How to Write a Great Book Review

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Author: Alice Miley

How to Write an Interesting Book Review

Writing a book review is a common assignment for students in colleges and universities. Journalists and bloggers are also those who like to share their opinion on what they have read. Perhaps, you are simply eager to express your thoughts after reading a particular book. You want to voice your emotions to other readers and your review can help someone else decide whether the book is worth their time. Check out some tips on how to write an interesting and effective book review.

What Is a Book Review?

A book review is a critical analysis of the text which helps the potential reader decide whether he wants to read the book or not.

Book Review vs Book Report

There is a similar term such as a “book report”, but these two pieces of writing are not the same.

  • A review focuses on expressing your thoughts about what you have read. The emphasis is on telling whether you personally enjoyed reading or not.
  • A report is written mainly in the form of presenting facts, such as plot, characters, the main idea and the impact that the piece of writing had.

When You Start Reading

Have an overall look at the book. Check out its appearance and write down what your first impression is. Analyze the following aspects:

  • How big is the book? Can you easily put it in a handbag and read in the café or it has a size of the encyclopedia and can only be read at home?
  • Is printing distracts from the main idea or it fully corresponds to it?
  • How many pages the book has and how much time it might take to read it?
  • Is the cover alluring to you and does it make you interested?

While You Read

After you started reading, make sure you document your thoughts in the process. You may write down what your reactions are on paper or you can use a camera or a voice recorder.

Steps in Writing a Review

  • Define the main idea. The author might explore several topics in his work, so if after reading the book you are unsure what the message is, check out the preface, table of contents, introduction, and conclusion. This may help you determine what the main idea of the book is.
  • Create the first draft. Write down all your reactions and arguments without worrying that the text is incoherent. At this stage, it is important to simply put your thoughts on paper (or you can use electronic means such as computer and different types of gadgets) and to edit the text later on.
  • Write a catchy introduction. If you want to attract reader’s attention so that he reads your review, make sure that you create an intriguing introductory sentence.
  • Give a short summary of the book. The summary of the book should be short and concise, since the main part of the review, which usually follows the summary, will be dedicated to the evaluation and discussion of the book.
  • Start analysis. Body paragraphs are aimed at actual critical analysis. In this part, evaluating of the text is needed as opposed to mere informing of the reader. Here, your personal opinion matters, so write clearly what you enjoyed and what you did not like. You may mention what you agree with and what you consider out of place. You can also compare a book with similar writings and write about your feelings if you realize that you can relate to a character or an event.
  • Write an effective conclusion. In a concluding paragraph, summarize your reaction to what you have read. Was it what you expected to be? Use a direct and concise language in order to clearly state whether you can recommend this particular book. If you did not like the writing, specify why you would not advise someone to read the book.
  • Do not skip a revision step. Any type of writing requires revision. Check your text for spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. Make sure that all syntax rules are followed and that the review is easy to read.

Writing a book review can be a challenging but interesting experience. You have an opportunity to express yourself and help other potential readers to figure out for themselves whether they should get into reading a particular book. Besides, the process of sharing your unique perspective can help you overthink what you have read and, perhaps, you will be able to see many things in a different and more exciting light.

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