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How to Write a Book Review - Where to Start
Before you start writing a book review, you should get familiar with the theoretical part of this assignment: what is the definition of an academic book review, which structure and which essential components it has. Academic writing requires strict compliance with generally accepted rules, so keep it in mind if you wish to write a perfect book review and receive a good mark.
According to the definition, provided by Wikipedia, "book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit". From this short specification, we can see that such type of assignment aims to develop your evaluative and critical skills, ability to highlight major points and to express your thoughts properly. There are many types of reviews, but if you are a student, you need a guide for writing particularly academic book reviews. In this article, we will give you some tips on how to write an academic book review and its main key features. Enjoy!
Academic book review format - Structure, Length, Formula
As it was mentioned earlier, if you need a good book critique for college, you need to follow some essential rules. First and foremost, you need to stick with required size of your work - it should not exceed 1000 words. One of many purposes of a book review is to show your ability to generalize the text, evaluate it and clearly present some interesting arguments. Brevity is the soul of wit, right? It is equally important to follow the generally accepted structure. Otherwise, your review will be incoherent, and your professor might even reject it. The conventional structure of a book review is:
In this paragraph, you have to mention general information regarding the book you chose to analyze. It includes a full bibliographic citation for the work (author's name, book title, year, ISBN etc.), a brief about the author and core idea of a book. This paragraph is usually short yet informative - try to make it concise and elucidatory. Pay special attention to this part when you write it because an introduction creates an initial impression about the writer and book review as a whole. Everyone knows that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so do whatever it takes to make it perfect!
- Book content summary.
Here you should briefly present the context of a book. That encompasses a concise overview of events taking place, short descriptions of significant characters, revealing the main idea of the book, expressing the author's standpoint etc. This paragraph should also be short because here, you're basically writing about what you've read. But, the main idea of writing a book review is to show your perspective and your ability to analyze information, not to see whether you are able to retell the text or not. Let's move on to the next paragraph to get a better look.
- Analysis and evaluation.
This is the main part of an academic book review. Here, you should shed some light on your thoughts on the book and do a thorough analysis. You can start literary examination by describing the author's main point of view, how he/she expresses it. After that, you can underline other interesting aspects such as the style of writing, genre, target audience, implied meanings, psychological analysis of characters and their role in the book etc. Basically, here you're at liberty to describe any component you want, but don't forget that your writing has to be of analytical character. You can examine the selected book according to "strengths and weaknesses" pattern - you highlight strong points and imperfections, analyze them and make an evaluation. This is the most common structure for the analysis paragraph because you dissect and evaluate the book at the same time, in other words, you kill two birds with one stone. Still, you are free to choose your own style of examining the composition, just don't forget about the literary analysis. Also, don't forget about the size - it has to be the biggest paragraph of your work, so make sure to release your flux of consciousness.
This is the final part of your assignment. Here, you have to present your overall impression of the book and the results of your evaluation. You can mention the book's value, its contribution to the world or field of study, touch on the main points once again and make the final judgment.
This is a generally accepted structure of a book review. But it is always a good idea to ask your teacher about any additional requirements for the assignment. In case your goal is to produce a good academic book review, we recommend you to consider following these instructions. If you comply with the rules above - learning how to write a good book review won't be an issue anymore!
Essential Recommendations and Book Review Tips
If you decided to write a book review in accordance with all the basic requirements, then you should remember these simple rules:
- Don't select a book which does not interest you;
- Adhere to the length limit;
- Avoid putting in too many citations;
- Stick to the proper book review format;
- Don't hold back on expressing your standpoint and arguments;
- Be brief and avoid obscurity;
- Remember to back up your arguments with quotations or factual data;
- Don't present new statements in the Conclusion part.
Following these rules, you will be able to create a perfect book review, which will satisfy even the most demanding professors! It is really easy - just try it yourself.
Still Have Some Questions?
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