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How to Write a Book Review

What is a book review itself? This is a sort of text estimation which should include a critical element and your thoughts about what you have read. This kind of college activity concerns such works as books, magazine and newspaper articles, different fields of literature, art and so on. This guide is intended to explain you how to write exactly a book review.

But at first we need to distinguish such similar conceptions as a book review and a book report. A book report is intended for text content summation. As opposed to it a review isn't just a content report. It's a wider and deeper work, because you should provide a sort of estimation of its advantages and disadvantages.

Sometimes most of students consider themselves to be not clever or not qualified enough for such kind of activity, because, as they think, it is impossible to make a proper book review of the professional author. But who will demand such thing from an ordinary student? Nobody will. All you need is to understand a task and write a good book review. You don't need to express your attitude to the current book. Your task is to explain it. If you fond of it explain why. If it's a masterpiece (for your opinion, of course) you should adduce proofs. And so on. If you don't like it give proper reasons for such reaction. What did you dislike most of all? Main thought and proofs for its support, conclusion or something else? Don't be shy and express your full impressions. This is a real book review.

Usually a book review is a short work, not more than 1000 words, but everything depends on your educational demands and some additional elements as commentaries and tasks. It means that a review should be brief and reach in content. Here are some particular book review features:

To write a book review can be an embarrassing task. It's like when you were asked to express your thoughts about something and you don't consider yourself to be qualified enough to cope with this task. For example, how can you estimate the work of Ernest Hemingway? The whole point is that everyone, starting from your professor or supervisor and finishing on your classmates, want to know your own opinion about this work. Of course, you aren't an expert in this, but you have to become him for your audience. And nobody will say that you are not as good as the author was, but your diligent work and successfully matched arguments will supplement your work with new smart sense. Thoroughly conducted work would provide you with a good piece of a review. Let's investigate the process of book review writing in details.

Preparations Before Writing

You must understand that there is no concrete technique of book review writing, except deep and sustained studying of the possessed work. The process of review writing can be divided into two phases:

After the work has begun a lot of questions emerged before you. And your task is to adjust these questions to the estimation of the performance, showing and so on. You should pay attention to each question because some of them can be more important and valuable than the others.

The main points may be the next:

How can you describe the main point and the reasoning of it? Imagine that the author wanted you to choose one sound idea out of his work. Make your choice and explain its relation with the general situation you are familiar with.

Try to describe the matter of the book more concrete. Has the author embraced everything properly? Estimate the equilibration of all sides of the book. Define the method(s) with the help of which the subject was treated?

Describe ways of the main argument supporting. Define proofs he (the author) used for its arguing. Do you consider these testimonies to be persuasive? Have you found any collisions with other sources you had got to know before?

Appraise the structure of the text. Find out parts which are the most important and set the pitch. What is the quality of the main evidence? Do you consider it to be persuasive? Yes or no? Explain both cases.

Have you understood the main idea after the reading of this book? What recommendation according to this book will you give to your audience?

In addition to the book review writing it is possible to adduce some information about the author itself: what do you know about the author? His origin, nationality, life-story, political views etc. All these can make the whole truth about the book being more understandable.

Determine the genre belonging of the book. How does this book relate with this genre' main features? If it is the first book of this author you can think about its influence for authors' further literary activity.

Book Review Writing

After you have made all your supervisions and conclusions you should look through your notes and try to draw a sound statement out of all your impression - the statement that would explain the aim of your book review writing. Here you need also to outline your main evidences to support the purpose of the review.

Your evidences should support the thesis' logical development; accentuate the author's proof while you build the evidence of yours throughout the review writing. The expressiveness of your book review depends on what you are going to achieve: if your want to arouse readers' attention to the work, it's better to depict the author and his work in bright colors; if your aim is to attract attention to your own reflections than you should put them before the author's ideas. It depends from you what way is better.

Essential parts of any book review are:

1. Introduction

We have already mentioned that all book reviews are brief. That's why in the beginning you may use a sort of smart opening to attract audience attention at once. Don't present your review in different ways because of audience and argument.

Usually the introduction should include the following parts:

2. Personal ideas about the book

Outline of substance

You should make this part brief and analytical one. When you provide the book' estimation you will probably support your statements with particular proofs out of work. That's why conclusions about the book can be scattered around all sections of your review. The length of your outline depends on your supposed public. If your review is intended for presentation before your colleagues (for example, postgraduate students) you may pay more attention to the estimation of a book' content. From the other side your audience knows what this book is about. Then you can pay more attention to key point's estimation and give your own evidences.

3. Book estimation and studying

First of all you should divide your work into separate passages and each of them should be devoted to the concrete point of your evidence. To cope with this task you need to count the reviewed book being an ensemble thing but at the same time it will help you to single out the proofs from the whole text.

Don't use the chronological way of book reviewing. Link your arguments with different elements of the book: subjects, procedures and so on.

Remember that the reviewing book should be also in the first place, it should be highlighted. If you want to adduce some sound and helpful citations from the other book or some other sources make it briefly and don't forget to indicate "your" book to be the main one.

Try not to use too much quotations and references to the concrete book pages. Don't forget to use such writing element as rewriting. You can paraphrase much of the author's words in your own way.

4. Summary

Make a conclusion of everything you have made before: thesis description, proofs finding and the final conclusion. Don't give new arguments in this passage. But at the same time it is possible to produce a new thought if it can increase and improve your own main thesis.

In this section you need to show all advantages and disadvantages of the reviewed book. This is made for general book estimation and final conclusions. Check all your paragraphs for corresponding to the main idea of your book review.

Read your work several times and check for any mistakes or omissions. It useful to ask your friends or colleagues to help you with this task and give an outsource work estimation.

And, in conclusion, here are some additional prompts for book review writing:

Take a practical approach to the matter and everything will be all right.

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