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Tips for writing a book review

16 Aug 2018

If you are a student at school or college at some point you will be tasked with writing a book review if you have not already. The art of writing a book review can seem difficult and daunting at times, but do not panic. When you break down what is required from a book review down into key steps it can be a much simpler task. Many people tend to make the mistake of jumping straight into typing a mass of words and then finding themselves lost with no direction halfway through.

With the steps in this article, you should find writing an article review or a book review is much simpler. This is down to the fact that structuring your work before typing will save you time in the long run. These techniques should also help improve the quality of your work. Proper planning keeps your content on topic as you may have a word limit to stick to. This is similar to when you may have had to write a 500 word essay.

What is a book review?

A book review is a form of literary criticism that is conducted and based on an analysis of a books content, style, and reputation. A book review can be included as part of an essay or dissertation, or it can be written as a stand alone review.  The core requirement of a book review is to read and provide your opinion on the book and ideas within it, these must be structured into a specific format for the reader of the review to get a proper understanding of the points that are put forward.

Principal steps to write a good book review

As discussed earlier there are key steps to write a book review that are successful and follow an appropriate structure. These steps can be divided into three sections:

1. Preparing for Writing

  • Read the Book

The very first step seems obvious, but it is still worth stating, Read the Book! When we say read the book we mean read it thoroughly and multiple times if possible. It is very hard to write an in-depth book review without doing this as you will almost definitely miss key points in the story during first reading. Authors can be clever in the lead up to key events happening and these are often missed by readers until noticing them the second or third time around. You may not be giving the author the credit where it’s due.

  • Cross Reference

When reading the book and taking notes, consider its field of study or genre and what you expect from other books in the same fields. If the book is a non-fictional lookout for facts and statistics and cross-references them with other works.

  • Themes and Writing Styles

Another thing to consider when reading a book are the major themes within it. These can sometimes be in the form of a message or an idea, a simple way to figure this out is to describe the book in one to three words. The authors writing style may also affect how the message is delivered in literature. If you have time to read any of their previous work, then this would be a great benefit when reading the book in hand.

2. Writing a draft

The draft is where you build the core of your review. You can freely type all of the key points and opinions you would like to put forward without worrying too much about structure or finesse at his point. Once you have completed the draft you can start to neaten the work up.

3. Revising a review

Your first attempt at writing the review will not be perfect, allow yourself time to polish the review and tie all of your ideas together.

Main questions help write a book review

When you ask yourself how to make a book review, there are several questions to ask yourself to make sure you do not miss any critical information in the outline of the review.  Treat these questions as sacred as missing any of these will cause your review to fail or be heavily criticised.

These questions are as follows:

1. What is the book's title?

2. Who is the book's author?

3. What date was the book written and published?

4. Who published the book?

5. What type of writing is the book categorized?

6. Who are the key characters in the book?

7. Have you briefly summarized the book?

8. What are the themes in the book and is there a dominant one?

9. Is there any symbolism?

10. What are the motifs within the book?

So there you have everything you should need to start writing a great book review and the question of “how to write a book report” or “how to write a book review” should be answered. If you follow all these steps and run through the 10 questions that we have given you, you should have no problem becoming a great reviewer. If you are looking for more support before beginning your review then check out an article review example first.

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