How To Write A Good Book Review

If you are planning to write a good book review, you must have a thorough knowledge of the book you want to discuss. Therefore, you should start your book review by reading the book you want to discuss. This should be done with a lot of attention because the purpose of a book review is to give other readers a means to decide whether or not this book is right for them.

You should also do some background research. It is advisable to read about the author and read related material. It is best take some notes, as these might come in handy. In my opinion, it works best if you make a summary of each chapter and underline those passages that you think are weak (or strong). Afterwards you can add your own thoughts and comments.

Then finally, you can make a start at writing that review. Start with mentioning the author, the title of the work and give some publishing information. Also state which genre the book belongs to. As this is a difficult matter (there exist many cross-over genres), only a careful reading of the work will help. And don’t forget, if it is impossible to place the work in one genre, don’t be afraid to say so (and why).

Next, you’ll have to define the theme or the major problem in the book. It may prove necessary here that you include some background to enable the reader to place the book into a specific context. For instance, you can tell your readers how this general theme or major problem in the work relates to other work of the author.

Continue by describing the book. Why is it interesting, memorable, entertaining, instructive? Here you can also implement your own opinions. What to do you agree with (and why)? What do you disagree with (and why)? Go on by exploring the issues the book raises. You’ll have to explain what possibilities the book suggests, or which matter the book leaves out.

One step further is to relate your argument to other books or authors. You’ll have to support your argument for or against the author’s opinions by referring to other works or authors. And it is very important that you are accurate here. Then you’ll have to describe how the book affected you. Did it change your views on the topic that was discussed? Is the book related to any of your personal experiences?

Close the review with a paragraph that brings your theme into final focus for the reader. You may come to a conclusion about the theme, or the author’s purpose, or about the overall effectiveness of the book.

A word of warning: a review should not have any mistakes in spelling or grammar! So it is best that you check what you have written before handing in the review. Wait a couple of days. Then, you pick up the text again (with a fresh mind). This will enable you to see (possible) mistakes and will give you the chance to correct them.


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