer: The stu...
There is no definitive method to writing a review, although some critical thinking about the work at hand is necessary before you actually begin writing. Thus, writing a review is a two-step process: developing an argument about the work under consideration, and making that argument as you write an organized and well-supported draft. See our handout on argument. What follows is a series of questions to focus your thinking as you dig into the work at hand. While the questions specifically consider book reviews, you can easily transpose them to an analysis of performances, exhibitions, and other review subjects. Don’t feel obligated to address each of the questions; some will be more relevant than others to the book in question. 1. What is the thesis—or main argument—of the book?If the author wanted you to get one idea from the book, what would it be? How does it compare or contrast to the world you know? What has the book accomplished? 2. What exactly is the subject or topic of the b...
Once you have made your observations and assessments of the work under review, carefully survey your notes and attempt to unify your impressions into a statement that will describe the purpose or thesis of your review. Check out our handout on thesis statements. Then, outline the arguments that support your thesis. Your arguments should develop the thesis in a logical manner. That logic, unlike more standard academic writing, may initially emphasize the author’s argument while you develop your own in the course of the review. The relative emphasis depends on the nature of the review: if readers may be more interested in the work itself, you may want to make the work and the author more prominent; if you want the review to be about your perspective and opinions, then you may structure the review to privilege your observations over (but never separate from) those of the work under review. What follows is just one of many ways to organize a review.
Finally, a few general considerations: 1. Review the book in front of you, not the book you wish the author had written. You can and should point out shortcomings or failures, but don’t criticize the book for not being something it was never intended to be. 2. With any luck, the author of the book worked hard to find the right words to express her ideas. You should attempt to do the same. Precise language allows you to control the tone of your review. 3. Never hesitate to challenge an assumption, approach, or argument. Be sure, however, to cite specific examples to back up your assertions carefully. 4. Try to present a balanced argument about the value of the book for its audience. You’re entitled—and sometimes obligated—to voice strong agreement or disagreement. But keep in mind that a bad book takes as long to write as a good one, and every author deserves fair treatment. Harsh judgments are difficult to prove and can give readers the sense that you were unfair in your assessment....
We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial. We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback. Drewry, John. 1974. Writing Book Reviews.Boston: Greenwood Press. Hoge, James. 1987. Literary Reviewing.Charlottesville: University Virginia of Press. Sova, Dawn, and Harry Teitelbaum. 2002. How to Write Book Reports, 4th ed. Lawrenceville, NY: Thomson/Arco. Walford, A.J. 1986. Reviews and Reviewing: A Guide.Phoenix: Oryx Press. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 License. You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the...
- Provide a summary. Have you ever watched a movie only to realize that all the good bits were already in the trailer? Well, you don’t want the review to do that.
- Present your evaluation. While you should absolutely weave your own personal take of a book into the review, your evaluation shouldn’t only be based on your subjective opinion.
- Give your recommendation. At the end of the day, your critique needs to answer this question: is this a book you would (or wouldn’t) recommend to other readers?
- Include General information. Make sure to include all the relevant book information for your audience, including the title, author, genre, and publisher in your review.
- Provide a Brief Plot Summary. Your review should be about the book and your experience reading it. Let your reader know what the story is about so that they have context for your comments and feedback, but avoid including any specifics that may ruin the plot for them.
- Focus on the Book, Not the Author. Keep in mind that your main job as a reviewer is to share your opinion on the book, not to critique the author. Keep the focus on the story.
- Be Clear and Specific. It is not enough to just say that you did or didn’t like the book. Let your readers know why. Make your thoughts clear as early as possible.
Book reports commonly describe what happens in a work; their focus is primarily on giving an account of the major plot, characters, and/or main idea of the work. Most often, book reports are a K-12 assignment and range from 250 to 500 words. If you are looking to write a book report, please see the OWL resource, Writing a Book Report.
Dec 06, 2012 · A book review summarizes the book’s content, examines the author’s intent in writing it, and expresses the reviewer’s opinion about to what extent the author succeeded in conveying the intent or communicating a message. Just like any other piece of writing, a book review requires a lead paragraph that will attract the reader’s attention.
Writing a good book review is an art in and of itself, with the lofty goals of entertaining the reader, offering thoughtful opinions on the value of the book, and backing those opinions up with careful analysis. The best book reviewers are well respected professionals, whose opinions guide curious readers to new books that they’ll […]