Writing a Book Review: Guidelines
While embarking in writing your book review assignment, it is fundamental that one bears in mind the advice embedded in William of Baskerville in Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose. William highlights that, “Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry.” These are strong foundations of ideologies that would form the core of any successive book review. In many regards, it such a definition that distinguishes a book review from a book report. This is in consideration that, in as much as a book review provides some reporting on the contents of a book as it is done in a book report; a book review provides a much incisive approach on the contents of the book. This includes an extensive evaluation of the same book, while at the same time providing a critical commentary on the book contents.
Formatting your book review paper
An excellent and classic book review structure would include the following:
- A title that includes a complete bibliographic citation for the work such as the title in full, the author/s names, publisher, date of publication, among other standard citation information.
- A section identifying the thesis, as well as an evaluation on whether the author succeeds in demonstrating or presenting the stated purpose of the book.
- A section providing summary of the book contents.
- A section highlighting the book’s strengths.
- A section highlighting the book’s weaknesses.
- A section highlighting your assessment of the book’s strengths and weaknesses.
In deciding the format to follow when writing your book reviews, always adhere to the specific assignment guide that has been issued by your professor or course instructor. Notwithstanding, as with most writing approaches, a book review usually commences with an introduction, which aims at establishing to your readers what you intend to review or else talk about. With this mind, the first paragraph usually includes the author of the book, as well as the title. Though the information may have been provided prior in the title section, it forms an essential starting point in that it assists in preventing the readers from looking up again to get the information. The next approach involves an overview on the book being reviewed.
Overview of the Book
This section of book review writing is entangled with the introduction section. A brief overview of the book contents should be included in this section of a writing a book review. In addition, the purpose or audience for the book, as well as your reaction and evaluation to the book should be highlighted briefly. Such would include a look unto the author’s intentions, theme, purpose, among other identifiable items. The next step should involve giving background information of the book that assists in placing the book in context, as well as elaborate on the criteria that you have used in judging the book contents. This should be followed by an analysis of the main points that the book happens to present, while quoting and paraphrasing key phrases highlighted by the author in his/her work. Some of the key questions that need to be answered in this section include:
- What is the book’s argument?
- Does the book mirror the current debate or trend in the subject the author is addressing, and if so, how?
- How does the author’s arguments compare to other books that have previously addressed the subject?
- Does the book have a clear structure and examples on the subject being covered?
- What possibilities does the author suggest in his/her book?
- What has the author left out of the book?
Writing the Book Review Conclusion
Once you are done with reviewing the book, a conclusion that bears your unbiased judgment is required. As previously mentioned you must always follow your specific assignment guidein the entire book review including the conclusion part. In the conclusion include a strong final last sentence that offers a one-sentence summary with your overall opinion on the book, as well as the authors achievements on the subject addressed.
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