Usually, reviews are short enough. In public editions, they hardly count more than 1000 words. Of course, you can encounter a longer work and wordier comments. But in general, reviews have to be concise, as it is an academic kind of paper. There are some common features about how to write book review that you need to know prior to start the job.
First of all, you have to give your reader a brief summary of the book’s content. It should contain a clear explanation of the topic, your arguments and reasons regarding your point of view.
The most important thing is that a review must present a critical attitude of the student towards the content. Describe, what impressed you most of all, what you believe to be noteworthy or poor in the book, whether the author was persuasive and consistent in his narration.
And finally, you are expected not only to present an analyze, but also to give your recommendations to a prospective reader, if the book is worth paying attention.
When you decide how to write book review, you may choose from two different approaches:1.Descriptive. In this case, a review describes essential features of the book in question. Try to explain the motivation of the author how you perceive it. Quoting relevant expressions or sentences will help you to maintain your standpoint.
2. Critical. With this kind of review, you should focus more on estimating the book under examination. Try to evaluate it in terms of a historical or literary approach, depending on the genre. Below are given some important pointers you have to keep in mind once you have chosen the critical style of your paper.
First of all, remember the following basic requirements concerning how to write book review critically:
- You must know what you are going to write about. It means not only content of the book itself, its component parts and logical line presented by the author. You should also have good knowledge concerning the author himself, his historical period, bibliography etc.
- You must have an idea about the basic principles of the genre. Try to assess, if the book in question fulfills the major requirements for such kind of work, with respect to historical and literary standards.
The basic items to be examined in a review:
- Description. You must give the reader a good description of the book in question so that he could understand the author’s point of view. But this is not just a summary. Give it along with your critical remarks and notes.
- Tell about the author himself. Give some information concerning his biography only with respect to the subject of your work. It will help your reader to better understand the discussion.
- Estimate the book trying to stay impartial. To do it, use the following criteria: the objectives that the author followed writing his work, whether he achieved them (according to your opinion), evidences of these achievements, if any.
It may sound funny, but it is important to read the book properly as well. Here are some tips:
- Read attentively.
- Highlight passages you could use in you review.
- When you read, note your impressions.
- Don’t make prompt conclusions, let your first emotions settle down, and then reflect on the subject.
- Remember, that you need to give the reader your only attitude to the book, so recognize it first for yourself.
The plan of the book review
When you have a good plan before you start, you will know how to write book review and what structure it should have. The plan allows to focus on the major points and keep the proper length of every paragraph and the whole work. To draw up your plan:
- Review the notes, which you made while reading. Eliminate those irrelevant to the main subject.
- Define the topics you want to discuss and group them according to themes, characters etc. It will help to form the structure of your paper.
- Formulate the names of all divisions and subdivisions of your plan.
- Make sure that every paragraph serves to maintain your major idea.
Once the plan is ready, you can get down to the draft writing of your paper. Keep in mind the following:
- Opening paragraphs are very important, they give the first impression to the reader. The introduction should be concise, but mention some key items: a thesis, purposes of the author, topicality and significance of the work, information concerning the author. Also, it is useful to compare the book in question with other works of this or other authors.
- The main part of the review should be a logical development of the thesis you have mentioned above. Put up your arguments following your plan. Highlight your central point and maintain it with quotes and references you noted while reading.
- Conclusion is your last opportunity to persuade the reader. Summarize your arguments and make your final judgement concerning the book. No new information is allowed in this section.
Once finished, revise your draft version.
It is advisable to start the revision only some time after finishing your writing. Correct all obvious errors you find – spell, grammar, punctuation etc. Consider if your paper looks integral and consecutive. Edit your work, if needed. Make sure that quotes and references are accurate and relevant to the subject.
Voilà, your book review is ready!