- 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. See our handout on argument. Typically, reviews are br...
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 the latest publications on this topic. 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. Drewry, John. Writing Book Reviews.Boston: The Writer, 1974. Hoge, James O. Literary Reviewing.Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1987. Sova, Dawn B. and Harry Teitelbaum. How to Write Book Reports.4th ed. Lawrenceville, NY: Thomson/ARCO. 2002. Walford, A.J., ed. Reviews and Reviewing: A Guide.Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 1986. 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 source: The Writing Center, Univers...
Book Review – Introduction As good examples of book review show, the intro should not be long, since the main argument will be developed in the body. Nevertheless, the intro includes valuable info that attributes the book and gives some insight into who the author is. Try to include the following points (not as a list, but as full sentences):
Learning how to write strong reviews takes time and not a little effort. Reading the reviews others have done can help you get a feel for the flow and flavor of reviews. If I Never Forever Endeavor Review by Hayden, age 4, Southeast Michigan Mensa. This book was about a bird who didn't yet know how to fly.
Feb 01, 2021 · How to Write a Book Review: Format, Outline, & Example As a student, you may be asked to write a book review. Unlike an argumentative essay, a book review is an opportunity to convey the central theme of a story while offering a new perspective on the author’s ideas.
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Friedrich Engels’ study The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State: in the light of the researches of Lewis H. Morgan (1884) makes an anthropological case for the development of concepts such as the State, the family, and private property. The book also describes a prediction of what kind of political and economic changes Engels believed might take place in the future as ...
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. By contrast, book reviews are most often a college assignment, but they also appear in many professional works: magazines, newspapers, and academic journals.
Teachers might ask you to write a review of a book you have read recently. In order to illustrate what a book review is, we have provided you with interesting critical book review examples for your reference. APA Book Review Format Example . For writing a book review in APA format, refer to the following book review apa format example.
How to write a book review example pdf For all the would-be wordsmiths out there, I've got nine books to read if you want to write poetry but don't know where to start. Pull out your favorite journal or note-taking app now and jot down a few lines — you have to begin somewhere, after all.
Write a review pretending that your audience has never heard of a movie or book you are reviewing. Provide clear examples and facts, highlight the key elements; Write the relevant content. Make sure your review is 100% relevant to the topic.