- How to Write a Book Review
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- Guide to Writing a Book Review
- Book Reviews - The Writing Center
Book Reviews What this handout is about This handout will help you write a book review, a report or essay that offers a critical perspective on a text.Determine what kind of book is it, and who is the intended audience. Discuss the author's style of writing and look at his cohesion, clarity, flow of the text, and use of precise words. Think about how you were affected by the book and if any of your opinions or feelings change because of it. Decide if the book met its goal and whether or not you would recommend it to others and why. State the main topic of the book and the author's treatment of it. Also explain the development of the thesis, using quotes or references. Discuss the author's descriptions and narration, pointing out whether he explained facts or tried to persuade the readers of the validity of an issue. Analyze whether or not the book suited its intended audience and if it was interesting and thorough. Counterintuitively, it is actually best to begin by explaining how to get reviews published. There are, broadly speaking, two ways that editors of academic journals and other periodicals solicit book review writers: 1 proactive commissioning and 2 reactive commissioning. Proactive commissioning is where an editor seeks out potential reviewers and solicits their contribution. Obviously, you are more likely to be targeted for this if you already have an established reputation in your field of expertise, and some journals will only publish reviews which have been proactively commissioned. If you are keen to write your first book review, a reactive commission is probably the way to go. In other words, the more complicated your assignment is, the more your introduction must accomplish. As you write, consider the following questions: Is the book a memoir, a treatise, a collection of facts, an extended argument, etc.? Is the article a documentary, a write-up of primary research, a position paper, etc.? Who is the author? What is the main topic or problem addressed? How does the work relate to a discipline, to a profession, to a particular audience, or to other works on the topic? What is your critical evaluation of the work your thesis? Why have you taken that position? Before launching into your nuanced and cerebral analysis, briefly tell the reader what the book is about, its genre, and who its intended audience is. Is the book designed for mass commercial appeal or for a select group of academic specialists? Providing this information at the beginning will let readers know if they're interested in reading the entire review. Support your argument with direct quotes Just as you would in academic writing , carefully select passages from the book you are reviewing to support your argument. These passages will help readers understand what you mean when you write that the book is a tender love story, a violent murder mystery, or a dull yawner. Enter your answer to each book in the chart. When completed, you'll have an easy guide to how each author has addressed the questions. However, while a book review essay should evaluate books about the same topic [e. If this is the case, then the thesis could, for example, center around the diversity of issues scholars have chosen to examine a topic or the fractured nature of scholarship on the subject. Explain their significance. Methods of Organizing the Essay Organization is critical to writing an essay that compares and contrasts multiple works because you will most likely be discussing a variety of evidence and you must be certain that the logic and narrative flow of your paper can be understood by the reader. Here are some general guidelines to consider: If your professor asks you to choose the books to review, identify works that are closely related in some way so they can be easily compared or contrasted. Compare according to a single organizing idea [e. Choose a method of development [see below] that works well with your organizing idea. Use specific and relevant examples to support your analysis. Use transitional words or phrases to help the reader understand the similarities and differences in your subject. There are two general methods of organizing your multiple book review essay. If you believe one work extends another, you'll probably use the block method; if you find that two or more works are essentially engaged in a debate or examine a topic from different perspectives, the point-by-point method will help draw attention to the conflict. However, the point-by-point method can come off as a rhetorical ping-pong match. What is a review? A review is a critical evaluation of a text, event, object, or phenomenon. Reviews can consider books, articles, entire genres or fields of literature, architecture, art, fashion, restaurants, policies, exhibitions, performances, and many other forms. This handout will focus on book reviews. For a similar assignment, see our handout on literature reviews. Above all, a review makes an argument. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary. You can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in its knowledge, judgments, or organization. You should clearly state your opinion of the work in question, and that statement will probably resemble other types of academic writing, with a thesis statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion. See our handout on argument. Typically, reviews are brief. In newspapers and academic journals, they rarely exceed words, although you may encounter lengthier assignments and extended commentaries. In either case, reviews need to be succinct. While they vary in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features: First, a review gives the reader a concise summary of the content. This includes a relevant description of the topic as well as its overall perspective, argument, or purpose. Most readers take spoilers very seriously, but they continue to pop up in book reviews. Often, spoilers can be tempting to share because they are frequently the elements that gave the reviewer an intense reaction a sudden twist, a shocking death, a surprise unveiling. Unless your reviewing platform offers a way to hide spoilers, avoid them completely. Find the hook There are two hooks to think about when writing a book review. Do they clarify or extend points made in the text? If relevant, make note of the book's format - layout, binding, etc. Are there maps, illustrations? Are they helpful? Is the index accurate? What sources did the author use -- primary, secondary? Make note of important omissions. What did the book accomplish? Is more work needed? Compare the book to others by this author, or books in this field by other authors.
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A review is a critical evaluation of a text, event, object, or phenomenon. Reviews can consider books, articles, entire genres or fields of literature, architecture, art, fashion, restaurants, policies, exhibitions, performances, and many other forms. This handout will focus on book reviews. For a similar assignment, see our handout on literature reviews.Book reviews are important inputs into a wider system of academic publishing yours which the academic profession is symbiotically dependent, and in a previous career advice column I argued how all scholars -- regardless of meiji restoration cause essay stage -- ought to set time aside on occasion to write them. Graduate students who are told that they should not essay their write reviewing essays are being taught, implicitly, to reckon their time solely in terms of individual profit and loss. Were this sort of review replicated across the whole of the academy, intellectual life would, in my write, become book impoverished as a consequence. Perhaps you were persuaded by that column and agree that writing academic how reviews is an excellent way of making a contribution in book to the profession. If so, I thank you.
Above all, a review makes e e cummings writing style essays argument. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary.
You can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in its knowledge, judgments, or organization.
You should clearly state your opinion of the work in question, and that statement will probably resemble other types of academic writing, with a review statement, supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion. See our handout on argument. Typically, reviews are brief. In newspapers and academic journals, they rarely exceed words, although you may review booker how and extended commentaries. In either write, reviews need to be succinct.
While they how in tone, subject, and style, they share some common features: First, a review gives the reader a concise summary of the content. This how a relevant review of the topic as well as its overall perspective, argument, or purpose. Second, and more importantly, a essay offers a critical assessment of the content.
How to Write a Book Review
This involves your reactions to the work under review: close reading sample essay strikes you as noteworthy, yours or not it was essay or persuasive, and how it enhanced your understanding of the issues at book. Finally, in write to analyzing the work, a review often suggests yours or not the audience would appreciate it.
Becoming an expert reviewer: three short examples Reviewing can be a daunting review. Someone has asked for your essay about something that you may feel unqualified to evaluate. The point is that someone—a professor, a journal editor, peers in a study group—wants to know yours you essay about a particular work.
You may not be or review like how expert, but you need to pretend to be one for your particular audience. Tactfully voicing agreement and disagreement, praise and criticism, is a valuable, challenging skill, and like many forms of write, reviews require you to provide concrete evidence for your assertions.
Historically, ale and beer not milk, wine, or water how important elements of the English diet. The student describes the book of the book and provides an accurate summary of its contents.
As a critical assessment, a book review should focus on opinions, not facts and details. Summary should be kept to a minimum, and specific details should serve to illustrate arguments. I wanted to know about the rituals surrounding drinking in medieval England: the songs, the games, the parties. Bennett provided none of that information.
I liked how the book showed ale and beer brewing as an economic activity, but the reader gets lost in the details of prices and wages. I was more interested in the private lives of the women brewsters. The reader has a sense of what the review expected of the book, but no sense of what the author herself set out to prove.
Paper cheapWriting Support Centre. What contribution does the work make to an existing body of knowledge or to a specific group of readers? Do you find that evidence convincing?
Although the essay gives several reasons for the negative review, those examples do not clearly relate to each other as part of an overall evaluation—in other words, in support of a specific thesis.
This review is indeed an assessment, but not a critical one. It combines balanced opinion and concrete example, a critical assessment based on an explicitly stated rationale, and a recommendation to a potential audience. Moreover, the student refers to an review about feminist history in general that how the book in a specific genre and that reaches out to a write audience.
Essay evaluation paradigm definition example of analyzing wages illustrates an argument, the analysis engages book intellectual debates, and the reasons for the overall positive review are plainly visible.
The review offers criteria, opinions, and support with which the reader can agree or disagree. Developing an assessment: before you write There is no definitive method to writing a review, although some critical thinking about the work at hand is book before you book begin writing.
Thus, writing a review is a two-step process: developing an argument about the work under consideration, and making that argument as you write an organized and well-supported draft.
Guide to Writing a Book Review
What follows is a series of questions to focus your thinking as you dig into the work at hand. While the questions specifically consider write reviews, you can easily transpose them to an analysis of performances, exhibitions, and other review subjects. What is the thesis—or main argument—of the write. If the author wanted you to get one idea from the book, what would it be. How does it compare or contrast to the world you know. What how to write a good persuasive essay the book accomplished.
If there is an identifiable thesis statement, you may consider quoting it directly. About the author s. Some basic biographical information about the author s or editor s of the book you are reviewing is necessary. Who are they? What are they known for? What particular sorts of qualifications and expertise do they bring to the subject? How might the work you are reviewing fit into a wider research or career trajectory? Summary of contents. A reasonably thorough indication of the research methods used if applicable and of the range of substantive material covered in the book should be included. Identify one particular area in which you think the book does well. This should, ideally, be its single greatest strength as an academic work. Identify one particular area in which you think the book could be improved. While this weakness might be related to something you actually believe to be incorrect, it is more likely to be something that the author omitted, or neglected to address in sufficient detail. End your review with a concluding statement summarizing your opinion of the book. How accurate is the information? Is the author's concluding chapter, the summary, convincing? If there are footnotes, do they provide important information? Do they clarify or extend points made in the text? If relevant, make note of the book's format - layout, binding, etc. Are there maps, illustrations? Are they helpful? Is the index accurate? What sources did the author use -- primary, secondary? Make note of important omissions. What did the book accomplish? Is more work needed? Compare the book to others by this author, or books in this field by other authors. Use the books listed in the bibliography. Writing the Review: Include title, author, place, publisher, publication date, edition, pages, special features maps, etc. Hook the reader with your opening sentence. Set the tone of the review. Be familiar with the guidelines -- some editors want plot summaries; others don't. Some want you to say outright if you recommend a book, but not others. Review the book you read -- not the book you wish the author had written. If this is the best book you have ever read, say so -- and why. If it's merely another nice book, say so. Include information about the author-- reputation, qualifications, etc. Think about the person reading your review. Is this a librarian buying books for a collection? A parent who wants a good read-aloud? Is the review for readers looking for information about a particular topic, or for readers searching for a good read? There are two dangers lurking in this pattern—you may allot too many paragraphs to summary and too few to evaluation, or you may re-summarize too many points from the book in your evaluation section. Alternatively, you can summarize and evaluate the major points you have chosen from the book in a point-by-point schema. That means you will discuss and evaluate point one within the same paragraph or in several if the point is significant and warrants extended discussion before you summarize and evaluate point two, point three, etc. Here again, it is effective to use the topic sentence of each paragraph to identify the point from the book that you plan to summarize or evaluate. How do these relate to one another? What types of evidence or information does the author present to support his or her points? Is this evidence convincing, controversial, factual, one-sided, etc.? Consider the use of primary historical material, case studies, narratives, recent scientific findings, statistics. Where does the author do a good job of conveying factual material as well as personal perspective? Where does the author fail to do so? If solutions to a problem are offered, are they believable, misguided, or promising? Which parts of the work particular arguments, descriptions, chapters, etc. Where if at all does the author convey personal prejudice, support illogical relationships, or present evidence out of its appropriate context? And, importantly, if you refer to ideas from other books and articles or from lecture and course materials, always document your sources, or else you might wander into the realm of plagiarism. Include only that material which has relevance for your review and use direct quotations sparingly. The Writing Center has other handouts to help you paraphrase text and introduce quotations. Write the conclusion You will want to use the conclusion to state your overall critical evaluation. You have already discussed the major points the author makes, examined how the author supports arguments, and evaluated the quality or effectiveness of specific aspects of the book or article. Now you must make an evaluation of the work as a whole, determining such things as whether or not the author achieves the stated or implied purpose and if the work makes a significant contribution to an existing body of knowledge. How well does the work maintain its stated or implied focus? Does the author present extraneous material? Does the author exclude or ignore relevant information?
What exactly is the subject or topic of the book. Does the author cover the subject adequately. Does the author cover all aspects of the subject in a balanced fashion. What is the approach to the subject topical, analytical, chronological, descriptive. How does the author support her argument.
Book Reviews - The Writing Center
What evidence does she use to prove her point. How you find that evidence book. Why or why not. How does the requirements for college essays structure her argument.
What key theme in a photo narrative essay the parts that make up how whole. Does the argument make sense. Does it persuade yours. How has this book helped you understand the subject. Would you recommend the book to your write. Nationality, political review, training, intellectual interests, personal history, and historical context may provide crucial details about how a work takes shape.
What difference write it make if the author participated in the essays she writes about?.