Reviewing a book is a quintessential skill for every university or post-graduate student. However, this assignment requires processing large volumes of books, which may be tiring. The daunting task leaves many students looking for book review templates, book review sites, and book review guides. At My Essay Hub, you will get these products plus premium custom writing services for all your book reviews.
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Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write a Book Review Essay
You have been assigned a book review assignment, and you don’t even know which book to pick leave alone how to scribe down a book review. Do you pick on a tragedy drama like Electra or a Caribbean writers book like Miguel Street? Even after selecting your books, what do you write about? Don’t panic!!! Here at My Essay Hub, we will guide you through the process of selecting your book and even writing the review.
There are two approaches to book reviewing: Descriptive reviews and critical reviews. Any review should focus on the books purpose, contents and authority.
Descriptive reviews are the type of reviews that give essential information about the book. This may be with description and exposition, by stating the perceived aims and purposes of the author and by quoting striking passages from the text.
Critical reviews describe and evaluate the book in terms of the accepted literary and historical standards while supporting this evaluation with evidence from the text. To write a critical review, the student must put into consideration two things:
- Knowing the work under review – trying to understand the author’s purpose and how the parts of the work contribute to that purpose. The book reviewer should also have the knowledge of the author: nationality, time periods and other works of the author.
- Requirements of the genre – understanding the art form and how it functions. Without such information, the book reviewer will have no historical or literary standard upon which to base the evaluation.
Essentials for Reviewing a Book
Description of the book – Sufficient description of the book should be so that the reader will have an understanding of the author’s thoughts.
Discuss the author – Biographical information that is relevant to the subject of the review should be used to enhance the reader’s understanding of the work under discussion.
Appraise the book – A statement of the book reviewers understanding of the author’s purpose and how well the reviewer feels the author’s purpose has been achieved, and the evidence to support the reviewer’s judgment of the author ‘s achievement should be used.
Before reading the book one should consider:
- Title of the book. What does the title suggest about what to find in the book?
- If the book has a preface, it is important that you read it because it provides relevant information on the author’s purpose in writing the book and will more importantly help to determine the success of the work.
- Table of contents. This is important as it informs readers how the book is and will help in determining the writer’s main ideas and how the author has developed them: chronologically, topically, et cetera.
Areas Worth Noting
There are several things you should note when reading a book for review. First you should note impressions. Read the book with care, note your impressions, and allow time to take in what you read so that the book can be in perspective. Keep in mind the need for a single impression that must be clear to the reader.
Secondly, you should make a list of the characters noting their personality from the beginning to the end. If a shift in personality occurs to any of the characters, try to figure out what is creating the shift – is there any event in the book that happened that forced the character change?
Next, pick out what you think is the main idea of the book. This acts as the focus of the story. The reviewer’s job is to determine whether or not the author’s idea is good or groundbreaking in any way. If an author has an argument, it is important that you note it. You should determine how the author supports the argument.
Additionally, it is crucial to highlight quotable passages that stand out to you. This can include the parts of the book that the reviewer thinks that they summarize the work well, supports a theme in the book or will act as an excellent example of the author’s style.
Book Review Outline
Most writings always have an outline. The review outline gives the writer an overview of the organization of the review so that he/she can determine the central point the review will make and to eliminate inessentials or irrelevancies and also to fill in the gaps and omissions.
In writing the review outline, the writer needs first to examine all the notes that he/she has made and eliminate those with no relationship to the central thesis.
Organize the discussion topics into groups; this will make the aspects of the book emerge, e.g. themes, characters, and structure.
Write down all the major headings of the outline and fill in the subdivisions. All the parts in the review outline should support your thesis or central point of the book review.
Drafting the Review
- The first step in the writing of the book review is to understand the structure of the book review. In general, book reviews begin with the summary of the book that avoids giving away too much information in the book. The summarizing paragraph is by a paragraph that conveys the opinion of the book.
- Keep your audience in mind. What audience will read your work? Is it the teacher and your classmates? Keep in mind that the audience has not read your book and so you must introduce each of your characters and plot efficiently so that you involve the audience and make them feel like they have a of the book.
- Write the summary. Keep the summary as brief as possible. In this, you need to discuss the central idea of the book, the plot and the major characters. Do not use too many details…give only the most important details about the plot and characters.
- Write your evaluation of the book. Choose one to three major points in the book. This is where you discuss the themes of the book. This is also where you give the opinion of the book. The quotes that you noted when reading…you can use the quotes to support your argument but make sure that they are not too long.
- Conclude your article by including a sentence a sentence or two about the publisher and the price.
Most book reviews end with a sentence that says what publisher the book was published by, and what the prices of both the hardback and paper copies are. Some book reviews end with the year the book was published and the ISBN number. This is the commercial identifier of the book. It is on the copyright page at the front of the book.
Revising the Draft
After writing the first draft, allow time to pass before you can start your revision. The objective of the revision is to correct grammatical mistakes and punctuation as you find them. Read your paper through again looking for unity, organization and logical development. As you revise, verify quotations for accuracy and check the format and content of references.
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